Kindle vs Nook

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I’ve decided to take the plunge: I’m buying an eBook reader. But the hard part about this is deciding which one to buy. In my mind, there are 3 main competitors: Kindle, Nook, and iPad.

iPad is immediately struck from my list. Why? (1) It’s too expensive. (2) No E Ink technology, and the major reasoning behind purchasing an eBook reader for me is to save my eyes from reading eBooks on a computer screen or on my iPhone. (3) It’s brand new technology (well, the parts of it that aren’t a giant iPhone, anyway), and with brand new technology comes glitches from hell. (4) I don’t need all the extra non-eBook stuff. I already have an iPhone for that.

So that leaves Kindle vs. Nook. I asked for some feedback on Twitter and Facebook this week about Kindle vs. Nook, and here’s what I got:

  • 3 votes for the Nook
  • 5 votes for the Kindle
  • 3 votes for the iPad (because people have no regard for the actual question)
  • 2 votes for “neither, read a paper book” (smartasses)
  • 1 response of: “The Nook on display at B&N had a cracked screen.” (Okaaaaay.)

Reasons people liked Nook:

  • expandable memory
  • ability to lend books
  • WiFi
  • it’s hackable

Reasons people liked Kindle:

Reasons people liked iPad:

  • They’re Apple zombies, and will buy whatever Steve Jobs tells them to buy. Haha, ok, not really. No one gave me a reason why they liked the iPad because NO ONE HAS SEEN ONE YET.

So what did I gather from this exercise? A few useful tidbits, but mostly that lots of people have a Kindle, the Nook is cooler but newer, and when you ask for advice on a specific subject, you shouldn’t expect to get specific answers, especially if your friends have smart mouths.

In my mind, here are the pros and cons of each.

Nook

Pros:

  • Free 3-day shipping
  • eBook lending (although I don’t know anyone with a Nook, so not sure how useful this would be, at least at first)
  • Expandable Micro SD slot
  • Exclusive content & discounts in B&N stores
  • Supports ePub, PDB, PDF
  • In-store support (which I’ve heard is actually kind of a joke, because the B&N employees kind of look scared and run away if you approach them with a Nook in hand)
  • WiFi

Cons:

  • A little heavier than the Kindle
  • A little thicker than the Kindle
  • 10-day battery life (with wireless off)– slightly less than Kindle
  • New, slow, & glitchy

Kindle

Pros:

  • A little lighter than the Nook
  • A little thinner than the Nook
  • 14 day battery life (with wireless off)
  • Text-to-speech
  • Whisper-sync, which means that if I don’t have my Kindle with me, I can read on my iPhone and pick up from exactly where I left off
  • Reads DOC, TXT files (wirelessly for a fee, boo; but w/ USB for free)
  • Instapaper integration
  • Intuitive user interface
  • Simple web browser

Cons:

  • This one’s a little touchy-feely, but Amazon.com has a tendency to be evil or play hardball now and then, especially, it seems, with regard to romance authors. If I buy a Kindle, I have to buy books from Amazon.com, and I’m not sure I’m ok with that.
  • Can’t read ePub books; only Kindle format and PDF
  • Memory not expandable
  • No WiFi, only 3G

Help me, internets. What am I missing in my lists? Which one would you buy? I had been leaning toward the Nook, but the glitches really make me afraid, and Kindle is a proven technology that people love. What do you think?

  • http://twitter.com/ladyroboto Kristen

    You might have already considered this, but have you checked out the reviews of each device on CNET.com? Not only are there consumer reviews (which are useful but must be taken with a grain of salt), but there are expert reviews as well. I researched my LG enV Touch on CNET before I bought it. I also used it to research my new camera.

    Good luck Sonja! I will probably stick with paperbacks myself :)

  • http://twitter.com/ladyroboto Kristen

    You might have already considered this, but have you checked out the reviews of each device on CNET.com? Not only are there consumer reviews (which are useful but must be taken with a grain of salt), but there are expert reviews as well. I researched my LG enV Touch on CNET before I bought it. I also used it to research my new camera.

    Good luck Sonja! I will probably stick with paperbacks myself :)

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    Thanks! I will definitely check on CNET.com.

