Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kindle versus Nook

So my family went shopping yesterday, and picked me up an early father's day present. They bought me a Nook Color, Wi-Fi, 8GB. It's quite a gift. We don't usually do big ticket items like this in our family, especially not for something as minor as father's day, but both Kelly and Madison will be out of town on the actual day, so there may be some guilt involved.

It's truly a kingly gift. It's a pretty neat device.

But, that being said, I've got to spark a debate here on the old blog. I had actually been thinking of buying myself a Kindle recently. I want the el-cheapo, B&W, Wi-Fi only version. It's very reasonably priced now.

There are arguments for and against each device, and advantages to both, but let me tell you why I was leaning toward the Kindle before the Nook showed up in my house yesterday.

First things first, Amazon is a Seattle company (I'm from Seattle). I've had friends work there, and they all say it's a good company. I'm not necessarily for some of the very near monopolies they've developed lately, but it's still a company I do business with all the time, and I've never been unhappy with a transaction. But loyalty really isn't the issue here. Barnes and Noble is a decent company too, as far as I know. I don't know anyone who's worked there, but the employees seem happy enough for retail workers.

None of that really matters because it's all about the device. The Kindle is basically designed just for e-books. Even the high end worldwide 3G edition still just has the black and white e-ink technology for it's screen. That might sound like a drawback, but I would actually prefer reading an e-ink version of a book to reading on a back-lit LCD screen. I work in tech support and I stare at a back-lit LCD PC monitor ALL DAY LONG. I don't want to read books in a way that strains my eyes.

Another advantage that the Kindle seems to have is free e-book editions of books that are in the public domain. I like to try to read a classic or two each year. I have not fully researched this yet, but so far I have checked on A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens, and Moby Dick, or the whale, by Herman Melville. Both books are available as free Kindle editions, but the Nook Books cost $0.99. That seems a little disingenuous to me. Who exactly is profiting off of these publicly owned works? There may be some kind of third party service that will convert free e-books into Nook Books, but why should I have to go through the extra effort when the Kindle editions are free and easy?

Yet another problem seems to be the availability of certain books. Just checking briefly last night I found several books that I am interested in that are available as Kindle editions, but so far are not available at all in the Nook Book store. Cassastar, by Alex J. Cavanaugh, is not available as a Nook Book. Twisted Velvet Chains, by Jessica Bell, is not available as a Nook Book. Ghost Medicine, by Andrew Smith ... actually that one is available, but for some reason you have to go onto the internet to find it, because it does not show up on the Nook when you shop directly from the device. In the Path of Falling Objects is available directly on the device. I imagine this has a lot to do with self-publishing, and the way that Amazon's system supports independent authors, but I would rather have the device that has the most access to the most books.

So, at this point you're probably thinking I hate the Nook my family bought me. I don't. It's actually pretty cool. The one nice thing that the Nook has that the Kindle doesn't is the internet, apps, and extras like the music player, and the ability to store any kind of file. Actually, I'll have to research that, I think the Kindle can store some documents. But the internet on the Nook is pretty nice. The screen is large enough that if you turn the device sideways you can use almost any website with relative ease. I tested Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, and Le Blog. Updating anything that requires entering text is a little clunky, because often the fields show up very small, and the websites are not displaying in a special mobile format like they do on most smart phones.

All in all the extras of the Nook make it pretty attractive for the price, but there's one drawback. At the price point the Nook Color is selling at right now, it is basically trying to market itself into a position between the Kindle and the Apple iPad. The problem is that the Nook doesn't do everything the Kindle does, and the things it does do that Kindle can't, are things that are clearly outperformed by the iPad. Obviously you can't compare them directly, because of the difference in price, but my personal opinion is that if I want a full color device that reads e-books and does internet, I would prefer the larger screen, smoother interface, and reliability track record of Apple. Besides, you can get a used iPad original edition for about the same price as a Nook Color.

What do you guys think? Do you own a Nook? Do you own a Kindle? Do you own an iPad? Anyone ever switched from one to the other, or owned more than one of these devices?

