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Nook vs. Kindle

Updated on August 8, 2012

I have a Nook. A good friend of mine has a Kindle. Here's the breakdown of the good and bad and why I decided to go with the Nook:

Good | Nook

  1. Nook operates on an Android operating system, which means you have a lot more freedom in what you put on your Nook. If you buy an e-book online through Borders or one of the many, many online websites, you can side-load it through USB onto your Nook. I've also downloaded books under a creative commons license, books from my library website, and books from google books. In fact, I had my Nook for nearly a year before I bought my first e-book -- up until then, I stuck with free content. Also, I don't know if Amazon offers anything similar, but B&N offers a "Daily Deal" promotion where the books have been as much as 90% off the retail price.
  2. The Nook has a larger library of classic books, and their NY Times Bestseller list is growing daily.
  3. The Nook has a "LendMe" feature on certain books, and the ability to request that feature be added in the future on books that don't have it. This is cool, because you can lend an e-book you own to a friend with a Nook/ Sony reader/ Kobe/ laptop/ android phone/ desk computer . . . pretty much any format but a Kindle. They have access to the file for 14 days (and unlike when I lend a physical copy, I also still have access to my book!).*
  4. The Nook had time to learn from Amazon/ Kindle, and it's a very solid, customer-friendly e-reader. It's starting out ahead, and can only go up from here.
  5. The Nook has cooler accessories (not that important, I know, but still a point to consider).

*edited to add: Regarding the LendMe feature -- it's changing. The major publishers are no longer really on board with this, and many mainstream-published books no longer offer it. I hate to sound like a broken record, but this is kind of Kindle's fault, again. They copied Nook and started adding the LendMe feature to their books, which resulted in a bunch of Kindle owners setting up sites like Lendle, where you search for the book and get connected with a Kindle user who owns a LendMe copy, which the publishing companies saw (in my opinion, wrongly) as theft. So then Amazon approached the top 6 publishing companies and told them they were setting up a Prime lending library, and did these companies want their books to be available in it? Each company said no. In November 2011, Amazon rolled out their lending library -- illegally filled with the books they had been told they did not have permission to put in the lending library. They also shut down Lendle and similar sites in order to drive traffic toward their illegal lending library.

All this means that mainstream publishers are leery about the LendMe feature, because it was so horribly abused by Amazon.

Bad | Nook

  1. It's, uh, not as popular/ well known as the Kindle? Honestly, I haven't found anything bad about it. I like it, and the blogs of literary agents that I've read have never once complained about the e-reader publishing clauses associated with the Nook. Just Kindle's.

Good | Kindle

  1. Amazon has a larger library, especially regarding modern books and NY Times Bestsellers.
  2. Because the Kindle has been out longer, it is considered by many to be more user-friendly. They've had time to listen to customer feedback and have several versions available that customers can choose from.*

*edited to add : In my opinion, the changes in the past few years to Kindle offerings -- the Kindle Fire, the Kindle Touch, the Kindle Lending programs, Kindle books in public libraries -- these things were only implemented by Amazon and Kindle after the Barnes and Noble Nook successfully implemented these measures and features and rose to become serious competition to the Kindle. This is important because many of these features were requested by customers of Amazon and Kindle long before the Nook came out, but Amazon/ Kindle only made certain customer-requested changes when the Nook was able to challenge them by offering features they could not/ would not.

Bad | Kindle

  1. The Kindle operates under a locked DRM. I don't think it's as tight as it used to be, but with the Kindle, you can only buy books from Amazon.
  2. Amazon tracks all reader statistics and has been known, in the past, to withdraw books from a reader's Kindle library without warning. I believe now they send e-mails and warning notifications if a publisher contests the right of Amazon to sell an e-book. But your content, comments, bookmarks, etc. -- all accessible by Amazon and not considered private info.
  3. Amazon used to strong-arm its e-reader authors into only publishing through Amazon. If an author wanted to publish an e-book, they had to choose between having it on the Kindle or every other device out there. I don't believe they do this anymore, but it was a major reason why I decided to go with Nook.
  4. Amazon does not treat their authors well.

Both e-readers offer a solid user experience. Both are intuitive and easy to use. Both are attractive and discreet. Both offer comparable pricing for e-books. Both offer free downloading -- other than the cost of the book, of course. Both offer a wifi version and a version with basic 3G in the upfront cost, so there's no monthly fee associated with owning an e-reader. 

In the end, it really comes down to personal preference -- do you prefer an open experience or a closed garden? If you like to be able to fiddle with your electronics and personalize them, you'll probably go with the Nook. If you're are more interested in just using the product and don't care about customization or choices, you'll do well with the Kindle. I have found, generally, that Android/ Microsoft/ Google fans prefer the Nook, while Apple fans prefer the Kindle.


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    • that one girl profile image

      that one girl 6 years ago from Washington state

      This is the latest in a long line of author complaints:,84700.... I've also read interesting/ horrifying accounts of Amazon shafting authors financially worse than a traditional publishing company, and early on (before the Nook reader, when Kindle dominated the market), part of Amazon's publishing clause included a stipulation that an author could only publish their e-book through Amazon, but not any other venue. Kind of a dick move.

    • writinginalaska profile image

      writinginalaska 6 years ago from southeast Alaska

      what do you mean Amazon does not treat their authors well? I am considering publishing on Amazon in the near future.