Nook vs Kindle 2: How I Decided

So I recently bought a Nook, and several people have asked why I chose it in order to help them make a decision. I must admit – it wasn’t an easy decision to make. I was originally waiting to hear more about the Microsoft Courier but apparently that product got nixed.  I considerd the iPad, but since my husband is probably going to get one eventually for his graphic novel and comic book reading pursuits – which I don’t really read a lot of – I decided to invest in a less expensive device that’s dedicated to reading books and uses e-ink technology. He and I could always temporarily switch devices if needed. Plus I already have an iPod Touch, and the Nook and Kindle 2 are less than half the price of the iPad.

So I narrowed it down to Barnes & Noble’s Nook and Amazon’s Kindle 2. Here’s a table I made comparing the two:

Display: 6″ diagonal E Ink display and 3.5″ LCD color touchscreen 6″ diagonal E Ink dsiplay
Reading a book on either device pretty much looks the same. However, Nook has a color touchscreen at the bottom for navigational purposes that also lets you see book covers (bought directly from Barnes & Noble only) in full color.
Size: 7.7″ x 4.9″ 8″ x 5.3″
The Nook is slightly smaller. Not enough to make a noticeable difference, however.
Weight: 12.1 ounces 10.2 ounces
The Kindle 2 is slightly lighter. I’ve held both in my hands before – I didn’t feel a difference.
Internet Access: Free wireless via AT&T; Wi-Fi, Free Wi-Fi in B&N stores; 3G only Free international wireless via  AT&T and WhisperNet
I don’t know much about Kindle’s WhisperNet, but I’m pretty cool with Wi-Fi and 3G. I don’t need it on this device much anyway except for buying new books and checking the news.
Storage: 2GB, expandable 2GB internal (1.4G for user content)
They both have around 2 gigabytes of memory, and can hold up to 1,500 books out of the box. However, the Nook’s memory is expandable (via microSD) whereas the Kindle 2 isn’t. That put Nook ahead for me.
Battery life: 10 days with wireless off. Removable,rechargable battery pack. 14 with wireless off (4 days with wireless on). Non-removeable rechargable battery pack.
Kindle 2’s battery is reported to provide up to 14 days of reading without needing to be recharged, whereas the Nook lasts about 10 days. While both have rechargeable battery packs, only the Nook’s is removeable and therefore replaceable without having to replace the entire unit. As someone who’s had plenty of issue with dying rechargable battery packs with other devices, this was a big plus for Nook for me.
Keyboard: Virtual Built-in
Nook has a virtual keyboard that is displayed at the bottom half of the device in the color LCD touchscreen. Kindle has an actual textile keyboard built onto the device. Honestly, I prefer actual keys that I can feel (so I can type without looking at the letters) over a touchscreen keyboard, but it wasn’t an absolute deal-breaker.
Audio: MP3 player, mono speaker, 3.5mm stereo audio jack 3.5mm stereo audio jack
Audio Books: Supports Audiobooks, music/MP3s Text to speech; Audible audios books supported
You can listen to MP3s and Audiobooks on both, which is nice. Yes, you can listen to music while you read a book. The one advantage Kindle 2 has in this area is its text-to-speech functionality which automatically reads certain ebooks to you. I don’t feel like I’m missing out on this too terribly though, as I prefer the professional done audiobooks to auto-generated readings anyway.
Formats Supported: EPUB, PDB, PDF, Non DRM PDB, Audible, MP3 Kindle (AZW), TXT, Audible, MP3, MOBI, PRC, PDF, HTML, DOC
Not compatible with: Kindle (AZW) ePub
Here’s the most critical yet most confusing area – book formats supported. The Nook supports EPUB, PDB, PDF. TXT and DOC. Kindle supports TXT, MOBI, PRC, PDF, HTML, DOC, as well as the Kindle’s own AZW format. You can’t shop on and buy Kindle books to read on the Nook, and you can’t read books bought from Barnes & Noble’s online store on a Kindle. That sucks either way you look at it, to me.Now the interesting thing is that I spend far more money on Amazon than I do at Barnes & Noble, but when specifically talking about books, I tend to buy a lot more books from Barnes & Noble because there’s a great B&N store less than 2 miles from my house.