I need to make a decision about whether I am going to return the Nook in favor of a Kindle, but I want to make sure I get all the information, and advice from friends, that I can, first. As I said, I haven't researched it all fully, and I was curious what all of you thought too.

45 comments:

Summer Frey said...

I have one of the 3G 2nd gen Kindles, and I love it. As you said, the e-ink is far superior to the backlit screen--that alone cinches it for me. I have no problem supporting Amazon. The way I see, I'd probably be buying from them anyway, so might as well do it with the Kindle. There are often promotions of free books for a limited time, which will open your exposure to a new author, as well. And yes, the public domain stuff is fun too.

I also can upload my CPs or my MSs to the Kindle to read through. I don't know if you can do that with Nook, but it's something I really like about the e-reader.

Also, my Kindle does have limited Internet browsing. When I went to Maryland earlier this year, I was able to check my email on it. Painful and tedious, but the Kindle has the QWERTY keyboard, so replying wasn't too bad.

I did my research before I asked for one, and I haven't regretted the Kindle for an instant. I also like the name better. :)

Laura Pauling said...

I own a Kindle. I do like it a lot. I beta read on it and read my own wips. I don't often use the internet. I use it to read. I love the free book promotions though I've only read one of the ones I've downloaded. And it's easy on the eyes. But I haven't tried a nook even though I've heard no complaints. What an awesome gift!

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Oooh, I'm such a technology dork that this kind of debate is right up my alley:) I actually have a kindle and an ipad and they function in drastically different ways for me. I've not yet to run into a lot of books on the kindle that arne't offered, so their library is pretty extensive but as you said. . . it is only an ereader. It has no value in the web really. And, it's puke green screen. But, that's easy on my eyes so I'm okay with it. The ipad has a horrific library (seriously, hard to find virtually everything) but I use it for work, blogging, email, etc. I've never played with the Nook but have heard good things about it - except price. Good luck!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I don't have any of them, so I can't help you out. But once you decide, I'd love to know what you decided and if you like what you have. Maybe one day I'll get an e-reader too.

Jessica Bell said...

I just received my 3rd generation Kindle today. So far all I want out of it, besides being able to purchase e-books off Amazon, is that I can transfer other people's ms' to it, not to mention MY OWN, instead of printing stuff out to proofread. Haven't tried the note writing feature yet, but it looks pretty straight forward. It also has a text to speech facility. Awesome. I can listen to my e-books when I'm all sleepy and want to close my eyes :o) I hated the idea of a Kindle, but now that I have it in my hands, it looks like it's going to turn out to be quite handy. I will still never give up the paperback though. I bought it for the purpose of purchasing books that are only available in e-format. :o)

Heather Kelly said...

I just got the color Nook--and love it. My kids read interactive books on it, and play chess on it, and I download books from our library's ebook database. I like that if something goes wrong, I can march into B&N and have them take a look.

And we're only on day seven with the thing. :)

Shaun Hutchinson said...

I have a Second Gen Kindle and I love it. I still buy a little more than half of my books in book format because I love supporting author friends and because there's still just something about a book. But e-books are just fantastic. I especially love them for gigantic books. Like last year I read THE PASSAGE and a fantasy book called THE WAY OF KINGS. Both were like a thousand pages. Reading them on my Kindle made is so easy to carry them around.

I will say, that I'm considering also buying a Nook. I hack the DRM off of my Kindle books so that I may do with them as I will. If I'm going to support e-books, I want to be able to buy them from any e-book retailer and then use them on any device I want. Stripping the DRM from a Kindle book and moving it to read on another device is cake. I don't believe in DRM. If I buy something, it's mine.

I'm not a fan of the Nook color though because of the LCD screen. I have an iPad and I never use it to read. The only time I ever read a book on an LCD was when I found myself in the ER for six hours with nothing to do. Having my Kindle app on my phone was a sanity saver. But still not a great experience.

Creepy Query Girl said...