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    Thanks! I will definitely check on CNET.com.

  • Lynn Ellison

    A friend of mine has been trying to talk me into a Kindle FOR. EVER. and he's just about got me convinced. He pointed me to Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/), which he claims lets you convert ePub into the Kindle format.

  • Lynn Ellison

    A friend of mine has been trying to talk me into a Kindle FOR. EVER. and he's just about got me convinced. He pointed me to Calibre (http://calibre-ebook.com/), which he claims lets you convert ePub into the Kindle format.

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    Good to know! Thanks!

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    Good to know! Thanks!

  • http://twitter.com/tanya_roth Tanya

    This is a great post. I seriously wanted a Kindle when they first came out a few years ago – however, their backlog for orders meant that I didn't get one. Instead, I got a Sony eReader, which has been on the market a lot longer than either the Kindle OR the Nook. Personally, I plan to get a Nook once they've had time to get through their glitches and upgrade a bit. This is in part because I'm a total B&N freak, and like you, I'm not sure about being tied to Amazon.com That said, the Sony eReader's been fabulous to me.

  • http://twitter.com/tanya_roth Tanya

    This is a great post. I seriously wanted a Kindle when they first came out a few years ago – however, their backlog for orders meant that I didn't get one. Instead, I got a Sony eReader, which has been on the market a lot longer than either the Kindle OR the Nook. Personally, I plan to get a Nook once they've had time to get through their glitches and upgrade a bit. This is in part because I'm a total B&N freak, and like you, I'm not sure about being tied to Amazon.com That said, the Sony eReader's been fabulous to me.

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    Thanks Tanya! Yeah, I'm worried about Nook glitches, but they're already pushing software updates, so it should improve quickly, I hope.

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    Thanks Tanya! Yeah, I'm worried about Nook glitches, but they're already pushing software updates, so it should improve quickly, I hope.

  • ACW

    Not to throw a monkey wrench into your planning, but have you considered the Sony Reader? I was looking at it recently, and it seems to be priced fairly reasonably and gives Kindle a run for the money.
    One of them (Kindle, I think) has a new version that comes with 3G access forever, or something, included in the price… sorry I don't have the details handy.
    One thing you might want to consider is how much free content is available for each. Kindle, with the 3G option, included free access to Wikipedia, for what it's worth. One of them, or both, offer free downloads of classic novels.
    I can't remember whether both had the ability to plug in and have the text read to you… the idea being that you can read for a bit, hop in the car and listen as you drive, and then pick up where you left off once you reach your destination. (Kindle's calling it text-to-speech as you've outlined above.)
    Another point to consider is whether each will let you highlight/make notes as you read. Also, exactly how much can you store on each without expanding the memory?

  • ACW

    Not to throw a monkey wrench into your planning, but have you considered the Sony Reader? I was looking at it recently, and it seems to be priced fairly reasonably and gives Kindle a run for the money.
    One of them (Kindle, I think) has a new version that comes with 3G access forever, or something, included in the price… sorry I don't have the details handy.
    One thing you might want to consider is how much free content is available for each. Kindle, with the 3G option, included free access to Wikipedia, for what it's worth. One of them, or both, offer free downloads of classic novels.
    I can't remember whether both had the ability to plug in and have the text read to you… the idea being that you can read for a bit, hop in the car and listen as you drive, and then pick up where you left off once you reach your destination. (Kindle's calling it text-to-speech as you've outlined above.)
    Another point to consider is whether each will let you highlight/make notes as you read. Also, exactly how much can you store on each without expanding the memory?

  • merindab

    Not to throw a wrench in the gears, but I was looking at getting a Sony Reader myself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Reader

  • merindab

    Not to throw a wrench in the gears, but I was looking at getting a Sony Reader myself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sony_Reader

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    Whew, that's a big comment. :) Thanks for the input!

    I'll have to look more closely at Sony Reader, although my initial impression was that it didn't compete in the features area.

    Kindle and Nook both come with free 3G access, and both of them have 3G provided by AT&T. Neither have a monthly fee or contract for 3G access.

    Both offer free downloads of books in the public domain. Kindle has a very simple web browser, which is why it offers Wikipedia.

