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.