I don't but my parents both have ipads and love them. I have my laptop for internet and writing so I could really just use a kindle for downloading books. Hopeing to get one soon!

Carrie said...

I have a Kindle. I really like it. You can get library books on the Nook and you can't always do that yet on the Kindle. I love the e-ink screen of the Kindle.

I do what Jessica does. I use mine to read manuscripts from my writing group and my own. The ease of being able to do this has been really helpful in the revision process because it is so easy to take the Kindle anywhere rather than lugging around a stack of papers.

Old Kitty said...

Nook? Kindle? You speak in riddles!!

:-) Take care
x

Carolyn Abiad said...

Kindle works best for me. I was looking for a dedicated e-reader that was easy on the eyes and wallet. Plus e-ink reminds me of an etch-a-sketch. :D

Sommer Leigh said...

I heart my Kindle so hard. I have the 3G - which is totally and completely unnecessary. I was starry eyed over the idea of downloading books anywhere anytime, but I have wi-fi at home and at work and the library and the coffee shops I go to... and the 3G eats battery life. The wi-fi version would have been a better buy for me.

I tested the Nook before getting my Kindle, but I just didn't like it as well. The Kindle is easy on the eyes and I love the cover I bought on Amazon that has a built in light source for easy reading under the covers before I go to bed.

You can also use the web on the Kindle. It's not great, let's be honest, but it works and I've used it in a pinch to look something up when I had no other magic internet device handy. I'm actually pleased with how good my blog looks in black and white. My only gripe is that I can't get library books on the Kindle, but I suspect it is only a matter of time before Kindle stops blocking the ability to check them out.

Good luck making your decision! Let us know what you end up doing.

B.E. Sanderson said...

I got my daughter an e-reader for Christmas and I went with the Nook over the Kindle because with everything I read it seemed like it would be easier to put my books onto her device. (And she's my first reader, so it was important.) If I remember correctly, the Kindle doesn't take Word files, and it may have been a little hinky with the pdf files, too. (Of course, I could be remembering wrong, but that's the story of my life.) Whatever you decide, have fun with your new e-reader. =o)

Richard said...

writing contest....My blog Amish Stories is having its first ever contest this week. The First prize winner will win 2 tickets to tour the farm where the 1985 move "Witness" staring Harrison Ford and Kelly Mcgillis was made in Strasburg,Pa . This farm is now Amish owned, and the family has given permission for folks to tour their farm. This may be the last time anyone will be able to walk and see the same things that Harrison Ford and the other actors saw during the making of "Witness". The Witness tour should last about 2.5 hours. In addition to the Witness farm tour tickets, 1st prize winner will also receive 2 tickets for Jacobs choice. There will also be a 2nd place prize, which will be 2 tickets for the Amish Homestead. Please go to My blog www.AmishStorys.com for contest details, and more information on the prizes. Richard from the Amish settlement of Lebanon county.

Liza said...

Thanks for generating this discussion! I don't have an e-reader but am finally gearing myself up to consider one. The purchase may still be off in the future, but now I'll go at it with a from a good knowledge base.

erica and christy said...

My husband declared this week that he's sick of tripping over my piles of books and is getting me an e-reader. He did some quick research and settled on the Nook Color because he thought he and the kids would enjoy some of the apps (there are some cool kids apps out there for picture books for our 5-year-old) and we can't really splurge for an iPad. (that said, my mom has an iPad and we love it - hmm, good point about the used versions...)

fyi - one of my CPs loads my mss (in Word) and reads it on his Kindle, so I know it can store some documents. But I do have the Kindle app on my laptop, so I could always read classics, self-pubs, etc. on that.

No, this isn't easy. I might have to create a spinner or something. :)
erica

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

You'd have a better chance getting good advice from Bigfoot on this one than from me. I think he's more tech savvy.

Laura Marcella said...

Well, I'm an ink-and-paper gal myself. Regular books all the way! But my brother and my best friend have the Kindle, and they love it.

Good luck with your decision!

Michelle McLean said...

