Kindle 3 vs Nook

This Kindle 3 vs Nook review compares Kindle 3, Nook based on what we know so far. The Kindle 3 is $189 and available for preorder at Amazon (it ships August 27th).

Doing a Kindle 3 vs Nook post is a bit unfair because a Nook 2 is in the works and we really should compare Kindle 3 with Nook 2. Will update this post when it comes out.

Kindle 3 vs Nook – Areas Nook Wins

The Nook clearly beats the Kindle 3 in a few areas -

  1. LendMe – When Publishers allow it B&N books have a LendMe feature that lets you lend an ebook once to one person (it’s basically like a single 14 day rental).  
  2. ePub support – Nook supports ePub including DRMed ePub. This is important since most major ebook stores (except Kindle Store) sell ePub books with DRM.
  3. Library eBooks – The majority of libraries use Overdrive and lend out ePub books with DRM. Since Nook supports ePub and DRMed ePub you can read library books on it. Do check with your library to confirm ePub support and to get an idea of its ebook collection.
  4. 3.5″ color helper touchscreen – This adds on to the 6″ eInk screen and helps you navigate via a touchscreen.
  5. MicroSD card – This lets you expand the capacity of the Nook and also use different SD cards for different sets of books (if you desire).
  6. Replaceable Battery – It’s unusual for eReader batteries to die out but if it concerns you then the Nook has a replaceable battery.
  7. Custom Screensavers and Changeable Back – The Nook allows for personalization since you can set your own screensavers and you can change the back casing of the Nook to a color of your choice.
  8. It’s Available now – Kindle 3 only comes out on August 27th and since it’s sold out new orders will only reach around September 4th.

There are a few other Nook benefits and features you might value -

  1. B&N Stores – When in B&N stores you are free to read any ebook for up to an hour (it’s an hour a day so you can keep going back to finish the book).  B&N also has periodic promotions in its stores.
  2. Transfer your Sony Reader library – If you’re switching from Sony Reader you can download all your purchases in ePub format and they will work on the Nook.  
  3. Transfer your eReader.com and Fictionwise.com books – Nook supports pdb format which these two bookstores use (B&N bought these two sites).
  4. Trying out the Nook – If you’re close to a B&N store you can try out the Nook before buying it. It’s also available at Best Buy, Target, and a few other stores. Kindle 3 won’t be out till August end after which you can try it out at Target. 
  5. Sudoku and Chess – Nook has two free games and neither of these are free on the Kindle 3.
  6. Cover Flow – On the smaller color touchscreen of the Nook you can browse books by their cover.  
  7. Android – Nook is built on Android and that allows for lots of things down the like like Android Apps.

The Nook is a solid eReader but it’s part of the older generation of eReaders (which included Kindle 2, Nook, and Sony Touch Edition). Really would recommend waiting for Nook 2 if Nook’s features appeal strongly to you – Nook 2 already has FCC approval and is likely to debut in August or September.

Kindle 3 vs Nook – Areas Kindle 3 and Nook are very close or in a tie

The Kindle 3 vs Nook contest is constantly evolving with software upgrades and new releases and there are lots of areas where they are basically in a tie -

  1. eInk – They both have eInk screens (though of different screen contrasts, more on that below). eInk is easy on the eyes, readable in sunlight, and great for reading.
  2. Price – Kindle 3 is $189 and Nook is $199.
  3. Apps for a variety of platforms – Both Kindle and Nook have a variety of apps that let you read your books across different devices. These include Apps for PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android.
  4. Agency Model Prices – Books from the 5 Big Agency Model Publishers are at the same prices in both stores. 
  5. 60 second book downloads – Kindle 3 and Nook both offer free 60 second downloads and free store browsing.
  6. WiFi Support – Both offer WiFi support.
  7. Free AT&T WiFi Hotspot Access – Kindle 3, Nook both run on AT&T and you can browse the ebook stores and buy books free by accessing any AT&T WiFi hotspot. That includes Starbucks, B&N stores, and a lot of other places.
  8. Solid Browser – Nook has a very solid browser that can handle lots of sites. Kindle 3 will have an improved WebKit Browser that ought to be as good.
  9. 3 Available Fonts – Nook offers Amasis, Helvetica Neue, and Light Classic. Kindle 3 offers Serif (Caecilia MS), Condensed, and Sans-serif (not sure which). My rating for fonts is Caecilia, Amasis, Light Classic, and then Kindle 3 Sans-serif.  
  10. Multiple devices on one account. Amazon and B&N allow multiple eReaders on one account. There are no limits on number of devices – However, a single book can only be download to 5 or 6 devices.
  11. Screen Rotation – Kindle 3 and Nook both support screen rotation.

