Have we reached the point of effective equality between all eReaders?

AKA

Is ‘Kindle vs Nook – Which Should I Get?’ now better written as ‘Kindle or Nook – It Doesn’t Matter’.

Seriously, let’s take a look at whether there’s any difference at all between getting a Kindle or a Nook 2. In particular, would you buy one and later regret it? If you wouldn’t regret either purchase – then it effectively implies that the two eReaders are now pretty much equal.

In the past Kindle vs Nook was not an easy choice

In Nov 2009, Kindle vs Nook was a tough decision

When Nook 1 was first announced, it had the following main advantages over the incumbent Kindle 2 – PDF support, ebook lending (even if it was/is just a token feature), library book support, replaceable battery, LCD touch-screen at the bottom, millions of free books from Google (although you could convert these for Kindle), ePub support, Chess and Sudoku, slightly better screen contrast, memory card slot, both WiFi and 3G.

Kindle 2 had significant advantages of its own – lower book prices, text to speech, free 3G Internet, faster speed, ease of use, better battery life (significantly better), second generation device (most of the bugs and issues had been worked out).

There were significant pros and cons to choosing Kindle over Nook (or vice versa).

In July 2010, Kindle 3 vs Nook tilted towards Kindle – but there were still consequences

In early 2010 the Agency Model eroded one of the Kindle’s biggest advantages. This made the Kindle vs Nook decision even tougher. But then Kindle 3 tilted things in favor of the Kindle.

When Kindle 3 was first announced it had the following main advantages over the Nook 1 – eInk Pearl screen, text to speech, free 3G internet browsing, slightly better PDF support, better browser, ease of use, light weight, compactness, battery life of a month, social features, being the third version of the Kindle (most issues were worked out). 

Because it was a third generation eReader, Kindle 3 easily outpaced Nook 1. However, you made significant sacrifices – no pretend-lending, no support for library books, no memory card, no replaceable battery, no ePub support, no color touchscreen at the bottom. 

In 2010, it was quite possible to pick one out of Kindle or Nook and later regret it.

In 2011, Nook 2 has made Kindle vs Nook a non-question

The features are so similar that, in combination with the Agency Model, it’s almost impossible to go wrong. All the biggest things – library book lending, pretend-lending (not a big feature but perceived as such, especially if you don’t have it), book prices, eInk Pearl screen, ease of use, speed, compactness, long battery life, light weight, availability of free books – are almost perfectly balanced.

Are you really going to regret it if you get a Kindle?

Let’s say you get a Kindle 3. The things you might possibly regret are now gone.

  1. Library Book Support – Arriving this year. 
  2. Pretend-Lending – Available. 
  3. WiFi support – Kindle 3 has it. 
  4. Replaceable battery – Nook 3 doesn’t have one. 
  5. Color touch-screen – Nook 3 doesn’t have it. It does have a touch screen, but seeing book covers in color is gone.

It’s hard to get upset about not having ePub support when the biggest reason for needing ePub support (library book support) is gone. Additionally, the Agency Model means that Amazon will have the same price as every other store for most books.

Are you really going to regret it if you get a Nook 2?

Nook 2 has closed the gap so well it’s in danger of becoming a clone.

  1. eInk Pearl screen – check.
  2. Great battery life – check.
  3. No color screen – check.
  4. Focus on ease of use – check.
  5. Light and Compact – check.
  6. Social features – check.
  7. Black Casing + WiFi – check.
  8. Faster processor so sluggishness is gone – check.

Kindle 3 and Nook 2 both have the same screen and a focus on reading. They both have the same books at the same prices. Kindle vs Nook is no longer a difficult decision. It isn’t even much of a decision any more.

Whether you get Kindle and get x months of battery life at x’ hours per day, or you get the Nook 2 and get y months of battery life at y’ hours per day – It’s still incredible battery life and it’s not really different.

That’s how ridiculous the contest has become – the companies are competing on something (battery life) that isn’t really a differentiator any more. Amazon can’t claim eInk Pearl, and B&N can’t claim support for library books, so it devolves into an argument over which device’s battery life is longer when measured in peculiar ways.

When it comes to reading on eReaders, we might be running out of genuine differentiators

Few of the participants in the eBook ecosystem have any interest in favoring Amazon over B&N or B&N over Amazon.

  1. eInk/PVI, the eInk Pearl screen maker, will sell both the same technology.
  2. Foxconn will make both Kindles and Nooks.
  3. Publishers will sell both the same books, and at the same prices, and with the Agency Model restrictions – effectively killing the biggest possible differentiator.
  4. Stores like WalMart and BestBuy will sell both.
  5. Google will offer up free books to both, as will Internet Archive and Gutenberg and Many Books. Not to mention – all public domain books are free for anyone to use, and hence can’t really be a differentiator.
  6. Indie Authors and Authors will, for the most part, sell to both. Example: Amanda Hocking declining a deal from Amazon because Amazon wanted a Kindle exclusive.
  7. Even some Kindle owners are buying Nook Colors (out of curiosity) and Nook 2s (because they want an ePub reader).

There is very, very little opportunity to differentiate. Amazon is left with its website and its Cloud. B&N is left with its stores and the fact that everyone is scared of Amazon. Those just don’t seem enough to get a clear lead.