So this was a tough choice for me. What finally gave Nook the advantage though was the fact that the Nook can read ePub files. I already had a lot of ePub books on my laptop. I had a few Kindle books too, but I can still read them on my PC or on my iPod Touch using the Kindle App. Really, it’s a toss up. I recommend you consider where you buy your books from most often.

Store: 1,000,000 books at Barnes & Noble online store 400,000 books on
I can’t say that these numbers mean much to me. To be honest, there are still books I can find on that I can’t find on Barnes & Noble’s online store. Not enough that has caused me personally a lot of concern.For a while, the Kindle 2 was winning simply because it seemed that MORE of the specific books I look for are there. Sometimes books are cheaper on, but sometimes they’re cheaper at Barnes & Noble. I have a B&N Membership as well as a credit card, so I get lots of great discounts for both stores.

To tell you the truth though, I’m trying to make an effort to buy more books directly from publishers’ sites more often, to put a little bit more back into the pockets of publishers and authors. But since I hang out in brick and mortar Barnes & Noble A LOT, it makes sense for me to be able take advantage of the free access to full books while I’m I the store, so Nook has the advantage here. Only by a smidgeon, though.

Price: $259 $259
They’re the same price and both come with a standard 1-year warranty.
Charge Time: 3.5 hrs, includes charging via PC USB 4 hrs, includes charging via PC USB
Both can be charged either by being plugged into an outlet via an attachable adapter, or via your PC USB.
Web Brower: Yes Yes
Dictionary: Merriam-Websters American Oxford
They both have okay web broswers on them – but I have yet to find a need to surf the net on my eReader. The dictionary is essential, though.
Sharing: LendMe technology None
With the Nook, you can share some of your ebooks with friends for up to 2 weeks, using the LendMe technology. You can share your Nook books with people with other Nooks, Apple devices, Blackberry, PC or Mac, with the ability to share with Android and Windows Mobile devices soon. Kindle 2 doesn’t have anything like this.
Synching: Apple devices, BlackBerry®, PC, Mac Apple devices, PC, BlackBerry® and Mac
You have the ability to read the books you bought for either device on your Apple, BlackBerry, PC and Mac devices as well. On the Kindle 2 the last page you read on one device will be sychnronized on all other devices. Nook is coming out with this functionality soon.
Other Pros and Cons:
There are some other things to consider. The Nook allows you to read full books while you are in the store. Also, the Nook is an Andorid-based reader, which implies to me that it has a lot of capability for expanded functionality in the future. It already has Sudoku and Chess on it, which wasn’t really necessary but is a nice little bonus since I love both games.The Kindle 2 is a second generation device, which means it may be a little more polished and reportedly has higher speed performance than the Nook. The Nook has recently pushed free software upgrades to the device to try to improve its performance, but to my understanding there is still some ways to go. The Kindle 2 also has Wikipedia access and may be more popular than the Nook at this time.

Overall, it was a very close tie between Nook and Kindle 2. I had a really, really hard time deciding, especially since I love to shop at both Amazon and Barnes & Noble. In the end, Nook won out because of the ability to replace the battery pack and upgrade memory, sharing abilities and it’s tie-in to the Barnes & Noble physical stores. The availability of games and support of the ePub format also helped me decide, but in all likelihood I might have been satisfied with either.

Got any questions for me?

13 Reasons I Bought an e-reader

I just recently bought a dedicated electronic book reader. After months of deliberation, I finally chose Barnes and Noble’s Nook (I’ll have to come back another day to discuss why I chose Nook over the many other options out there).  Here’s thirteen things I can do with an e-reader that I can’t do with a normal book.

Barnes & Noble Nook

  1. Read the many great books, novellas and short stories that are only available in e-book format … without having to be stuck at a computer desk or with a clunky laptop
  2. Comfortably read my writing buddy’s and my own unfinished written works for editing and critiquing purposes
  3. I’m a proponent of books in all formats: paperback, hardcover, audio and digital.  I support e-books and have been dreaming about e-readers before they were even invented
  4. Increase font size for easier reading when I’m on the treadmill (which it turns out is possible at fast-walking speeds)
  5. Listen to audiobooks while driving, walking or on the treadmill
  6. Read and turn pages with one hand
  7. Read full books for free while I’m in Barnes and Noble
  8. Can carry lots of books  in my purse with one slim, lightweight device
  9. Because reading on my iPod Touch can get uncomfortable
  10. I can be rough on a book.  Stuffing them in my purse, folding and prop them up so I can read while I cook or fold clothes, I read them while I’m at the park with the kids and fall asleep all kinds of ways with my poor book still in my hands. Electronic devices tend to fare much better in my care.
  11. I can make notes in books without permanently marking up physical pages
  12. Bookshelf space is a rarity in a house full of book-lovers …
  13. Soon I will be a published e-book author. Having an e-reader will allow me to experience my work in the way my future readers might

It’s only been a few days, but so far I’m really enjoying it.

