Comparing Kindle, Nook interest on Twitter, Kindle lists

What goes well with your Kindle?

Kindle Lists.

One of the hidden gems of the ‘Kindle Community’ at Amazon is the Kindle Lists & Guides section. If you go to the official kindle forum, there’s a tab/link near the top that says ‘Lists & Guides’. It’s between Discussions (which is the forum itself) and Images.

There are a variety of lists there (submitted by Kindle owners) –

  1. Two 10-book lists, and a 40-book list, of books that are lendable.
  2. A list of backlist titles from famous authors. 
  3. Lists in various genres. 
  4. Lists of great $1 kindle books.
  5. Lists of children’s books. Some of them are even age-specific.

This was in just the first 5 pages – There are 152 pages in all. There must definitely be some real gems to be found.

Kindle, Nook, Nook Color interest comparison on Twitter

There’s a survey trying to use number of tweets about iPad, Kindle, and Nook on Twitter to draw various conclusions about how eReaders are doing.

It is perhaps the most inaccurate survey we’ve ever looked at –

  1. First, the very idea of using number of Tweets per day to determine anything is a stretch. As opposed to search engines which clearly indicate when there is intent to buy, Twitter only indicates that people are talking about a device – not that they’re buying it.
  2. Secondly, by measuring for a 28 day period they limit it to a small window of 2010. It tells us nothing about what might have happened in the rest of the year.
  3. Thirdly, the graph clearly indicates a 3 : 1 : 0.8 ratio between Kindle, Nook, and Nook Color. However, the survey claims another ratio – 2 Kindle Tweets for every 1 tweet mentioning Nook or Nook Color.
  4. Fourthly, there’s no mention of whether filtering was applied – Were people talking about reading apps or the eReaders? Did they account for misspellings like ‘kindel’ and ‘nookcolor’? Did they weed out tweets about Sergio Kindle and other terms unrelated to eReaders?
  5. Fifthly, and this is perhaps the strangest part of the survey, their figure for ‘conversation volume’ for iPad as an eReader is ridiculously low. They came to the conclusion that daily tweets about using iPad for reading were just 120, while they were 1,000 for Kindle, and 500 for Nook and Nook Color combined. That’s really hard to believe. Were they mistakenly counting Kindle for iPad conversations as Kindle conversations?

You can find the details and a graph at Fast Company’s article on Kindle, Nook, and iPad tweets.

There were two findings in the survey that seemed to make sense – Nook Color is doing very well, library books are a big reason people choose Nook over Kindle.

Amazon keeps pushing Kindle reading apps forward

Lots to report –

  1. Kindle for iPhone got an update. The update includes the ability to side-load books into the Kindle app, the ability to download books while the app is in the background, and improvements like better image zooming.
  2. Support for side-loading means all the public domain books available online are now readable in the Kindle for iPhone app.
  3. Kindle for Mac arrived in the new Mac App Store. Apple hasn’t yet released iBooks for its Mac App Store, but Amazon’s Kindle for Mac app is available. It’s apparently doing very well – It was at #5 yesterday in the free apps list.

Amazon continues to put a ton of effort into Kindle reading apps. It makes you wonder what the ratio of Kindle Sales to Kindle Reading App installs is.

Kindle, Nook Comparison (December 2010)

Have the Kindle 3 and the Nook, with software upgrade 1.5, in front of me and it’s time for a Kindle, Nook comparison to end off 2010.

Kindle, Nook Comparison – Kindle 3 vs Nook with software upgrade 1.5

The first thing to keep in mind is that Kindle 3 is a third generation eReader and Nook, even with the 1.5 upgrade, is a second generation eReader. While each has its strengths and weaknesses, the Kindle does have all the advantages that come with being a latest generation eReader – newer technology, more polished software, better resale value, and so forth.

A quick 2-sentence Kindle, Nook comparison would be –

  1. Kindle 3 is the better eReader when it comes to screen quality, ebook range, ebook prices, speed of doing things, simplicity, and focus on reading.
  2. Nook’s strengths include support for library books, ePub support, having a memory card slot and a replaceable battery, and having a color touchscreen at the bottom.

If you prefer the Nook’s strengths over the Kindle’s strengths and don’t mind reading on a LCD screen it’s well worth taking a look at Nook Color.

