Before I bought a Nook, the e-reader from Barnes & Noble, I spent a few days last month mulling its strengths compared to the Kindle, asking around among my friends, and so on. I opted for the Nook for a couple of reasons: it's slightly smaller, the design does away with the fully QWERTY keypad that takes up space on the Kindle, it turns pages a bit faster. And sad to say, in the battle of Barnes & Noble vs Amazon.com, the former is a underdog. It maintains storefronts in the United States, which is worthwhile, especially as the Borders chain is closing. Amazon, by contrast, is throwing its weight around in an effort to dodge taxes

So I chose the Nook. It turns out that I chose poorly. You should choose the Kindle. Here's why:
  • There are a couple of buggy things about the Nook that really announce, "this is an early-generation device designed by Barnes & Noble." For example, you can turn pages by pressing the button on the top right, or by flicking your finger across the page. Occasionally only one of those functions will work, and which page-turning method is viable sometimes switches in the middle of a reading session. (I haven't figured out the pattern.) Also, the syncing process isn't particularly quick or intuitive; if you grew up in the age of the iPod you're not going to be impressed.
  • The Kindle storefront is just much better than the Nook's--a legacy, presumably, of Amazon being an online company, while B&N has always been clumsier with e-commerce. Also, Amazon's selection is better. I've already had the experience of trying to find a book in the Nook store (Derek Parfit's Reasons and Persons), finding it unavailable, and noting that you can get it via Kindle. This may even out if the Nook gets more established, and it may be a marginal concern, because there are still more books for both devices than anyone can hope to read, and some books that aren't available on either. But still.
  • Most annoyingly, you can't buy books from the Nook store unless you are physically in the United States. It doesn't matter if your credit card has a US billing address. Something to do with copyright and licensing. Barnes & Noble's suggested workaround is that you have someone in the US buy the books for you, and then you can download them wherever you are. This of course violates the presumed efficiency of access that is touted as a selling point for both devices.
Overall, I'm 100% convinced about the benefits of having an e-reader, and I think both the Kindle and the Nook are better for e-reading than something like the iPad, which is heavier, more delicate, and has more functions (i.e., more distractions). But if I was doing it again I would go with the Kindle. 
 


07/27/2011 02:02

Google compatible e-reader would also be nice. They have a ton of copy right expired material at google books you can download.

I have a Kindle.

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Shannou
08/19/2011 21:48

I'm really sorry if I steered you in the wrong direction. The Nook *seemed* so much nicer due to the touch screen.

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