Tuesday deals in the Kindle Store

For your Kindle, some deals –

  1. In the Company of Angels: A Novel by Thomas E. Kennedy. Price: $1.95. Genre: Our Lives, Nature of Love, Nature of Violence. Rated 4.5 stars on 37 reviews. Starred Review from Publishers Weekly and lots of glowing reviews from various authors. Also, rated 4.5 stars on 37 reviews.
  2. Bull Street by David Lender. Price: $1. Genre: Suspense Thriller, A Jaded Billionaire, An Insider Trading Ring. David Lender has had two Top 100 hits – The Gravy Train and Trojan Horse – and this promises to be the third. Rated 5 stars on 2 reviews.
  3. Iron Addict’s Way of Change by Wesley Silveira. Price: $2.99. Genre: Health & Fitness, Change your Life for the better, Spiritual Fitness. A mix of fitness and life advice with spiritual insights. Rated 5 stars on 4 reviews. Disclosure: This book was written by a friend of a friend.
  4. Unlocked by Courtney Milan. Price: $1. Genre: Romance Novella, Picking on the one he loves, Reformed Bully/Earl. This has made its way into the Top 100. Might be worth a look. 
  5. Shadowmagic by John Lenahan. Price: $1 (paperback is $8.79). Genre: Tir Na Nog (Land of the Ancient Celts), A King for a Father and a Sorceress for a Mother, Grades 7 to 11. Rated 4.5 stars on 28 reviews. The first book in the series. The second, Prince of Hazel and Oak, is also on sale and is $1.59. 
  6. Body of Lies: A Novel by David Ignatius. Price: $1.24. Genre: Post 9/11 Spy Thriller, Idealistic CIA Agent, Ideological Terrorist. Rated 3.5 stars on 79 reviews. Starred Review from Publishers Weekly and 3.5 stars rated on 79 reviews.
  7. Angel’s Tip Special Edition by Alafair Burke. Price: $1.99. Genre: Thriller, A Psychopath and a NYPD detective. The non-special edition is $7.99 and rated 4 stars on 65 reviews.
  8. The Walk by Lee Goldberg. Price: $1. Genre: The Big Earthquake, A Walk Through Post-Apocalyptic LA, Disaster Story, Horror. Rated 4 stars on 93 reviews.

Some of these deals were from the Discounted Books Thread at Amazon.

Monday morning roundup of offers for your Kindle

For your Kindle, courtesy the sales charts and Happy Reader Joyce, here are some Kindle offers (lots of repeats today – everything from the 5th book onwards):

  1. Connecting in Communities: Understanding the Dynamics of Small Groups by Eddie Mosley. Price: $0. Genre: Ministry, Clergy, Small Groups. Rated 4 stars on 1 review. 
  2. A Beginner’s Guide to Using Your iPad as a Business Productivity Tool by Dave Caolo. Price: $0. Genre: iPad for Business Use, Surprisingly useful book, Trojan Horse. It’s hard to make fun of a book that is practical and non-ideological enough to have this description –

    The primary audience for this ebook is business people working in a corporate environment who have been issued an iPad by their employer and are looking to integrate the low-cost iPad into their workflow. Topics covered include syncing the iPad with Windows-based devices, working with spreadsheets, developing and presenting slideshows, app recommendations, and more.

  3. Stingray Bit My Nipple! True Stories from Real Travelers by Erik Torkells. Price: $0. Genre: Travel Stories, Essays & Travelogues, Titles that aren’t as funny as the author thinks they are. Rated 4 stars on 8 reviews.
  4. Freak by Ron Sanders. Price: $0. Genre: Soulless Predator, Action & Adventure, Getting Careless Amidst Mayhem. Rated 3.5 stars on 3 reviews.
  5. Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life by Richard W. Paul and Linda Elder. Price: $0. Genre: Think Right, Career Advice, Management Science. Rated 4 stars on 25 reviews.
  6. The Career Survival Kit (Collection) by Richard Templar, Erv Thomas, Paula Caliguiri, Edward Muzio, and Deborah Fisher. Price: $0. Genre: Career Development, Career Advice. Rated 5 stars on 2 reviews. Books included are – Four Secrets to Liking Your Work, Get a Life (Not a Job), and The Rules of Work.
  7. The Rules of Work, Expanded Edition by Richard Templar. Price: $0. Genre: Career (Do the Right Thing), Career Efficiency. Rated 4 stars on 45 reviews. This is included in the above collection but you might want the separate version (in case you don’t want to find the answer to the eternal question – What are the 4 secrets to liking your work?).
  8. Beer is Proof God Loves Us: Reaching for the Soul of Beer and Brewing by Charles W. Bamforth. Price: $0. Genre: In-Depth Look at Beer, Beer Science, Food Science. Rated 4 stars on 63 reviews.

That’s it for this morning … actually …

  • We All Fall Down by Simon Wood. Price: $1. Genre: Mystery, Hard-boiled. Rated 4.5 stars on 21 reviews.
  • Wild Angel by Miriam Minger. Price: $1. Genre: Historical Romance, A Rebellious Hellion. Rated 5 stars on 5 reviews. 2 more of this author’s novels are on sale for $1.

That’s it … no, really, that’s it for today.