    The Kindle is the one with Text-to-Speech. I don't believe the Nook has anything similar.

    Both support highlighting and notes.

    Both can store 1,500 books without expanding the memory.

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    Whew, that's a big comment. :) Thanks for the input!

    I'll have to look more closely at Sony Reader, although my initial impression was that it didn't compete in the features area.

    Kindle and Nook both come with free 3G access, and both of them have 3G provided by AT&T. Neither have a monthly fee or contract for 3G access.

    Both offer free downloads of books in the public domain. Kindle has a very simple web browser, which is why it offers Wikipedia.

    The Kindle is the one with Text-to-Speech. I don't believe the Nook has anything similar.

    Both support highlighting and notes.

    Both can store 1,500 books without expanding the memory.

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    I'm curious to know why you'd pick the Sony Reader above one of these two. Any reason in particular?

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    I'm curious to know why you'd pick the Sony Reader above one of these two. Any reason in particular?

  • merindab

    I've handled one, and it's comfortable to me. I like that it supports all formats. And I do believe it's got 3G capability. If I want wikipedia there's always my phone.

  • merindab

    I've handled one, and it's comfortable to me. I like that it supports all formats. And I do believe it's got 3G capability. If I want wikipedia there's always my phone.

  • merindab
  • merindab
  • bridgetfoust

    I have a Kindle. So far, I have had to call tech support 3 times because the screen has frozen and I can't “turn” the page. However, I did reach a technician really fast. I don't know if any other Kindle owners have had that problem or not.

  • bridgetfoust

    I have a Kindle. So far, I have had to call tech support 3 times because the screen has frozen and I can't “turn” the page. However, I did reach a technician really fast. I don't know if any other Kindle owners have had that problem or not.

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    Thanks for the link. It's $399!! Eek! I don't think I can justify spending that much more on one. (Nook & Kindle are $259.) And it doesn't look like it has too much more for features over a Nook or Kindle, and some features aren't there in the Sony Reader at all.

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    Thanks for the link. It's $399!! Eek! I don't think I can justify spending that much more on one. (Nook & Kindle are $259.) And it doesn't look like it has too much more for features over a Nook or Kindle, and some features aren't there in the Sony Reader at all.

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    Thanks for letting me know! The glitches on either the Kindle or the Nook are the thing I'm worried about most. I want to read a book, not troubleshoot a piece of hardware. :)

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    Thanks for letting me know! The glitches on either the Kindle or the Nook are the thing I'm worried about most. I want to read a book, not troubleshoot a piece of hardware. :)

  • TJ

    Did you ever decide on a device? I'm a recent enjoyer of reading, and these devices have peaked my interest since I seriously dislike wasting (paper, and space) Also I prefer the portability.

    As for not wanting to troubleshoot, you shouldn't have to BUT it is a piece of technology, actually more complicated than a paperback book. If you want to keep it simple, thaaaan keep it simple.

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    I haven't decided yet, no. I'm still holding out hope that the prices on one or both will drop. :)

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  • s7whitecoral

    So bottom line is that if you buy a Kindle you can't transfer your own ebooks to the device??? huh…I thought that you could transfer books from other sources i.e. Fictionwise, All Romance and other publishers via USB but if that's not the case…then it's a problem

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    I think you can use Calibre to get your books on the Kindle (see above comment from Lynn) but it's not supported out of the box, no.

  • http://sonjafoust.com/blog Sonja

    It sounds like you can use Calibre (see Lynn's comment above), but out of the box, Kindle doesn't support other formats, no.

  • panda_chick97

    the nook seems better, it has games, a HUGE inventory and memory, and its from barns and noble, my favorite store in the world, plus u can get stuf from Epub and your local liberary.

  • Marough

    You can download to your PC — FREE — most books published before 1923 and transfer them to your Kindle with your USB cable. It’s easy and there are multiple websites which have these books. As for supported formats:
    Kindle 3 Supported Formats – AZW, PDF, TXT, MOBI, PRC, AAX, AA, MP3; HTML, DOC, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion.
    Also: Amazon technical support, and especially their Kindle support, is AWESOME!