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 and 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.