Kindle, Nook Comparison – 4 Critical Nook Advantages

Despite being a second generation eReader the Nook has some critical advantages – 

  1. Support for Library Books. This is a big advantage as you can supplement the books you buy, and the free public domain books available online, with books from your local library. 
  2. Support for ePub. This means that DRM’ed ePub books from other stores, such as Google’s new eBook store and Sony Store, can be read on the Nook. This wasn’t a very significant advantage – but the arrival of Google eBooks threatens to make it one.
  3. It has several things Kindle is missing. Nook comes with a microSD card slot, a replaceable battery, and custom screensavers. It also has a serviceable audio player. Nook has three different fonts while Kindle only has 3 variations of a single font. These are all features missing from the Kindle and one or more might be important to you. 
  4. B&N Store Support and Lending. You can read any ebook for free for up to an hour a day at any B&N Store. You can lend a book once, for up to 14 days, to one other person. The latter is a feature the Kindle is going to add but the former will, for obvious reasons, remain a Nook-only feature. 

Those are the Nook’s critical advantages over the Kindle. The remaining Nook advantages are discussed in the ‘Remaining Kindle, Nook Features’ section below and are worth a look.

Kindle, Nook Comparison – 7 Critical Kindle Advantages

Kindle 3 is a third generation eReader and has some critical advantages over the Nook –

  1. eInk Pearl screen. This is an eInk screen with around 50% more contrast than the Kindle 2 screen and around 35% more contrast than the Nook 1’s eInk screen. If you have them side by side you’ll always pick the Kindle to read from – the screen is just a lot clearer 
  2. Kindle Store. The Kindle Store is the best ebook store. It has more new books than any other ebook store and also the lowest prices. It’s backed up by excellent customer service.
  3. Speed and simplicity. Kindle 3 has slightly faster page turns and everything seems a little faster on it. The Nook’s navigation touchscreen makes things a bit awkward as the LCD screen has to synchronize with the slower eInk screen. Kindle is much more intuitive. 
  4. Text to Speech. The Kindle will read out books to you – provided publishers haven’t disabled the feature. It will also read out your personal documents and all public domain books. 
  5. Free 3G based Internet Browsing and Wikipedia Access. If you’re a Kindle owner in the US you get free Internet browsing from your Kindle 3. You also get free Internet browsing in 100+ countries that have WhisperNet (AT&T network coverage). Nook offers free store browsing and downloads – Kindle offers that plus Free Internet.
  6. Kindle App Store. The Nook App Store will initially be only for Nook Color, which leaves out Nook. The Kindle App Store is already here and is slowly adding apps – there are now 15 or so games. Of course, if you don’t want apps on your eReader then this advantage means nothing.
  7. Lighter, More Portable, Better Battery Life. Kindle 3 is just 8.7 ounces while Nook is 12.1 ounces. That makes a difference when you’re holding it and carrying it. Kindle 3 is also more compact at 7.5″ by 4.8″ by 0.335″ – the Nook is 7.7″ by 4.9″ by 0.5″. Perhaps most importantly, the Kindle has much better battery life (up to 1 month with wireless off, 2 weeks with wireless on) than Nook (up to 10 days with wireless off).

There are also two cases where Kindle might be a clearly better choice – If you live outside the US (only Kindle ships outside the US and only Kindle offers 3G wireless support outside US), if you need an “accessible” eReader (Kindle has a Voice Guide feature for menus and book listings that goes very well with the text to speech feature).

Kindle being a 3rd generation eReader makes a difference

There’s a reason why Kindle has 7 critical advantages and Nook has only 4 – Kindle is a newer-generation device.

Unless you need Library Book Support or ePub support or a memory card slot it’s a very good idea to get the Kindle.

For around the same price you get a lot more value for money and you get a latest-generation device. Amazon will probably add new software updates to take advantage of Kindle 3’s faster speed and various capabilities such as the currently disabled microphone. There is also a chance the Kindle App Store takes off and starts adding valuable apps in addition to games.

If Kindle vs Nook still isn’t clear, the next section should help you decide. My recommendation is to either get a Kindle or take a look at the Nook Color – There’s no point in buying a second generation Nook when third generation Kindles and Sony Readers with the new eInk Pearl screen are available.

Kindle, Nook comparison – Remaining Kindle, Nook Features

Areas where Kindle, Nook cancel each other out

First, let’s take a quick look at features which both eReaders have – areas where they effectively cancel each other out.

