The ebook reader market has been growing rapidly since the release of the Amazon Kindle, which set itself up as the product to beat. It’s had tough competition from companies like Sony, but the Kindle’s biggest threat might be the new kid on the block: the Barnes and Noble Nook.
Here’s a look at how the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook stack up against one another.
Screen Power and Navigation. One of the most immediately noticeable differences between the Kindle and the Nook are the screens of the devices. Both use black and white electronic ink screens (although they refer to this technology by different names) which are not backlit, making them great for outdoor reading. However, one of the eye catching and attractive elements of the Nook is the little color touch screen it uses for navigation and typing. I’m actually not a huge fan of touch screens for typing, but it’s very cool to see color book covers scan past when you’re picking out a new novel or publication to read.
The Kindle uses simple buttons and a QWERTY keyboard with slightly slanted buttons. Either option works well, but for intuitiveness and sheer awesome aesthetics, the Barnes and Noble Nook has a clear advantage over the older, simpler Kindle.
The 3G eBook Reader. Both the Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook offer free 3G connections for their users, and book stores with thousands of books to choose from. Barnes and Noble has been in the book game for a long time, and they make it clear that they’re here to compete-they have a huge selection, and prices are very low. The Kindle’s also got a great selection, and if I had to guess, I’d predict that their prices will drop if the Nook takes off. At this point, the Nook is cheaper.
Extra Features. Here’s where the Nook’s lead over the Kindle gets really scary. The Nook offers its readers a way to loan books to one another, which is beyond awesome. It’s a fundamental part of the book owning experience, and Barnes and Noble have figured out a way to offer sharing without condoning theft. After a few weeks, books expire, and readers who haven’t finished their loans will have to go buy their books. It’s a real loan, in short, except that you won’t have to pester your friend to return your book.
The Nook also allows free ebook reading when in-store, although it’s limited to an hour a day. Still, that’s an hour of free reading if you’ve got a Barnes and Noble anywhere near your town.
The Kindle offers a basic Internet browser, but in its current incarnation, the Nook has some distinct advantages over Amazon’s device. Here’s hoping that the Kindle comes up with an answer to the Nook’s feature-rich design.
Do you prefer the Amazon Kindle or the Barnes and Noble Nook? Post your thoughts in the comments section below.