Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

Should I buy a Nook HD right now?

I received an interesting email today asking whether a reader should buy the Nook HD+ right now.  It’s selling at various locations at a steep discount.  For  example, the Nook HD plus with the 9 inch screen and 16 GB of memory is  priced at $149.99 at Best Buy, Staples, and Barnes & Noble.  The existing competitors of a 9″ HD screen tablet include the Apple iPad ($499), Kindle Fire HD ($269), Nexus 10 ($399), and Samsung Galaxy Tab ($399).

The obvious benefit to the Knock HD plus is the low cost. At $149, it is $100 less than its cheapest competitor.  Here’s a quick rundown of the various specs of the Android tablets. I’m not going to include the Apple iPad. I feel like you either go with Apple because you prefer the iOS or you go with Android.  I’m also not going to include the MS Surface because I’m just not familiar with that device and/or OS.

I’m also assuming that the purchase of the tablet is for content consumption versus creation. In other words, this is for watching videos, surfing the net, answering emails, reading, and listening to music. They aren’t designed for authoring long documents (with a few exceptions).  All have wifi and bluetooth connectivity and video out which allows you to hook up your tablet to a TV or larger video screen.

10-tablets

 

Nook

  • 9″ display
  • Weight: 18.2 oz
  • 16GB Mem + memory slot for micro SD
  • No cameras
  • Access to Google Play Marketplace which allows you to download Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc. apps
Kindle

  • 8.9″ in display
  • Weight: 20 ounces
  • 16GB Mem. No memory slot for extra storage.
  • Front facing camera
  • Special Amazon approved  apps through the Amazon marketplace.
Nexus

  • 10″ display
  • Weight: 21.12 ounces
  • 16GB Mem. No memory slot for extra storage.
  • Front and rear facing cameras
  • Access to Google Play Marketplace which allows you to download Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc. apps
Samsung

  • 10.1” display (lowest display resolution of all)
  • Weight: 17.99 ounces
  • 16GB Mem. You can buy a connector kit to add external SD storage.
  • Front and rear facing cameras
  • Access to Google Play Marketplace which allows you to download Kindle, Nook, Kobo, etc. apps

As you can see by the specifications, the Nook HD+ matches up really well with all of the other devices. It has a great screen, expandable memory slot and access to the Google Play Marketplace which broadens the scope of content available for your device.  You can gain access to media via the Google Play Marketplace but unlike an Apple iPad, you won’t have access to the Amazon Instant Video App which is a great boon for Amazon Prime subscribers.  But this is a problem for all Android devices.  Amazon simply hasn’t released an Android app for the Amazon video. Only the Kindle Fire tablets and Apple tablets have this ability.

Additionally, there is no ability to “sideload” apps which means you can’t add the Amazon Marketplace or other Android apps that are NOT available in the Google Play marketplace.

The drawback of the Nook HD+ is that you wouldn’t be able to do video skyping or chatting because of the lack of an on board camera. If you’ve never had a tablet before and you can live with questionable customer service (the online customer service for the Nook is terrible) and will upgrade in a few years, buying a Nook HD+ makes sense. It’s very low priced and has top of the line specs right now.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

29 Comments

  1. Liz H.
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 06:39:03

    Any quick thoughts on e-ink readers? My dog stepped/sat on my Nook yesterday and broke the screen. I’m already going through withdrawal.

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  2. Kierney Scott
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 07:05:23

    I was speaking with an author recently who has decided to offer her book on amazon exclusively, and it got me thinking about the number of e-books sold on kindle versus other e-readers. I got the impression that most romance is read on kindle. I don’t know if this is really the case because the information I have seen is purely anecdotal. Any thoughts?

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  3. Juliana Stone
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 08:37:56

    @Kierney Scott: Hey! I have a kindle (that I love) and just last week bought an IPad mini to use mainly for reading. My daughter has taken over my kindle so I wanted to try a different device. I was able to get a kindle app and all my kindle books are there for me to read. I’m not sure about the other devices in regards to the app feature, but with apple products you can for sure read kindle books.

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  4. Jane
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 08:53:54

    @Liz H.: If you had an epub e-ink reader, I would go back to that unless you plan to crack the DRM of your previously purchased books.

    @Kierney Scott: I dislike when authors go exclusive to Amazon. I’m not convinced that it is the best financial decision for them.

    However, I do believe that Amazon accounts for something like 60% of the reading market.

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  5. Liz H.
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 08:59:36

    @Jane: Sorry I phrased that really badly. I definitely want to continue with e-ink. Do you think this is a good time to buy? If new models may come out by the end of the year, do you think there would be any major changes/improvements to them? (Using the DA crystal ball to predict of course, lol.)

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  6. Jane
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 09:01:36

    @Liz H.: I wouldn’t expect a new Nook eink device. There is a new Kobo coming this fall and probably an updated Amazon line but I think the most that you can expect is that the eink devices will be faster.

    There are some rumblings about a color e-ink device but I haven’t seen any confirmation of that yet. Most of the product launches will takes place in September and October in time for the holidays. So if you can hold out until then you may either catch a really good sale on a year old model or be enticed by the new ones.

