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Nook Vs. Kindle

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In late November, I recall quite a bit of buzz generated regarding Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader. Already on the market was Amazon's Kindle 2. I decided to weigh them both by features and functionality and purchase the winner of the two of them.

I went on to immerse my head into the research of the two e-readers and was immediately inundated with more questions than answers. I found the allure of the Nook's design considerably more charming than the Kindle's. My frequent international travels had me leaning more toward the Kindle, as it boasted international downloading capabilities.

I found many useful resources on the Internet regarding both, and several other e-readers I never knew existed. I found out that software giant Adobe got into the e-reader mix in terms of developing an open platform for e-reading, and not so much the proprietary hardware. I also discovered that several other consumer electronics companies like Sony were manufacturing e-readers. I even noted that universities were considering using e-books to replace textbooks.  

I already owned the original Kindle and I was accustomed to its interface, and had purchased several e-books in the Kindle format. What was it about the Nook that caught my eye? The reason charged at me like a rhinoceros when the demo models arrived at my local Barnes & Noble: it was the the color display! Upon further review, I noted that the color display was only the book cover slidebar menu.  I was slightly disappointed with the Nook, but I was still not certain which would win me over.  I assessed the intelligence I'd gathered over the past month and weighed the pros and cons of both e-readers.

The Nook offered no international capabilities, no Amazon e-book transfer, and no other major selling points other than its ergonomic design and the color display. What it did possess over the Kindle's functionality was its ability to share downloaded e-books with other Nook owners — an interesting concept given today's social networking environment online. I thought, if this product just launched, how many Nook owners can there be?  The new and hip Nook seemed like a great primer for the e-reading newcomer.

At the end of this copious amount of research, I decided on the Kindle 2i (which is the international version that allows me to purchase and download e-books when I am abroad).  As a consumer, I took this entire experience as an observation of parity in my decision making process. As a marketer, I noted that while Barnes & Noble may not have succeeded in earning my business, they certainly caught my attention at just the right time.

I encourage readers to make their own decision based on their needs and desires. My decision was heavily based on my need for international capabilities. If both e-readers had the same functionality outside the United States, I would still be doing the pre-purchase him-haw.

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About Geoff Hasler

  • http://www.ereadervine.com Ryan

    Nice follow up. It seems as though the buzz over this eBook reader (Nook) really died down after it was unavailable for months, everyone I know bought the Kindle 2 and has been happy with it. Do you know anyone with a Nook? I dont.

    Ryan

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I was given a Nook for Christmas. It worked fine for a while and then suddenly got stuck on the ‘starting up’ screen… for a week!

    I couldn’t turn the thing on; I couldn’t even turn it off, because it would just reboot and get stuck again on that same screen. So I decided to just let the battery drain and see what would happen. That didn’t do much good either: apparently the Nook uses minimal battery power if you just let it sit – which under normal circumstances would be a plus, but…!

    Eventually I figured out how to do a hard reset (by holding the power button down for dear life for several minutes, no matter what happened) and got the thing working again. I did have to re-register it, and lost all my personal settings – but luckily, the books I’d downloaded were all still there.

    So far, the thing is behaving itself again – although it still takes forever to boot up (it’s like using Windows XP all over again).

    Positives: easy to use, especially navigating via the touchscreen – although there’s no stylus, so you have to be very precise with your fingers. It’s light. It’s slim enough to fit into a small backpack, a purse or a jacket pocket with ease. It’s attractive to look at. You have access to millions of free Google ebooks which you can download (I’ve already helped myself to healthy quantities of Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte and Charles Dickens).

    Negatives: it’s buggy (probably, though unacceptably, to be expected from a new, first-generation product). You can only buy books from Barnes & Noble’s online store. Pages take a long time (3+ seconds sometimes) to ‘turn’. It’s not always clear what you’re getting from Google Books (I downloaded what I thought was David Copperfield, only to discover that it was just the second half of the book). The 3G wireless signal is usually feeble, unless (and sometimes even if) you’re in a B&N store.

    On the whole I like it, though if it decides to play silly buggers again I may just have to turn it in and buy a Kindle instead.

  • Ginny

    Just FYI, you may have figured this out already, but the nook lends to any device (PC, Mac, iPod Touch, iPhone and soon, Blackberrys) that has, by downloading, the eReader software avaliable at Barnes and Noble website.

    Thats all,

  • http://blog.nook-vs-kindle.com Geoff Hasler

    Thank you everyone for your comments and tweets. I’ll post a follow up to blogcritics regarding the iPad (once I get my hands on one).

  • Regan

    After reading the review here [edited], it seems like everyone is gravitating towards the Nook Color. From comments I have read on several blogs, several ereader owners say they would have purchased the Nook color if available when they purchased their unit, while others said they preferred the Nook Color, but could or wouldn’t pay the additional $100.

    I for one, am not convinced whether the color is worth the additional $100.

    Just my $0.02 worth.