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.
- Library Book Support – Arriving this year.
- Pretend-Lending – Available.
- WiFi support – Kindle 3 has it.
- Replaceable battery – Nook 3 doesn’t have one.
- 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.
- eInk Pearl screen – check.
- Great battery life – check.
- No color screen – check.
- Focus on ease of use – check.
- Light and Compact – check.
- Social features – check.
- Black Casing + WiFi – check.
- 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.
- eInk/PVI, the eInk Pearl screen maker, will sell both the same technology.
- Foxconn will make both Kindles and Nooks.
- Publishers will sell both the same books, and at the same prices, and with the Agency Model restrictions – effectively killing the biggest possible differentiator.
- Stores like WalMart and BestBuy will sell both.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.