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  7. Liz H.
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 09:06:19

    I’m also looking at a tablet as a present for someone. They really want text-to-speach because they didn’t like Audible. Do any of the above do that? And, do they do it well or is it very robotic?

    Edited to add- Thanks for answering all the questions!

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  8. theo
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 09:27:57

    Actually, you can sideload to the Nook using ADB and there are very clear instructions on how to do it at XDA Forums. I have an HD+ with Kindle, the Nook reading app from Play, a different launcher than the stock Nook (also downloaded from Play) and Calibre and am reading anything and everything including DRM and magazines. The streaming video quality is excellent, it does everything I want except take pictures and Skype, but I have a phone for that which I can at least transfer the pictures to the Nook with through Dropbox. And the display compared to my boss’s iPad w/retina is no comparison. My screen is much, much nicer, clearer and the colors are deeper.

    I bought the DH a Chromebook last week because my old laptop died and for a guy who said, “Why are you on that laptop so much? I’ll never use one of those!” he was having severe withdrawals waiting for the Chromebook. I gotta say, it’s very slick! A tablet/laptop design in one but the screen is more laptop than tablet.

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  9. Jamie
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 12:40:37

    What a timely post. I was thinking about buying a Nook Simple Touch in my tiny effort to foster competition, but haven’t pulled the trigger because I worry B&N will be out of business in a year.

    Jane, am I right to be concerned or do you think that even if B&N goes out of business, Nook will still be running strong, presumably as a separate entity?

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  10. Jane
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 12:43:47

    @Jamie: I think BN is still going to be business in a year but I’m not convinced that NOOK is going to exist in a year. BN is clearly trying to offload these devices and the NOOK side of the business is losing money.

    The rumors were Microsoft might buy it but if they did, with their emphasis on the Surface, I don’t see how the nook device (as opposed to Nook as a platform and an app) survives.

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  11. Kim
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 12:56:28

    @Jane: Thanks for the different pros and cons of buying a Nook HD+. The price differential between the Nook & other tablets is eye-opening.

    If anyone is interested, Target is advertising the Nook Simple Touch this week for $79 and you get a $30 gift card with the purchase. If you don’t live near a Target, online shipping is free. Many retailers are including gift cards with a Nook purchase to get rid of their inventory.

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  12. cleo
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 13:47:14

    If you’ve never had a tablet before and you can live with questionable customer service (the online customer service for the Nook is terrible) and will upgrade in a few years, buying a Nook HD+ makes sense.

    This makes sense to me. I bought a Nook Color as an entry level tablet / e-reader two years ago, on sale. It was my first foray into such devices and I’m happy with it and my decision, even though it’s on it’s way to being obsolete (only) 2 years later. Not only do I love my Nook Color (and honestly I wasn’t sure I would like having an ereader), I have a much better idea of what I actually use in a tablet and an ereader and I know what to look for when I buy my next device(s). The customer support is pretty bad, although I’ve found some useful info on some of their on-line forums, usually from other customers.

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  13. library addict
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 14:54:14

    @Kierney Scott: Personally, I have never bought a Kindle exclusive book. I know it’s easy enough to convert them via Calibre, but I resent the idea of a book only being available via one retailer. I have a Sony, so prefer ePub to start with.

    I think Amazon sells a lot of books in the US. But authors should not count out readers who prefer the ePub format. Also, Kobo, Sony, etc devices seem to be much more popular overseas.

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  14. Moriah Jovan
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 15:01:50

    @Jane:

    I’m not convinced that it is the best financial decision for them.

    I wasn’t either and resisted doing it for a long time–until I did it. Made a believer out of me.

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  15. Crista
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 16:03:36

    You can turn your Nook HD+ into a fully functional Android tablet with an N2A card. Even with the card, it will still be less than the competitors.

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  16. Vicki
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 16:20:17

    There is no need for an N2A card for a nook hd. It already has google play. But they are great for a nook color or the original nook tablet

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  17. Les
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 17:23:28

    Love Love Love my Nook HD. I have OfficePro on it for editing documents, use GoogleDrive and Dropbox with ease for work and personal stuff, stream TV and movies daily from netflix or hulu (it is almost too easy and keeps me from work I should probably be doing), and read read read with ease. I put in a microSD card and added my favorite music and lots of pictures for a road trip brag book and b/c I can plug it into my car adapter and listen to music from the memory or audiobooks downloaded from my Audible account or the library (through Overdrive). The size is perfect for a purse or backpack (I thought the HD+ with a cover was going to be a little heavy) and navigation is pretty intuitive.

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  18. theo
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 18:19:38

    @Les: Curiosity rears…what do you use to run it in the car? The charger that BN sold specifically for that, or did you find a generic one that works? Because it won’t charge fast enough off the generic one I use in my car. I have the HD+.

