Some Nooks miss Christmas, $100 gift certificate apology

Barnes and Noble continue to mess up their Nook shipments and upset their customers - They are further delaying some Nook orders and those will miss Christmas.

Meanwhile the Kindle is in stock and Amazon has added on free 2 day shipping.

It’s a disaster for B&N.

What’s that I hear about a $100 gift certificate?

Well, here’s what’s happened.

Customers who had an original ship date of December 11th, are being told that -

  1. They might already have their Nook.
  2. If their date to receive the Nook was by December 18th, it’s now changed to by December 24th.
  3. If their date to receive the Nook was by December 22nd, it’s now changed to by December 24th.

That’s not as bad as customers who had an original ship date of December 18th (from official Nook forum) -

  1. B&N say most of these customers will receive their Nook by December 24th.
  2. ‘Some Customers’ fall into the twilight zone of perhaps getting their Nook by Christmas and perhaps not getting their Nook by Christmas. 
  3. Customers who miss out will be sent a $100 B&N gift certificate via email. 

Some customers have already gotten an email talking about this $100 gift certificate (the forum thread above, and The Consumerist).

People with original December 18th shipping dates might not get their Nook?

Yes, that’s certainly what it seems like.

There were three waves of shipping dates -

  1. December 7th – These Nooks are already out.  
  2. December 11th – These Nooks are either out or will reach by Christmas. 
  3. December 18th – Some of these are going to miss Christmas.

If rumors are correct and there were 400,000 Nooks shipped out in the first week, what might have happened is -

  1. The first wave used up all the Nooks available – supposedly 400,000 of them.
  2. The second wave, perhaps 100,000 to 200,000, is almost handled by B&N’s supply of Nooks for first half of December (perhaps).
  3. The third wave, perhaps 100,000 to 200,000 again, will be met to some extent – but B&N will need their supply of Nooks from 2nd half of December to handle all orders.

It’s interesting that B&N have said that they’ll definitely get Nooks that miss Christmas into users’ hands by December 29th.

What effect does this have on Kindle Vs Nook?

It’s unlikely that a significant number of people will pass on a $100 gift certificate and cancel their Nook orders – so perhaps not that much. 

  1. It does highlight that Amazon – thanks to 2 years of being sold out of Kindles for Christmas – were much better prepared and are probably laughing all the way to the bank.
  2. Let’s assume that 50,000 orders out of the 100,000 to 200,000 orders supposed to ship in the December 18th third wave (100,000 to 200,000 is another assumption) miss Christmas.
  3. B&N will be on the hook for $5 million in apology gift certificates.
  4. B&N are already losing money on Nook expenses (they cut their 2010 earnings estimates in their last earnings release citing Nook costs and other factors). This extra $5 million charge on top has to hurt.

It is, however, the right thing to do.

There would be a huge PR hit if they didn’t do this.

Even worse – all these people would almost certainly cancel their Nook orders and go buy the Kindle.

2-day free shipping for the Kindle means it arrives easily by Christmas.   

B&N think it’s worth $100 to keep a Nook customer and not let them become a Kindle owner - They’re probably off by a couple hundred dollars.

Kindle, Nook User Concerns Comparison

It’s fascinating to jump into the official forums of Kindle, Nook and compare users’ top concerns.

What are Kindle users’ top concerns?

Here are the top 24 things owners of the Kindle are focused on (based on the last 150 active Kindle forum threads) -

  1. Self-Published Authors promoting their work - 10 separate discussions. 
  2. Kindle Global Questions - 6 separate threads.
  3. Kindle Questions - 6 forum topics revolving around how to use features.
  4. Free Kindle Books – 5 separate threads.
  5. Kindle for iPhone – 5 separate threads.
  6. Questions about Gifting a kindle or kindle books – 5 separate threads.
  7. Which Case? – 4 separate discussions.
  8. Anti-nook – 4 threads.
  9. Amazon’s exclusive Stephen Covey deal – 4 forum threads.
  10. Kindle Feature Requests - 4 discussions including requests for a backlight, ePub support, folders, and library eBooks.
  11. Kindle problems - 4 issue threads including format, formatting, and screen contrast.
  12. Which Kindle? Which eReader? - 4 discussions. 
  13. Format questions – 3 threads.
  14. Book deals – 3 forum discussions.
  15. Kindle Warranty – 3 topics.
  16. Help me get a book on Kindle – 3 requests.
  17. Disappointed with Amazon – 2 threads.
  18. eBooks from other stores – 2 threads.
  19. $9.99 and pricing – 2 forum discussions.
  20. Software Update – 2 kindle forum threads.
  21. Book sharing – 2 discussions.
  22. New features - 3 discussions (wishlists, permanent delete).
  23. Impact of eBook release delays – 2 threads.
  24. How much do blogs cost – 2 threads.

