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Is Your Best Fit a Kindle, Nook, or Traditional Books?

Updated on October 5, 2012

Not All Readers are Created Equal

Since the beginning of recorded history, all readers had one thing in common - they needed a scroll, book, newspaper or magazine to read from. In 2007 all of that changed when electronic e-readers became available.

For the first time, people were able to store and read enormous amounts of information on small, highly portable tablets. The public loved them and manufacturers flooded the market with every conceivable variation on the basic, black and white, ink e-readers. The devices have now expanded to include colors, enhanced sound, entertainment, wi-fi, and more.

The two most popular e-readers are Barnes & Nobles' Nook and Amazon's Kindle. Each has some great features and its own fans. Despite the overwhelming popularity of electronic reading devices, however, many people still prefer classic, old-fashioned books. It seems that, generally, three distinct "reading personalities" have evolved. Which brings us to the question "Is my reading style Nook, Kindle, or book?"

The Nook Tablet

The Nook Tablet
The Nook Tablet | Source

Nook - A Jewel in the Barnes & Noble Crown

The Nook Tablet family remains one of the leaders in the e-reader pack. This is due to its convenient size (6" - 9.46" screens), many features, and affordability. The devices provide buyers much of the functionality of expensive tablets like Apple's Ipad, at less than one-half the price.

Why You Might be a "Nook Reader":

  • You buy books at Barnes & Noble - B&N e-readers allow you to purchase thousands of books, newspapers, or magazines, right from the tablet.
  • You enjoy sampling books for free - B&N e-readers automatically connect you to their Wi-Fi when you're in the stores, and allow you to read books free, for an hour.
  • You can pick up Nook accessories directly from your local store - no waiting for online delivery.
  • Barnes & Noble membership provides discounts and free shipping.
  • Nook Kids - It's possible to buy B&N interactive kids books, which come to life on the Nook reader.
  • In-store Nook Support - If you need help with your Nook, there's a rep ready and waiting in every store.

Currently Barnes & Nobles offers six e-reader models. Although all provide access to B&N's extensive titles via wi-fi, each has unique qualities. There is something for almost every taste in the lineup:

  1. Nook Simple Touch - ($99) - a black & white ink reader with a "just like paper" look - great for reading in the sun. Outstanding battery life.
  2. Nook Simple Touch with Glowlight - ($119.00) - all the features of Nook Simple Touch but including a backlight which allows reading in the dark.
  3. Nook Color - ($149) - Entertainment tablet, in color. Features 32GB w/ microSD™ slot, ability to play movies, Wi-Fi, Parental Controls, 800 MHz TI processor with 512MB RAM, 8 hours of battery life, 3.5 mm headphone jack, & many apps.
  4. Nook Tablet - ($179 -$199) - (8-16GB memory) - All of the features of the Nook Color. Also has VividView™ 7" Touchscreen and 11.5 hours of battery life.
  5. Nook HD - ($199 - $229) - Offers 8 - 16GB memory. 7" tablet with stunning HD resolution. Entertainment tablet which allows viewing movies & T.V. as well as popular apps. Wi-Fi for web browsing. HDMI, micro SD, 3.5mm headphone jack, and a USB port. Supports multiple file types. Extra-long battery life. Parental controls & Cloud storage.
  6. Nook HD + - ($269 - $299) - Offers 16-32gb memory. 1080p full HD. 9.46" and 18.2 oz.. This e-reader offers all of the features of Nook HD and enhanced sound & resolution.

If Amazon Lights Your Fire You May be a Kindle Reader

For dedicated Amazon shoppers, the Kindle e-reader line may be the obvious choice. Amazon offers a group of electronic readers which range from simple, black and white devices, to the latest Kindle Fire H.D.

Kindle could be your best fit if:

  • You are an Amazon Prime member, which provides an extensive library of free, streaming movies in addition to a million+ books, magazines, and newspapers which all Kindle owners can access.
  • You shop at Amazon and want a device which can be used to make book and entertainment purchases from them on your device.
  • You like the idea of a free lending library, parental controls, and cloud storage.
  • You want an easy access to thousands of accessories for your e-reader.
  • You want the largest choice in e-readers.

Current Kindles available on Amazon:

  1. Kindle ($69) - 6 oz., black & white, reads like paper, with no glare. Access to Amazon inventory, has wi-fi, and holds over 1,000 books.
  2. Kindle PaperWhite ($119 - $139 (less expensive with advertising) - All the features of Kindle, but with enhanced contrast, battery life, & book storage.
  3. Kindle PaperWhite 3G ($179 - $199) (less expensive with advertising) - All the features of PaperWhite but also offers 3G global wireless.
  4. Kindle Keyboard 3G ($139) - Kindle with a built-in physical keyboard and automatic advertising + 3G and wi-fi.
  5. Kindle DX - ($379) - Enhanced Kindle Keyboard. 9.7" screen, stereo speakers.
  6. Kindle Fire ($159) - 7" LCD screen, stereo, wi-fi, 8GB onboard storage plus cloud. Touch screen. dual-core processor and 8.5 hours of continuous-use battery life. Allows access to streaming video via Netflix and Amazon.
  7. Kindle Fire HD - ($199) - All the features of original Kindle plus enhanced resolution and sound. Offers either 16 or 32GB on device. 11 hours of battery life. Enhanced multi-touch screen with HD viewing.
  8. Kindle Fire HD 4G - ($499) - 8.9" HD LCD screen. All of the features of Kindle HD. Adds enhanced screen resolution and 4G, wi-fi connectivity. Has 16 or 32GB storage on wi-fi device, 32-64GB on 4G device. Weight is 20 oz.

Kindle Fire has been Amazon's most popular product and millions have been sold. It's noted for being an ideal portable entertainment solution. Of course the huge Amazon shopping site is also a perfect place to find affordable accessories for your Kindle. If your taste in e-readers requires access to Amazon's purchasing power and massive entertainment library, you are definitely a "Kindle" reader.

There's Just Something About Holding a Book and Turning the Pages

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~Anna Quindlen, "Enough Bookshelves," New York Times, 7 August 1991

You can always tell a true book lover. They hold a new book the same way jewelers handle diamonds - and with approximately the same awe. Those are the readers who will always want a real-honest-to-goodness book in their hands most of the time, no matter how great technology is.

The signs you may fall into this category:

  • You've lugged heavy boxes of books from home to home because you can't bear to be parted with them.
  • You feel an actual twinge when someone rips the page of a book.
  • You fill the bookshelves in your new place before you put the bed together.
  • You carry a book everywhere you go, just in case you get a couple of minutes to read.
  • You turn to the page where you left off with the same happiness you feel when you greet an old friend.

Let's face it, some of us are hooked. We can't give up the joy of buying, owning, arranging, and reading actual books, and we don't want to. There will always be an open volume somewhere in our home.

Does this mean we have to choose between the advantages of technology and the joy of physical books? It doesn't to me. I have an overflowing bookshelf, a Nook Color, and a Kindle Fire.

Although the e-readers tend to have so many entertainment features that they can actually distract from reading, it's nice to have one to turn on in an airport, while waiting for an appointment, or just to buy an e-book for a little instant gratification. It's also nice to be able to keep hundreds of titles without needing to move furniture to make more room.

Most readers are happy with anything that brings them the written word and expands the joys of reading. Today we have choices which can do that and fit any reading style - and that's a really good thing.

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