  1. Both have an eInk screen, which is better suited to reading than LCD screens. 
  2. Folders feature to organize books. B&N calls it Shelves while Amazon calls it Collections. Both allow for single level folders and are closer to tagging than actual folders. 
  3. Decentish PDF support. Note that a 6″ screen isn’t ideal for PDFs and there’ll be a lot of zooming and panning involved. Kindle 3’s PDF note-taking support is very spotty while Nook doesn’t allow notes for PDFs.
  4. Free Store Browsing over 3G and 60 second ebook downloads. Kindle, Nook both support this.
  5. eBook Lending – Amazon has said it will add ebook lending to Kindle by the end of 2010 so both Kindle, Nook will have lending by year-end.
  6. Password protection for Kindle, Nook – You can lock them so no one else can access them.
  7. Price – They’re close enough in price for it to be a non-issue.
  8. 3G and WiFi – Both offer 3G and WiFi support.
  9. Reading Apps for your other devices – Kindle and Nook are both supported by reading apps for PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android.
  10. Free AT&T WiFi Hotspot Access – Both use AT&T’s network and thus get the bonus of being able to use AT&T WiFi hotspots for free.
  11. Decent Browsers. Nook probably has a slightly better browser but the gap isn’t big.
  12. Lots of font options. The font the Kindle uses, Caecilia, is better in my opinion. You might, however, prefer the Nook’s fonts – Amasis, Helvetica Neue, Light Classic.
  13. Multiple devices on one account – You can add any number of devices to one account.
  14. One Book shared across 5 to 6 devices – You can read a single book across 5 to 6 devices.
  15. Screen Rotation – Both Kindle and Nook have screen rotation.

It should be clear from this long list that Kindle, Nook have closed the gap between their feature sets over time.

Next, let’s take a quick look at Nook’s remaining advantages.

Areas where Nook wins over the Kindle

This is in addition to the Nook’s 4 critical advantages over the Kindle – Library Books, ePub support,  B&N Stores, absence of several Kindle weaknesses.

  1. 3.5″ color touchscreen for navigation. This lets you browse your books and the Nook eBook Store using cover view.
  2. You could make a case that it looks better than Kindle 3.
  3. Being able to check out the Nook at a lot of stores – WalMart and B&N Stores are two stores in particular that carry Nook but not Kindle.
  4. You can migrate over your Sony Reader library, your Google eBooks, and any ePub books you might have.
  5. Nook is built on Android and you can hack it to run various apps.
  6. Nook 1.5 upgrade added the ability to password protect your purchases.

There might be a few Nook advantages missing from this list – However, we have the important ones covered.

Let’s end by looking at the Kindle 3’s remaining advantages.

Areas Kindle beats Nook

This is in addition to the 7 critical advantages of the Kindle – eInk Pearl screen, Kindle Store, Free 3G Internet, speed and simplicity, portability and battery life, Kindle App Store, text to speech.

  1. Choice of graphite or white Kindle 3. 
  2. The largest font size on Kindle is bigger.
  3. Support for Audible audiobooks.
  4. You can get a Kindle Lighted Case for $60 that draws power from the Kindle itself to power a reading light built into the case.
  5. Physical keyboard. Unfortunately, the keys are tiny and there is no row for number keys.
  6. Support for .txt files. It’s extremely strange that Nook doesn’t support text files.
  7. Stereo speakers.
  8. Amazon is in much better financial condition than B&N. It is a factor worth considering – you’ll want your eReader company to be around to offer you support and to keep the bookstore and infrastructure intact.

Given that the Kindle 3 is a third generation eReader it should not be a surprise that it has a longer list of advantages.

The Kindle and the Nook each have certain critical and non-critical advantages over the other. The Kindle pulls ahead due to being newer, having better technology, and getting excellent support from Amazon and the Kindle Store. However, you should weigh the relative strengths and weaknesses of Kindle and Nook yourself and figure out which is a better fit for your reading needs.

Kindle vs Nook thoughts 2010

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Kindle vs Nook Color is an important comparison for casual and semi-casual readers.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. B&N really needs a Nook 2 and Kindle really needs a Kindle Tablet.
  9. It’s strange that Amazon would add lending (which hardly anyone brings up) and leave out support for library books which always comes up.
  10. 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.
  11. 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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.