I've had my Nook Touch for more than a year and the buttons are still stiff from lack of use. I have had a touch-screen phone for a looong time and I always feel like a cramp is coming on in my hands if I have to exert that bit of energy to press an actual button on the phone or Nook.
I'm right-handed but when I'm reading I'll use my left hand sometimes. The Nook is nested in the palm of my hand, and I just reach my thumb across the screen and swipe to move forward. If it's in my right I just tap the right side of the screen with my finger. Neither is a problem.