The obvious question that comes up is whether the B&N eBookstore is better than the Kindle Store. Well, lets review and contrast the two stores -
Kindle Store Vs Barnes & Noble eBookstore – Prices
It’s worth nothing that B&N says that ‘hundreds of bestsellers and new releases’ will be at $9.99.
Looking at prices of random books, we get -
- Kindle Store usually has a $9.99 price.
- B&N eBooks are either $9.99 or (quite often) at 20% off from list price.
- Overall, Kindle Store almost always has lower prices.
Kindle Store is the clear winner on ebook prices.
Kindle Store Vs Barnes & Noble – Range of Titles
B&N definitely has a good range. Looking at the number of titles in each category, not sure how it all adds up to 700K books. It seems more like 150K to 200K to me.
It’s also hard to make out what part of the 700,000 books are free public domain titles from Google. What we can say is -
- 2,258 out of the 13,034 books in Fiction and Literature are Free Google Books.
- 1,555 out of 4,491 books in Nonfiction are Free Google Books.
- 1,176 out of the 2,550 items in World History are Free Google Books.
- 1,007 out of 2,196 History books are Free Google Books.
It seems like the various ebook categories consist of between 17% to 45% free Google books.
This is a tie with both ebook stores having solid range.
Kindle Store Vs Barnes & Noble – Associate Commissions
Barnes & Noble will be offering 6% associate commissions. This is scary for Amazon – due to low prices of Kindle edition books (often lower than what publishers have to be paid) Amazon cut associate commissions on Kindle edition books.
This lack of associate commissions is an obvious chink in the Kindle Store armor. Lots of blogs and sites that depend on book commissions for staying afloat will, when ebooks become big enough of a market, favor B&N.
Amazon will, sooner or later, be forced to add in commissions for kindle edition books. Although if its picking between lower prices and commissions, lower prices ought to win.
Kindle Store Vs Barnes & Noble – eReader Support
Not until early 2010 when B&N ebooks will be readable on Plastic Logic’s eReader.
Kindle Store Vs Barnes & Noble eBookstore – PC and Mac Support
This is a really cool feature from B&N and hopefully forces Amazon to release Kindle for PC and Kindle for Mac.
We’ve talked about the B&N eReader for PC functionality earlier -
It lets you change fonts and font sizes. You can add notes and bookmarks. You can add different color highlights. Auto-Scroll feature for hands-free reading. There is speed reading (of sorts) using Rapid Serial Visualization Presentation.
Kindle Store Vs Barnes & Noble – Mobile Support
Kindle supports -
- iPod Touch.
B&N eReader supports the above, and also adds -
- They plan to add more device support in the next few months – probably Palm (an obvious choice given the format they use), Windows Mobile, Nokia, and Android.
This is a clear win for B&N.
Kindle Store Vs Barnes & Noble – Usability Review
My familiarity with the Kindle Store prevents me from being able to answer this. Amazon obviously has a better designed website while B&N seems to be using pictures of shiny, happy people to sell books.
B&N does not seem to have anything for independent authors, and no blogs, books or magazines.
Syncing between Devices & Instant Downloads
Kindle Store books have WhisperSync – this lets you sync how far you’ve read, etc. between your Kindes and your iPhone and iTouch. It’s a really good feature, and so far B&N doesn’t have an equivalent feature.
Kindle Store lets you buy from Kindle or iPhone or from the PC. B&N lets you buy from any device too.
Kindle Store Vs Barnes & Noble – Free Titles.
B&N obviously has a lot more free public domain books. Advantage B&N.
Its worth nothing that the Kindle conversion process will convert free Google Books to kindle format.
Kindle Store Vs Barnes & Noble – Openness and Format
- B&N ebooks are supposed to support ePub at some point of time. They currently use the eReader .pdb format.
- Kindle Store uses its Topaz and AZW formats which are encrypted and not usable on any other eReader.
- Here’s what happens when you try to convert the Barnes and Noble ebooks (which are in the encrypted .pdb eReader format) to PDF –
If B&N uses ePub they will gain a big advantage.
Conclusion: No real threat until Plastic Logic eReader is released
There is no eReader to read B&N ebooks on. This means that, at the moment, there is little impact on Kindle and Amazon.
Two big developments to look forward to -
- ePub support. At that point non-Kindle eReaders will suddenly get a lot more content.
- The release of the Plastic Logic eReader. At that point a viable Kindle competitor will combine with a viable Kindle Store competitor to create the first actual threat to the Kindle.
Regardless of how Kindle Store Vs Barnes & Noble eBookstore turns out (my money is on Amazon), the entry of B&N is really good for ebooks.