It’s surprising to see the relatively low number of complaints as forums tend to get a lot of complaints.

It’s also interesting to see that neither the Nook nor other eReaders are being discussed much. Feel free to peruse the kindle forum yourself.  

Quick Summary of Kindle User Concerns

  1. Top concerns of Kindle users seem to be -

    using Kindle internationally, how to use the Kindle, free kindle books, kindle for iPhone, and how to gift kindle books. 

  2. The next set of Kindle user concerns seem to be -

     which case to get, bashing the Nook, the Stephen Covey deal, feature requests, kindle problems and which eReader to get.

  3. If you club together all the discussion that can be considered issues or things lacking in the Kindle, you get 17 total threads -

    Book sharing, eBooks from other Stores, Disappointed with Amazon, Kindle Problems, Kindle Feature Requests.

Perhaps I missed a couple complaint threads – So let’s say 20 of the 150 most current discussions are about Kindle issues.

That’s pretty good. Forums tend to have a higher proportion of people who ran into problems and still the Kindle sees few complaints.

What are Nook users’ top concerns?

Here are the top 24 concerns of Nook owners -

  1. Problems reading ebooks on other platforms - 10 forum threads. Note: This is only an issue if you want to read eBooks on your iPhone or PC.
  2. When will Nook ship? Ship delays and 50 day wait - 9 nook user discussions.
  3. Nook Formatting Freezes, Locking Up, Books won’t load - 9 threads.
  4. Nook issues  - 9 discussions (issues, battery life, touchscreen swipe not working, won’t turn on)
  5. Nook review – 7 people have put up their nook review. Almost all rate the Nook highly.
  6. Missing pages - 7 forum threads. The more common issue is books having missing sections. There is also an issue where buying a book after having the sample doesn’t work in a few cases.
  7. Questions related to Buying from other stores – 4 discussions.
  8. Questions about book lending – 3 discussions.
  9. Not able to buy ebooks outside the USA (except in Canada) - 3 discussions.
  10. Nook and SDHC questions – 3 threads about what works and where the SD card slot is.
  11. In store feature questions – 2 topics. These only begin in 2010 so not a bug.
  12. No iTunes support (ironically only Amazon MP3s are supported) – 2 user discussions.
  13. How to get gift cards for ebooks – 2 forum discussions.
  14. Manga on Nook – 2 threads that are requesting this feature.
  15. BN ebooks on Sony reader – 2 Threads.
  16. Reading light for nook – 2 discussions.
  17. eBook requests – 2 request threads.
  18. Nook accessories – 2 threads
  19. Will my ebook be in epub or pdb? 2 threads about this.
  20. Connection problems – 2 Threads.
  21. Seeing Nook at B&N store.
  22. eBook price complaints – Just 1 thread.
  23. Folders – 1 thread.
  24. Lack of browser – 1 thread.

Really surprised to see just 1 thread each on Folders, Lack of Browser, and higher eBook prices. It’s also amazing to see very few threads attacking the Kindle.

The Nook bugs and issues being brought up were impressive for three reasons -

  1. There are lots of different issues.
  2. Some issues are very widespread.
  3. They are nearly all software related.

Quick Summary of Nook User Concerns

  1. Top Concerns of Nook users seem to be -

    problems with the PC and iPhone reader, the shipping delays, books not loading, and Nook bugs and issues which are mostly software issues.

  2. These are closely followed by -

    customers contributing their nook review, nook ebooks missing pages, lack of international buying, questions about buying from other stores and lending.

  3. Club together complaints and issues and feature requests and you have a lot -

    PC and iPhone reader problems, shipping delays, books not loading, missing pages, Nook bugs and issues, connection problems, and higher prices.

Shipping Delays and problems with other platforms are discussed across 19 complaint threads. Nook bugs and issues comprise 27 threads. There are 9 threads dealing with feature requests.

In all there are 55 complaint threads including feature requests like international buying support. Feel free to check the Nook Forum yourself. 

The Nook’s software bugs are its Achilles Heel

As opposed to the Kindle form where just 20 of 150 discussions were feature requests and complaints, in the Nook forum 55 of 150 discussions are complaints and feature requests.

  1. Perhaps this is a function of the Nook being a first generation product.
  2. Perhaps B&N rushed it to market.
  3. Perhaps these are mostly software bugs that will be fixed in the january ‘software update’.

Whatever it is, the Nook has a lot of bugs and it’s worth doing your due diligence before you buy one.