This list should hint at the fact that both Kindle 3 and Nook are pretty good eReaders.

Kindle 3 vs Nook – Areas the Kindle 3 wins

This is a long list because Kindle 3 is a much newer product, uses the new generation of eInk, and has a ton of improvements -

  1. Better Screen Contrast – Kindle 3 has 50% better screen contrast than Kindle 2. Since Nook had better screen contrast than Kindle 2 the difference is less (probably 30% to 35%) – However, Kindle 3 has much better screen contrast than Nook. Get the graphite Kindle 3 to further accentuate the screen contrast.  
  2. Ease of Use – Kindle 3 is very simple to use. Nook has two screens and they don’t play well with each other.
  3. More Compact, Thinner – Kindle 3 is very, very compact at 7.5″ x 4.8″ x 0.335″ . Nook is much thicker and slightly bigger at 7.7″ by 4.9″ by 0.5″.
  4. Lighter, Better for one-handed reading – Kindle 3 weighs just 8.7 ounces. Nook is much heavier at 12.1 ounces. Keep in mind that you’ll be holding up your eReader for a while and might have a case to add further weight. Those 3.4 ounces will make a difference.
  5. Text to Speech – When not disabled by Publishers you can have books read out to you. Kindle 3 will also read out all your personal documents (but not PDFs).
  6. Better PDF Support – Kindle 3 adds a lot including search and the ability to add highlights and notes. PDF pan and zoom was added in Kindle 2.5 software upgrade.   
  7. Cheaper Books when they are not Agency Model Books – For books that don’t fall under the Agency Model the Kindle Store tends to have cheaper prices. 
  8. Wider Range of Books – Kindle Store has more new books than B&N store.
  9. Faster page turns and Faster device – The Nook has some bugs and is sometimes sluggish. It also has slower page turns. Amazon has improved page turn speeds consistently and Kindle 3 has impressive page turn speed.
  10. Folders – Amazon has a Collections feature that lets you organize your books into Collections.
  11. International Availability, CJK Fonts, Cyrillic Fonts – You can buy Kindle in 150+ countries, WhisperNet is available in 100+ countries, for US Kindle owners there is free Internet over 3G in all WhisperNet countries, and Kindle 3 supports CJK fonts and Cyrillic fonts.
  12. Battery Life – Kindle 3 lasts an entire month with wireless off while Nook lasts 10 days. Kindle 3 lasts 10 days with wireless on.
  13. Free Internet over 3G – Although it’s slow, there is free Internet available over 3G on the Kindle 3. Nook restricts Internet browsing to when you have WiFi.
  14. Accessibility – The combination of text to speech and the new Voice Guide feature (which reads out Menus and listings) makes the Kindle 3 the first, cheap accessible eReader. It lets blind readers and low vision readers access the 630,000 books in the Kindle Store and their own text files and documents. Note: Text to Speech doesn’t work on PDFs. 

There are a few other things that might make you choose the Kindle 3 -

  1. Kindle 3 is available in graphite and white while Nook is only available in white. 
  2. The Kindle Lighted Case is this beautiful but expensive (it’s $60) case that includes a pull-out LED reading light that is powered by the Kindle 3 itself. So it’s an all in one solution that doesn’t even need batteries.
  3. A Kindle App Store might arrive this year. Amazon released two free word puzzle apps just today (August 3rd) so the App Store might debut in the next few months.
  4. Support for Audible audiobooks – Nook only supports mp3 audiobooks.
  5. Physical Keyboard – This would be a bigger advantage if Amazon hadn’t taken the strange decision to get rid of number keys.
  6. More Newspapers and Magazines – Kindle Store has a lot more newspapers and magazines and also offers blogs.
  7. B&N’s financial situation isn’t very strong.  
  8. Kindle 3 has a microphone. This might be enabled down the line (it’s currently disabled) to allow voice notes, voice commands, and hands free reading.
  9. Larger Font Sizes – Kindle 3 has two super size fonts while Nook has just one.
  10. Longer Return Period – Amazon has a 30 day return period. B&N only allows 14 days and there’s a 10% restocking fee.
  11. Nook doesn’t support .txt and it doesn’t support .doc and .docx (the latter two are supported on Kindle 3 after conversion).
  12. Kindle 3 has stereo speakers while Nook has mono speakers.