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  19. Michael
    Jul 28, 2013 @ 20:32:12

    Ironically, I bought a Nook HD yesterday after shattering the screen of my Nexus 7 that morning. Overall I like it, but I wish I knew about the no sideloading in advance. No modifying for Flash, one of my favorite comics apps is not in their Google Play store, and most surprisingly, no Wells Fargo app.

    I probably would have bought it anyway since it is a great deal and will do well for a few years. But its still pretty annoying.

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  20. Janine
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 00:23:45

    @Michael: If you read Theo’s comment #8 in this thread, it sounds like there may be a way to sideload to the Nook.

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  21. SC
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 11:47:18

    The price on the Nook HD is tempting. I have a Kindle Fire right now. I got one as a Christmas present a couple years ago when they were first released. I use it mainly just to read on and occasionally play Solitaire and watch downloaded tv shows on my lunch hour. We have a 4 year old and I know there are some great apps out there for kids that we could download on one of the devices (Kindle, Nook or our iPad) and then pass one of the devices off to him to use on car trips.

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  22. Michael
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 21:09:11

    @Janine I did peruse the XDA forums a little bit. I can possibly pull it off, but its out of my comfort zone with tablets so I’m not sure if I’ll try it yet. Why B&N to make it so dang difficult is beyond me?

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  23. Janine
    Jul 29, 2013 @ 23:50:39

    @Michael: Beyond me, too.

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  24. theo
    Jul 30, 2013 @ 04:35:31

    @Michael: plug your Nook into your computer via usb, drag the item you want to view to your documents or library folder and try it that way. The ‘hardest’ part of setting up ADB is your pc. Once that’s set up, it’s a piece of cake. You’re not rooting it after all.

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  25. Nonny
    Jul 30, 2013 @ 06:46:40

    I got my Nook HD+ earlier in the year after my partner insisted I find something for a belated xmas gift (after I had surprised them with a new SSD hard drive). Of course, shortly thereafter, all the bad news about the financials of B&N came out, and then the news about them shutting down the line, and it’s at least half if not less than what I paid for it… -_-

    I love it, though. I can’t say I want to do a lot with a tablet except be able to read, run Trillian, and incidental web browsing. I like the expansion slot, and I would probably, given the current market, buy it again (especially at the lower price point). I am not especially worried about B&N getting out of the tablet market, because by the point I am likely to have issues, I am also likely to buy a new device. (I am regretting picking up the extended warranty, though.)

    I do find the Amazon centric indie market to be annoying, but honestly, if I want something bad enough, I will buy it, strip the DRM, convert it with Calibre, and sideload. It’s not hugely difficult; just annoying.

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  26. Clay
    Aug 10, 2013 @ 13:57:30

    I picked up a Nook HD+ at the end of June. So far, its done a good job. It’s NOT a laptop replacement, but at about 1/2 the price of my laptop, it is lighter, has as good a screen resolution as my 15 inch laptop, and boots fast. So far, I can only switch between two tasks at the same time ( e.g. typing on inkpadnotepad app and listening to tune-in). If I try to add surfing on Mozilla Firefox, the Tune-in will become unstable. The music player is GREAT, with ability to use an equalizer – sound is much better than my android phone. Because there is no hard-drive, I worry less about handling the HD+ in a not so gentle fashion. The glass screen can get oily, I would suggest a protective transparent screen cover. Even with B&N attempting to handle the NOOK to another manufacturer, I would buy another one.

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  27. Allison
    Aug 12, 2013 @ 10:11:54

    I went to Best Buy this weekend to buy a Nook tablet since I liked the price and figure I might get an iPad for xmas so it would be a good interim device. I ended up leaving with the Samsung which was $199. I’m happy with my purchase and the people at Best Buy were saying that BN had completely stopped making Nook tablets.

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  28. vvova
    Sep 15, 2013 @ 10:30:58

    look on craigslist. tens, hundreds people try to sale nook , kindle for even $40 for color model? why? all putt in ade new condition, or use twice. why? think about. about this model very nice screen, but become very hot to hold it. also nok cant be normaly using w/o root and even custom rom (if you put word nook on CL every second ad aboout nook rooting) so for $149 (W/O TAX ON NEWEGG))))) I BUY ASUS MEMOPAD HD 7 and wajt for CM
    BUT if you an find for $40 used(it’s real belive me) it will be very good deal

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  29. Lexi
    Oct 11, 2013 @ 15:11:14

    I have Nook Tablet and recently upgraded to a Nook HD+ (in the last month). After adjusting to the screen size I definitely don’t regret buying it now. Online customer service is not helpful at all, but the staff at my local BN is very help and holds Nook classes once a month. In regards to the issue of Amazon exclusive authors, I’m not a fan. Most of my reading for pleasue is Romance or Mystery, and I buy a lot of content. So, if an author is willing to risk losing sales buy excluding their content from other eBook sellers (not just BN but sites like Smashwords, etc) then more power to them. I’ve never really used the Kindle to read books (my Dad bought one around the same time that I bought my Tablet) because the Nook is much more intuitive to me. Another thing that I’ve noticed about the Kindle (and it may be because Nook/BN is my primary book consumption), but it feels less searchable, at least for eBooks.

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