Any Kindle, Nook comparison or review that weighs user satisfaction highly would favor the Kindle.

Kindle’s Nook – Kindle for PC, iPhone Notes, $20 Kindle discount

Amazon has responded to the Nook’s release quickly – Kindle’s Nook response includes consolidating Kindle 2 into one line (the international Kindle) and throwing in a $20 kindle discount, introducing a Kindle for PC Application with great use of multi-touch and Windows 7 Jumplists, and adding notes and highlights capability to Kindle for iPhone.

First Here’s a video covering two of the 3 big Kindle moves -

The Kindle for iPhone update went out either yesterday or day before (different people saw different things). Note that Kindle for PC won’t be available until November. You can sign up with your email address to get notified.

Kindle for PC – Great Video, Feature List

Here’s a great video showing all the goodness of Windows for PC (on Windows 7 – no jumplists or multi-touch on XP and Vista) –

Wish more product videos were as clear as this and focused on the product like this one is.

Here are the good features -

  1. WhisperSync to synchronize your bookmarks and place in the book. Notes are currently not supported.
  2. 360K books in the US. Varies by Country.
  3. Access all the books you’ve bought previously and view notes and highlights you made previously (you can’t add notes and highlights on Kindle for PC though – only bookmarks).
  4. 10 Font Sizes.
  5. Supports XP, Vista and Windows 7.
  6. Mac Support in a few months.
  7. Shop and Browse the Kindle Store – including free samples. Blogs, Magazines and Newspapers are NOT available at the moment.
  8. Create bookmarks (not notes yet).
  9. Color Images and Color in general.
  10. On Windows 7 – Support for Multi-Touch including Pinch and Zoom.
  11. On Windows 7 – Jumplists. This is a really cool feature that saves a ‘Recently Reading Books’ list with the Kindle for PC icon. Combine it with the fact that Kindle for PC saves your place in the book and you’re set.
  12. On Windows 7 – Turn pages with a swipe of your finger (coming soon - not in the first release).

Kindle for PC will be available in November.

For the Press Release -

“Kindle for PC is the perfect companion application for folks who own a Kindle or Kindle DX,” said Ian Freed, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “Kindle for PC is also a great way for people around the world to read the most popular books of today even if they don’t yet have a Kindle.”

Kindle for iPhone gets Notes and Highlights

Notes and Highlights were a much-needed feature for Kindle for iPhone – the lack of which had caused me to put Kindle for PC behind Stanza in my iPhone Reading Review post.

Here is what we get -

  1. Press and hold down on a word to get the option to add a Note or a Highlight.
  2. When held down, you can change what text is selected.
  3. The Notes and Highlights show up in your Notes and Marks list (earlier it was just bookmarks).
  4. It’s a simple, well done feature.  
  5. The Kindle for iPhone page at Amazon isn’t updated yet with the new feature. However, it works.

Kindle Discount and One Kindle

Amazon discounted the International Kindle by $20 to $259 and phased out the Kindle US Wireless. You can still get Kindle US as a refurbished Kindle for $219.

Both good moves – It was confusing to have a Kindle US and a Kindle US and International – especially as the difference was solely the global wireless support Kindle International had. It’s also good to move the price down to $259 – so much better than $279, and it matches the Nook’s price.

Amazon claim that great sales of the international kindle led to the consolidation and the lower price – Yeah Right ;) .

Kindle vs Nook is making things great for reading and readers. Kindle’s response to Nook is really good for readers in general and Kindle owners in particular, and this is just the first 2 days.

Kindle vs Nook Review

Please read the Kindle 3 vs Nook review – It compares the new Kindle 3 against the Nook and is the most relevant Kindle vs Nook comparison.

For a detailed comparison of Kindle 2 and Nook please read the updated Kindle vs Nook review – It’s written in April 2010 and based on Nook’s third software upgrade.

Let’s jump into a Kindle Vs Nook Review. Since the announcement of the Nook, Kindle PDF support has been added, Kindle for PC has been released, and Amazon has made other enhancements.

Kindle Vs Nook – Where Nook Wins

  1. Lending Books with LendMe – You can lend out your Nook ebook to a friend for up to 14 days. They can read it on their iPhone, computer or Nook. Publishers have the option to turn this off.
  2. The Nook to Nook lending feature is really cool if it means you can share with another Nook owner.
  3. Nook works with Overdrive Library eBooks (range of eBooks at Libraries is usually limited). Use Adobe Digital Editions to transfer to Nook.
  4. 3.5″ Color Touchscreen to browse covers and navigate.
  5. A great browser – though it only works on WiFi.
  6. WiFi 802.11 b/g and Free WiFi in Barnes and Noble Stores. 
  7. Micro SD memory expansion slot. 
  8. ePub Support.
  9. Custom Screensavers and other personalization like back covers.
  10. Replaceable Battery.