Kindle 3 vs Nook is an unfair comparison until Nook 2 arrives and we get to see what B&N’s newest generation Nook is like. At the moment the Kindle 3 is clearly better than the Nook.

Kindle 3 vs Nook Conclusion – Kindle 3 is the clear winner

The Nook is better in -

  1. 2 crucial areas – Library eBooks, Availability (it’s available now).  
  2. 4 important areas – LendMe feature, 3.5″ color touchscreen, MicroSD card, ePub support.
  3. 7 other areas – custom screensavers, replaceable battery, Browse In-Store, support for Sony Store, retail presence, games, cover flow.  

The Kindle 3 is better in -

  1. 4 crucial areas – Better Screen Contrast, Ease of Use, Wider range of books, International availability and support. 
  2. 8 important areas – Lower prices on non Agency Model books, free Internet and Wikipedia over 3G, Text to Speech, Speed and Faster Page Turns, Lower Weight, Better PDF support, Accessibility, Battery Life.   
  3. 7 other areas – Thinner, Folders, choice of graphite or white Kindle 3, possibility of Kindle App Store, larger font sizes, stereo speakers, support for Audible audiobooks.

Kindle 3 seems to be the clear winner – However, Kindle 3 vs Nook comes down to the features that hold the most appeal for you. Do wait to see what Nook 2 is like since Kindle 3 vs Nook 2 will be a much more apt comparison.

The Kindle 3 is very good value for money at $189 and if you don’t need 3G and free Internet over 3G the Kindle WiFi is amazing at $139. If you can, it would be a good idea to wait a month and re-evaluate Kindle 3 vs Nook after Nook 2 arrives.

36 Responses

  1. “Physical Keyboard – This would be a bigger advantage if Amazon hadn’t taken the strange decision to get rid of number keys.”

    Given the significant size reduction from the K2 to K3, I wouldn’t be surprised if they had to move some internal components around and removing a whole row of keys would make that easier. With the ALT-Top Row shortcut, it shouldn’t be that bad…it’s not like you’d be using the Kindle as a calculator or something, and even if you were you could use the symbol button since I think you mentioned it stays on screen now.

    • If you have to use ALT + a top-row letter to type a number, why didn’t they write the number in superscript above the letter, like they do on a Blackberry? In other words, it looks like if you want to type the number “5” on the Kindle 3, you’d first have to figure out what letter does 5 correspond to by counting (probably “T”). On a Blackberry, I also have to press ALT and a letter to call up a number, but I don’t have to figure it out — the number “5” is written in superscript above the letter “D.”

      There is another possibility: maybe you don’t type numbers by using ALT + a top-row letter. Maybe you press the symbol key (“sym”) and then use the five-way button to highlight a number, just like you do for typing punctuation marks. I hope that’s not the case because it would be a pain the butt.

      • Atom, both those methods work. Not sure why they didn’t put the number. Kindle DX has both the alphabet and the number.

      • “If you have to use ALT + a top-row letter to type a number, why didn’t they write the number in superscript above the letter, like they do on a Blackberry?”

        Actually, in one important situation, there’s no need to type Alt, because the context is sufficient to inform the Kindle that only numerals are valid input. Namely, when filling in a Location number, keypresses in the upper row should be interpreted as inputting the numbers associated with the keys being struck. Amazon should not require users to needlessly press Alt in this situation.

  2. Barnes & Noble Goes on Block
    By KEVIN KINGSBURY

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704499604575407700632505956.html?mod=mostpop

    Barnes & Noble Inc. has put itself up for sale, struggling amid a changing landscape for book sales.

