It’s interesting that the Kindle now has to take on two different types of Nooks.
Here are some Kindle vs Nook thoughts keeping the whole Kindle vs Nook vs Nook Color context in mind.
Kindle vs Nook Thoughts 2010
- Kindle vs Nook is now the defining eReader comparison because Sony Readers are priced too high. Kindle 3 has to take on the Nook 1 which is more than a bit unfair.
- Nooks continue to sell because of ePub and library book support, more retail visibility and availability, and lending. Amazon is going to bring lending to Kindles by end 2010 but there’s little it can do about the other two factors.
- The theory that Nook might have stretched B&N too thin might have truth to it but it’s not like B&N had another option.
- Kindle vs Nook Color is an important comparison for casual and semi-casual readers.
- B&N is cutting sales in half (perhaps even by 75%) by painting Nook Color as just a reading tablet. The magicians at Nook Devs might save them by rooting it and allowing people to convert their Nook Color into an Android Tablet.
- For people who keep complaining about reading at night and the lack of a backlight on the Kindle the Nook Color is suddenly a great option.
- Nook Color’s price is very impressive. If iPad is really worth $499 then Nook Color is easily worth $399. Wonder how much of a loss B&N is taking on each Nook Color.
- B&N really needs a Nook 2 and Kindle really needs a Kindle Tablet.
- It’s strange that Amazon would add lending (which hardly anyone brings up) and leave out support for library books which always comes up.
- It might seem counter-intuitive but B&N would really, really benefit if they let in Kindle for Android. Perhaps they strike a deal with Amazon to get 10% of book revenue. It isn’t necessary though – even if they let Amazon keep the ebook revenue they will sell so many additional Nook Colors by providing an option of ebook readers that it’ll be well worth it.
- It’s interesting that the Kindle App has become a selling point for both iPad and Android tablets.
It’s so strange and at the same time it’s very true that adding Kindle for Android would increase Nook Color sales 50%. Open it up to be a Tablet and sales would double. Have to do a separate post about this. B&N is sitting on the largest reserve of tablet gold and instead it wants to mine for eReader silver.
Will the App Stores play a role?
Both the Kindle App Store and the Nook App Store (initially only for Nook Color) could play a vital role.
Indications are that neither will.
For Nook Color the App Store is the lifeline. Right now the Nook Color is the perfect tablet but it’s missing apps. You can read – However, having Netflix and some of the better apps would add so much to it.
For the Kindle there are two camps – Apps aren’t needed, Apps are needed. It seems the former camp is winning out so all we get are apps for in-between reading. Which is perfectly OK. People bought Kindles to read – not to see marvellous transformations – and they won’t mind if they miss out on some amazing things.
For the Nook Color – it’s not. There’s so much there that screams the device isn’t an eReader and B&N is curbing the device’s natural tendencies.
Here’s a snippet from Paul Graham’s essay on Tablets -
It has turned out to be a great thing that Apple tablets have accelerometers in them. Developers have used the accelerometer in ways Apple could never have imagined.
That’s the nature of platforms. The more versatile the tool, the less you can predict how people will use it. So tablet makers should be thinking: what else can we put in there? Not merely hardware, but software too. What else can we give developers access to? Give hackers an inch and they’ll take you a mile.
A perfect example of using the accelerometer in an amazingly impressive way is SleepCycle which uses the accelerometer to monitor your sleep cycles and wakes you up when you are in your light sleep phase.
It works – if you have an iPhone or iPad you really, really should try it. It’s actually magical – not marketing-magical.
There’s no way on earth Apple could have imagined that an app like SleepCycle could be conceived – let alone executed almost perfectly.
You have to give hackers that inch so they can create their masterpieces.
Kindle vs Nook – What will 2011 bring?
- If B&N can survive the burden its financial investments in Nook 1 and Nook Color have put on it, and make it through end 2011, it’ll be very well placed.
- Nook Color has the potential to sell 10 million units in 2011. It’s easily better value for money than iPad and if you are a casual reader it’s better value for money than Kindle 3 (though not Kindle WiFi).
- Amazon desperately needs a Color Kindle or a Kindle Tablet. This probably won’t be clear until B&N announces 3 million Nook Colors sold in mid 2011. At that point it might be too late.
- Nook Store continues to struggle – it’s just not as easy to use as the Kindle Store. B&N has done a decent job of reducing the book price difference between the two stores but the selection still needs to improve and the service and usability really, really needs to improve.
- Amazon has been complacent. It’s really hard to believe that if you look at all the improvements in Kindle 3. However, it’s 3 years since the Kindle 1 and we don’t have color or for that matter unbreakable screens or touchscreens. In its mastery of kaizen and incremental improvements it’s missing the big technological breakthrough that will transform Kindle into a must-have for every single person.
- Amazon’s dependency on eInk is probably its biggest weakness. If it doesn’t develop a Kindle using another technology soon it’ll be stuck.
- Amazon should try to buy B&N. It’s going to be a lot cheaper now – If Nook Color takes off the option might be gone.
- Is there something about almost-death that makes a company stronger? Is it just survivorship bias?
This post is getting too long and what I really want to write about is Nook Color. So that’s it for now.