Wanted: Courier

Although I haven’t in any way lost my love for print books, my collection of ebooks is steadily growing, and I can only see it further increasing in the future. So I’m in the market for my first e-reader  (outside of my laptop and iPod) and have been considering the pros and cons of the Nook vs Kindle 2 vs the iPad.

But now I’m thinking I need to seriously wait for this Microsoft Courier device to come out on the market (rumored to be sometime in the second-half of this year) before I make my decision. Because this device looks lovely  –  I could hold it like a book AND make notes with a pen.


Microsoft Courier - pic2

Microsoft Courier

More information can be found at and

eBooks vs Print Books

Amazon's Kindle

I’ve pretty much been quiet on the debate raging about digital books vs traditional print books, but alas I feel compelled to share my current thoughts on this newer form of media.

First of all – I think ebooks are far more than just some passing fad. More people are getting their news online from websites and blogs today than magazines and newspapers. Millions of songs are downloaded every day. And following allong with this trend, sales of digital books are constantly growing. I believe that ebooks are here to stay. 

Here’s some of the benefits of electronic books, the way I see it:


  1. eBooks get published faster, potentially providing content around the world faster and more easily
  2. Less bookshelves needed – save space at home
  3. Digitally organize and search through books and content
  4. Less risk of having a book completely lost due to damage
  5. Save the backs of students who tote around multiple 600+ page books at once!
  6. Potential for easy direct marketing/advertising
  7. More trees saved
  8. Electronic bookmarking and highlighting
  9. Get content fast and easy, even books that are “out of print”
  10. Make moving easier due to having less physical books to pack!

And what about traditional books? Will printed books ever completely go away? My guess would be yes, it’s a very high possibility, although I think it would be quite some time before we’d actually see such a prediction come true because the current digital reading devices available do have some flaws. Also, some readers appear quite resistant to the digital shift.  I’ve heard some say that they would never buy an eBook, because they a) prefer the “feel of holding a book and turning pages” or b) prefer the “smell” of a book, or c) really like the idea of having tangible, tactile books in their hands and/or on their shelves.

But I believe all of these reasons are only sentimental and aren’t durable. When it comes down to it, isn’t what people truly want out of books is an immersive story-telling experience (fiction) or information (non-fiction)? I do believe that with a little bit of improvment, even the most technologically-adverse book lovers may find that the benefits of ebooks will outweight those cons. Here are some improvements I think digital reading devices could use to make them more appealing to the greater masses (in no particular order):

  1. Get rid of proprietary formats. Any book should be able to be read on any reader.
  2. Super duper mega-long battery life, please! 
  3. Color screens – let’s see those digital book covers in color!
  4. Make every print book available as an ebook.
  5. Come up with ways to make it easier for the sharing/borrowing/sampling of ebooks with friends.  For example, consider charging a very small sharing fee (instead of implementing DRM) for each time the book is “shared”.
  6. Lower costs. Either make the eReaders much cheaper, or make the ebooks actually less expensive than printed books so that consumers can at least recoup the high cost of the device after a number of book purchases.
  7. Make it easy for buyers to access ebooks they’ve purchased if they ever need to re-download it, get the ebook in a different format, etc, with no time restrictions.
  8. Make it fun to carry around. Have some snazzy colors and designs available, maybe. Make people WANT to have one.
  9. Provide a subscription service for ebook consumers, along the lines of iTunes and Rhapsody for music.
  10. Take advantage of the technology. You’ve got a digital book – make it more than just text on a device. How about some optional theme music, an animated or book “cover”, a video prologue by the author, etc. You get the idea. And don’t forget about the potential for smart personalized marketing.

I think I plan to aim to have my shorter fiction published in digital format, and all of my novel-length fiction available as both tree-books (printed) and ebooks. But I’d like to know, what do you think? Have/would you ever give an ebook a shot?  How about an electronic short story? Let me know!