    The nation’s largest bookstore chain announced Tuesday that it was reviewing strategic alternatives and ways to boost shareholder value.

    Chairman Leonard Riggio said he will consider the possibility of putting together an investor group to acquire the company, which had a market value of slightly above $700 million as of Tuesday’s close.

    Barnes & Noble’s stock had been down 32% this year, but it leaped 26% after-hours to $16.15.

    The review process will be overseen by four independent directors, who will recommend a course of action to Barnes & Noble’s full board.

    While Mr. Riggio is Barnes & Noble’s biggest shareholder with a nearly 25% stake, activist investor Ronald Burkle has been seeking to boost his holdings. He holds about 19% and earlier this year bashed the company’s “poison pill” antitakeover plan, limiting him to no more than a 20% stake. He had wanted to boost his stake to 37% without triggering the shareholder-rights plan, but the board said no.

    The strategic review comes months after the company acquired the college-bookstore chain owned by Mr. Riggio for $514 million.

  3. Just a quick observation that the Kindle 3 case may seem expensive, but it compares to the $40 I spent on my M-Edge leather case plus the $25 I spent on the M-Edge reading light. $60 for the Kindle 3 case is $5 less than the separate accessories for the Kindle 2.

  4. [...] 3 is the much better eReader as this Kindle 3 vs Nook post clearly spells out. Add on the fact that the company behind Nook is selling itself and [...]

  5. I would expect the refreshed Nook to arrive before the end of the year to also have Pearl from E Ink so similar contrast to K3

    If i was to bet on wht happens to B&N I think Riggio (and his investor group) take them private.

  6. [...] vs Nook WiFi Posted on August 3, 2010 by switch11 This is going to be pretty similar to the Kindle 3 vs Nook review since Kindle WiFi, Nook WiFi are just 3G-less, cheaper, lighter versions of Kindle 3 and [...]

  7. [...] 3rd Update: Please check out the Kindle 3 vs Nook review for a more up to date [...]

  8. I downloaded the User Manual for the Kindle 3 (it’s on Amazon). I see that Switch is right regarding the numbers, you can get them by either using Alt or the Sym keys.

    For anyone else who is eager to learn more about Kindle 3s, I’d recommend checking out the manual:

    http://kindle.s3.amazonaws.com/Kindle_User%27s_Guide_English.pdf

  9. The one thing that really bothers me about the Kindle is that it won’t handle ebooks I’ve previously purchased, and are in an epub and pdb format. If it did I’d buy it.

  10. I just want to know can I read either or both in sunlight

  11. [...] or arranging my laptop’s files. The ability just serves as reinforcement for kindle over other e-readers since it increases its flexibility. Considering other devices, I trust Amazon’s store most [...]

  12. Sorry to be asking a nook question on here but I can’t seem to find any intelligent nook blogs or forums and the B&N (@#!!##@) site won’t let me ask a question on it.

    Do you by any change know how many books can be loaded in total onto the nook? I’m wanting to buy a nook (I already have a Kindle) for my old PDB books and I’ve got over 1000+ of them. Will they all be able to be loaded onto the nook?

    • Were you thinking of getting a Nook 1 or Nook Color?
      In either case you should be OK since they have a memory card slot and you can expand the capacity.

      B&N say the Nook 1’s 2GB memory can hold 1,500 books. That’s pretty reasonable – it should be able to handle 1,000 books. You can use the microSD memory card slot to expand capacity to handle up to 5,000 more books.

      With the Nook color you get 8 GB which is 4,000 to 6,000 books. On top of that you can add another 32 GB of memory to get to 16,000 to 24,000 books.

      • Nook 1 because I want the eInk screen and not the color backlit screen. I have my iPhone if I want backlit color.

        Thanks.

  13. Best review ever! I needed a reader NOW Nd this made me decide to go with Kindle 3. But they seem to treat this thing like tickets to a hot Rock concert! I would have to just about camp in front of the store to get one.

    Well guess what. I am not a teenager anymore and if you want me to buy your product, and you announce on the news that it is now sold at Target, Best Buy, Staples, etc. One of those stores better have it in All of Houston.

