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.