I have a Nook Color and love it. I bought it instead of a Kindle for 2 main reasons. 1. My mom and sis have a Nook so we can swap books now :D and 2. I plan on getting an iPad and I can get a Kindle app on the iPad...so I'd actually end up with access to Nook Books, Kindle books, and most of the other eformats through the iPad. Total win-win :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I have a Nook (original version, first to come out) and I am jealous of your Nook color. Best feature of the nook - e-lend books with your friends. My mom, 2 neices, and a couple cousins and friends have nooks, so we can all share. Plus I hear the nook color has FriendMe - a way to see what your friends have available to lend, sort of like GoodReads on the Nook. Sweet!

You are right about self-pubbers and small pubbers not being as much on the nook - but they could be if they wanted to. It's just that most people are drawn to the market share on the Kindle.

E. Arroyo said...

I got the old nook for Christmas. I'm clueless about gadgets and use it just to read and love it. But I would've been happy with any e-reader. LOL. Not much help. I do compare the book prices though and think Amazon has better deals.

Michael G-G said...

First off, happy early Father's Day. I'm positioning my laptop near where my kids are eating breakfast, in the hope they'll read it and get some ideas.

As for the superiority of one device over the other, I'd say go for the Nindle. No, the Kook.

(As you can infer from the above two paragraphs, I have neither. Not that I'm envious or anything...)

Kids, kids!! Want something to read over breakfast?

Jess said...

I haven't gotten an e-reader yet, so this post was really helpful in considering options. Thanks!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

both Hannah and I spent many a year working at B&N as booksellers, so you actually do know people who've been employed there!
All your reasons you listed for pro-kindle are my reasons too. Even though i'd really love to support B&N since it's one of the last remaining book stores and i'm pretty against amazon's cornering of the market, i just can't really justify what i feel is a superior product put out by amazon.
Of course, it's a moot point until i set out to purchase

Chelsey said...

I have (and love) an iPad, but I'm considering getting a kindle too to have something purse-sized.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I have a Kindle and love it. I've played with the Ipad and Xoom but wasn't that impressed. Haven't played with the Nook. Hmm, that sounded kinda dirty. Nook. Nookie.

Enjoy playing with your toys!

Christina Lee said...

It's like an ipad (At least the size). I like that it has those features. I use Kindle on my iphone (it's like reading a paperback)and I like it just fine. What a nice FD gift. And, CRAP--FD is coming up, isn't it?!?!?

Katie said...

I got a Kindle for Christmas last year and I love it. I am more comfortable with the Amazon website, so there's that, and I love the no-backlit thing, since I have problems with my eyes and that can contribute to headaches for me. There's also the fact that more books are available on the Kindle than the Nook. However, the Nook has a lot of awesome features that I'm sometimes jealous of. I guess I wish there was some kind of Kindle/Nook hybrid that could do what Nook does as far as internet surfing, but also allowed the reader to buy from Amazon and switch to e-ink so the user could read w/o the backlit option. THAT would be the perfect e-reader, in my opinion. For now, though, I'm happy with the Kindle.

Jeffrey Beesler said...

I only have the PC applications for both Nook and Kindle, so my comment has to fall into the category of how supportive each system is.

In the case where both of them have their technological distinctions, I believe it is the function of wanting to support other writers which may tip the scale for you once and for all. You're a lot like me in that you want to do everything in your power to show your fellow authors the support they need and deserve. That is why my vote is for the Kindle.

Candyland said...

I own neither and pretty much hate technology except for my phone. And computer. And Tv. And Ipod.

Bryce Daniels said...

We own two Kindles. Primarily because after getting one for Christmas from my wife, I had to invest in another so I could use "my" gift.

We are both avid readers.

Your take on the classics is very valid. Couldn't agree with you more. There's no need to profit from things that are in the public domain.