    So I bought the Nook, even though I love to have the latest technology. The screen compares well with Kindle 3. I love my iPad for magazines and playing Sudoku with the touch screen, but my eyes get tired in couple of hours. If the color nook with the LCD screen does not tire my eyes, I will trade up. Heck, at these prices, get one of each!

    IN STORE COUPONS! After turning the Nook on, this weeks coupons downloaded and my daughter got a free smoothies in the in-store Starbucks and a discount on a cake. I bought a cookie -which I paid for- but I can’t wait for next weeks coupon. I just love a book reader that keeps on giving! I just hope they stay in business.

  14. I am so confused on which one to get my 12 year old daughter. We were in B&N the other day and she really fell in love with the Nook but after reading this the Kindle seems to be better. The lady at B&N said the Nook has more books to choose from and that you can listen to music while reading the Nook. Any truths to these two statements?

    • Are you talking about Nook Color or Nook 1.

      If your daughter loved the Nook 1 it might make sense to let her see Nook Color.
      If she loved Nook Color you should get her that.

      Wouldn’t buy the Nook 1 at this point of time. Kindle 3 is much better. However, your daughter might like Nook Color more than Kindle 3.

  15. I still dont know which one to purchase. My concerns are, 1. Which one is easier to read (anywhere and under any light) 2. ebook reading options 3. Free Wifi & 3G 4. Weight 5. Price 6. Battery life 7. Web browsing …Please help

    • 1. Kindle 3 has a better screen.

      2. Nook has better ebook reading options i.e. more places you can get ebooks from. Kindle Store is the single best store though.

      3. Nook has free 3G only for browsing store and downloads. Kindle 3 has free 3G for Internet too.

      4. Kindle is better on weight.

      5. Price is pretty much the same.

      6. Kindle is better on battery life.

      7. Nook is better for browsing due to the tiny color touchscreen at the bottom.

  16. Is the nook 2 out yet? Is it true that buying barnes and noble e-books outside the US is not posible?

    • Patri, there is no Nook 2 yet. There is a nook color.

      B&N doesn’t sell to you if you are outside the US. You must have a US credit card with a US billing address.

  17. I have two questions:
    How do I load my own PDF files on Kindle and
    can we check e-mail and do other browsing on it?
    What kind of access do we have in terms of accessing web sites to download the documents we want?
    Thanks,
    -Anna.

    • Anna,
      You just move PDFs to the ‘Documents’ folder on your Kindle. Then they show up on your home page on the Kindle.

      Yes, it’s possible to check email and do other browsing. You have to use mobile versions of the email provider sites. The big 3 (hotmail, yahoo, google) work.
      Downloading documents – you can download things like .prc format files and .mobi format files. Not sure what formats are allowed. what did you want to download?

  18. The Kindle site shows that copying files to Kindle is done by email it to a designated email and it cost a small fee, is it true? That would mean if I need to use my own files or get files from Google ebooks, it will cost a fee every time. Also Kindle 3 claim to support simple PDF but not all, does it support Google ebooks in PDF?

    I really like Kindle 3, but for above reasons, I can only buy Nook. Although Nook is pretty but the thickness and weight make me feel holding an old generation gadget.

    Kindle claims to provide classical books for free, but most of them are not free when you actually acquire it. So I do need to get free books from Google ebook.

    • Shirley, you can plug your Kindle into your computer using USB and drag over files. That works. Emailing is optional.

      Google books in PDF format generally work. Or you could use free software, Calibre, to convert the epub versions of Google Books since ePubs are sometimes better formatted.
      OR you could get the books free from Internet Archive.

      Get the free classic books from Internet Archive or Gutenberg. Kindle Store has free versions but also people selling classics for $1. So it’s a bit confusing.

  19. I’ve been struggling with making a decision between the Kindle 3 and the Nook. I’ve seen the Nook Color and didn’t realize at the time there is another so close; however, the guy at B&N told me that you can get the Nook with WiFi 3G, but not touch screen with WiFi 3G. I’ve been leaning toward the Kindle 3. My biggest concern with that decision is no ePub, so I’m still flip flopping around. Now to hear B&N is selling itself… aagh! At this rate, I fear there may be a kindle 5 before I make up my mind.

  20. I am seriously thinking of buying an e reader but I have one question which one has a backlight?..I dont want to have to buy one

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