I get the question of which device to buy quite a bit, but more often than not I get the question of whether readers should buy a nook or Kindle. I received several inquiries last week when Barnes and Noble started a ereader price war by slashing the nook to $199, introducing a wifi version at $149. Amazon responded within 2 hours and reduced the price of Kindle 2 to $189.
Short (and Long) Answer: If you can wait, I would hold off until October. October is usually the time in which manufacturers and retailers start announcing products for Christmas. Amazon will likely be announcing new Kindles and the will be new devices on the market like Copia’s set of eReaders and possibly others.
If you can’t wait, here’s what I would consider when making a decision between the nook and the Kindle. With the Kindle, you are going to have better selection and lower prices for books, if there are lower prices (generally). The nook, however, accepts Adobe Digital Edition books (ADE) which means you can borrow digital books from libraries and you can shop around. I feel like those are the basic differences in the nook versus the Kindle these days.
The wifi version of the nook does through a little wrench into the things. The wifi is a good alternative for those who aren’t in a coverage area for Kindles as the only way to add content to your Kindle without a 3G connection is via a USB cord.
Both the nook and Kindle have applications allowing you to access your purchases on the iPad, iPhone/iTouch, Blackberry, PC and Mac. Kindle says that the Android App is coming. Neither have a Linux or Ubuntu version.
I do not think that the LCD screen on the nook is an advantage. I actually find this fairly confusing because the LCD is touch and the main screen of the nook is not. I tap the nook screen quite a bit by accident.
I do not forsee color eink screens this year. If you want color, you will want to get an LCD based screen like the iPad or some other tablet device.
Some other minor things you can consider in making the decision are the following
- nook is heavier than the Kindle. Some like this because it feels more substantial and some don’t.
- Kindle allows syncing of last place read, bookmarks, and notes across all devices for the content purchased at Amazon. Nook allows syncing of last place read across the iPhone/iPad app and the Windows version. It does not sync last place read on its device but says that feature is coming. (This is a pretty awesome feature because it means that you can start reading on the Kindle during the day and open up the Kindle App on your iPhone or Blackberry and pick up at the last place you’ve read in that book, along with all the notes and bookmarks you’ve made).
- nook allows lending of books, if the publisher has authorized this. Kindle has no such feature although you can hook up more than one Kindle to your account and you can share your authorization code (name on credit card + credit card number) for the nook. More on sharing without stripping the DRM here.
- Because of the LCD screen, the nook has a shorter battery life than the Kindle.
- The nook has an onboard (on the LCD screen) keyboard whereas the Kindle has awkward bubble keys.
- You can buy a replacement battery for the nook ($29.99) and replace it yourself by removing a little cover in the back. The Kindle’s battery needs to be replaced by Amazon which will cost you $59. (or you can do it yourself with a little surgery kit).
- nook offers you free content if you go into the store.
Why not the Kobo? Well, at this point, I wouldn’t recommend the Kobo at $149.99. I have heard a lot of people have problems with the device crashing and slow to load. Simple things like removing a book from the device is quite difficult and the font scaling (increasing or decreasing the font size) can lead to blurriness in the text. Further, the Kobo store lacks full content for romance readers. Often books we review here are not in the Kobo store. If you want to read more about what to consider when buying a device, check out a previous article.