I've recently rediscovered the marvelous work of Jack London.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I have a Kobo (long story) but I was never really in love with it. For xmas, my hubby gave me an iPod Touch which I love for reading ebooks on. I still buy Kobo books (long story) on it first, but I have downloaded Kindle books on it too (when they aren't available via Kobo). :D

It's awesome to have the flexibility of the different apps, and colored covers too. :D

Christine Danek said...

I don't have either, but have been looking into them. I also started to look into all the new tablets. Dell Streak 7 tablet seems cool and does more than the color nook and is only $50 more than the nook (at Staples). I'm still looking into all of it.
I'm interested in seeing what the others say.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Last I saw my book was in the Nook store! I'll ask my publisher about it. And I would've taken a color Nook over a Kindle. Of course, the iPad rocks. Enough said!

Nicole Zoltack said...

Hubby bought em a Nook shortly before the Nook Color came out. I love it! There are pros and cons to both the Nook and the Kindle and bottom line, it comes down to preference.

Faith E. Hough said...

I was thinking of a kindle for critiquing purposes...and, you know, storing things like a dictionary and thesaurus where they'd be handy as I write. But I don't think I'll be able to take the jump unless someone buys me one. Because, honestly, I don't even have a cell phone. And I can't figure out how to program a message on my cordless phone. I am the most antedeluvian person in my generation! ;)

Hektor Karl said...

I have the Kindle, and I like it, though it's far from a perfect product, so it wouldn't surprise me if someone came out with a better product.

I've never tried a Nook, unfortunately, so I can't directly compare.

Hilary Wagner said...

If I had my choice I'd get the nook, but I would so miss books on paper. I actually have a Sony e-reader, but I can't bring myself to use it. I gave it to my husband a week after he gave it to me! I LOVE BOOKS, REAL ONES! Don't worry, I'll fold soon... ;)

xoxo -- Hilary

Tere Kirkland said...

I've had a Nook 3G for about a year now and I CAN'T live without it.

At the time, the advantages of Nook over Kindle were simple: more storage space, fewer buttons (hardware to wear out), and the ability to sideload epub and pdf docs, like library books.

I think the new Kindle does all this and is lighter, and since all the controls are analog, the battery lasts longer. But I still love my Nook, and e-ink, so I could see why you would prefer that to a backlit screen. I can read my e-ink screen all day with no eye-strain. Plus, I love being able to scroll across the screen to turn pages.

Happy Father's Day!

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I wish I could help, but I'm still a paper book kind of person. I mean, as handy as nook/kindles undoubtedly are, I'm just happy with a book I can take anywhere in my pocket. :)

Sarah said...

I've had a first generation Kindle for almost 3 years now, and it suits me just fine. I love the convenience of it, and I don't need anything more complex because the only thing I use it for is reading. I think what you choose depends on what's important to you, obviously.

Joe said...

My wife has the Kindle and loves it - basically reads everything on it. My son, 9, will read a book on the Kindle if he's desperate to read a book and we can't get to the bookstore (it's too late at night and he just finished a book). Me, I'm still looking. I've been in the Nook Kindle iPad debate for a few months and still haven't decided myself. But this discussion has been very helpful. I didn't know you could download manuscripts (though how is a mystery to me) and take notes on them - yes great, as someone noted above for writer's group reading. That might be the deal breaker for me. Thanks for starting the discussion.

Adam Heine said...

Re: public domain books, see Project Gutenberg. 36,000 public domain books in Kindle or ePub (which everything EXCEPT the Kindle can read) format.

I actually like the new B&W Nook. It's like a Kindle with a touchscreen and better battery life. My only problem with it is one you mention: Amazon just has more books!

Hollister Ann Grant said...

I'd keep the Nook and buy myself a Kindle. A gift is a gift is a gift.

Then you can access everything, meaning books with color photos (and photos period) that the Kindle can't handle.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I won a Kindle a couple years back and I read on it for a bit. But once the iPad showed up at Christmas, the Kindle hasn't come out of its box. You can read Kindle and Nook files on the iPad plus do all of the other things that make the iPad cool: watch movies, play games, surf the internet, listen to music or audiobooks. It wins hands down in my opinion.