B&N took their time and cherry picked common Kindle owner complaints i.e. memory card, replaceable battery, and lending.

The big negative for B&N is that their main value proposition was the LendMe feature and Publishers limited the feature.

Android has a lot of potential - However, the videos don’t show any special use of Android.

Kindle Vs Nook – Where they Tie

  1. eInk Screen – They both have the exact same screen. 
  2. PDF Support – Kindle added PDF support on Nov 24th, 2009.
  3. $9.99 Price on Bestsellers – Impressive that B&N matched this. Guess they realize this is one of Amazon’s huge advantages. Note that apart from the bestsellers Kindle prices are generally cheaper. So check the prices for books you intend to buy at both Kindle Store and B&N eBooks store.
  4. $259 Price – Again, matching a significant Amazon Kindle strength. Note: Amazon has consolidated Kindles into the International Kindle and cut its price to $259.
  5. Will Nook have frequent free book offers like Kindle does? It seems so since the list of titles they are promoting includes books like Maximum Ride that Kindle had for free.
  6. PC Support – Kindle for PC has arrived with multi-touch goodness and XP, Vista, and Windows 7 Support.

Kindle Vs Nook – Updated Items

  1. You are now able to browse complete ebooks at B&N stores – 1 hour per book per 24 hour period. Selected books and not all books.
  2. B&N’s claim of over 1 million books - most of these are free public domain books from Google. 
  3. Battery Life of Nook is shorter - especially now that Kindle 2 International battery life with wireless on has been boosted 75%.
  4. The Nook is more compact but the Kindle is thinner and lighter - Not a very significant difference.
  5. Audiobooks – Nook doesn’t support Audible audiobooks (only mp3s).
  6. One Handed Use – The dual screens and the touchscreen makes one-handed use a bit tougher – not enough to create a clear Kindle advantage.
  7. Nook has covers from Kate Spade, Jonathan Adler, Tahari while Amazon has Cole Haan.
  8. Sharing of up to 6 Kindles on an account. Nook will also allow multiple Nooks on one account – exact number is not specified.
  9. Nook supports Sony Store eBooks – Not significant as Sony eBook Store has high prices.

Not sure how much of a difference B&N’s retail presence will mean. They do have 1,300 stores – You have to think that people will go online and read up on the Kindle before deciding.

Kindle Vs Nook – Where Kindle Wins

  1. Speed – The Nook is slower than the Kindle. This used to be the main disadvantage Nook reviews have pointed out. B&N have fixed some of this though Nook is still slower than Kindle and not as easy to use. 
  2. Free Wikipedia Access. All over the world.
  3. Read To Me Text To Speech Feature.
  4. Ease of Use. The interface is not that intuitive and having two screens is a bit confusing. Some of the menus are terrible.
  5. International Availability – Kindle ships to 176 countries. 81 countries have WhisperNet and free Wikipedia.
  6. A physical keyboard for people who prefer it over a touchscreen keyboard.
  7. Cheaper Books – This only applies to non Agency Model Publishers. These books are often more expensive at the B&N store (as compared to in the Kindle Store).
  8. More newspapers and magazines on the Kindle.
  9. Free Internet. 
  10. Nook has a 14 day return period and charges a 10% restocking fee. Kindle has a 30 day return period and no restocking fee.

With the International Kindle you can buy books outside of the US. With Nook you cannot buy ebooks when outside the US. Newspapers and Magazines you can – they are delivered free if you can find WiFi for your Nook.

Conclusion – Kindle Vs Nook is exceedingly close

The Kindle and Nook are pretty much in a tie - Kindle at $189 with Free Internet is an incredible value proposition. The Nook with WiFi and its great browser is also an incredible value proposition. Both are very good ebook readers.

  • If Wider range of eBooks or Faster User Interface or Free Internet or the Read To Me feature or International WhisperNet and Wikipedia is important to you, then the Kindle is a clear winner.
  • The Nook has a great browser, memory extensibility, ePub support, WiFi, a replaceable battery, and support for Library eBooks - making it better for you if those are more important to you.

Kindle vs Nook has fluctuated with the Nook and the Kindle edging each other. At the moment it’s really close. In my opinion the Kindle is a bit ahead – However, please decide for yourself.

Check out my painfully detailed Nook Vs Kindle Review for more insights (Note: not updated since 2009). 

At the moment Kindle Vs Nook is extremely close with your preferences determining what’s the better choice. Kindle vs Nook comes down to the factors that are most important to you.

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