A few months ago I was trying to make a decision on whether to buy an Amazon Kindle or a Barnes and Noble Nook. Then the Nook Color came out. Decision made. Here are some reasons and features, as well as a few drawbacks.
1. Free material. The public library has thousands of ebooks that can be read on the Nook Color, and other e-readers... but, alas, not the Kindle. My belief is that the number of ebooks available will increase exponentially.
2. Free material II. Other Nook owners can lend books through http://bookfriend.me/ . I've done this and it works great. The lender just emails your request and it's yours for 2 weeks, then the permission merely expires.
3. Free material III. Aggregator sites like longreads.com , longform.org , and givemesomethingtoread.com all provide longer articles that can be converted to pdf's for the Nook.
Here's what you do: a) download Adobe Editions to your computer, b) convert any above html website to pdf by using http://www.web2pdfconvert.com/ website, c) drag the downloaded pdf file to your adobe editions "library", d) when you plug in your Nook to your computer, you can drag files onto the Nook to read later.
4. Of course, there are also tons of free books off copyright at the Gutenberg project as well.
5. Nook Color acts as a mini-tablet so you can surf the web and check email with wi-fi access.
6. It's back-lit so you can read in the dark without an external light.
1. Nook Color has only 8 hours battery life, so bring your power cord on vacation.