B&N's Nook e-book reader vs. Amazon's Kindle: FIGHT!

Barnes & Noble has finally launched its much rumored e-book reader device: the curiously named Nook. As e-readers go, it adds some interesting features over its main competition. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers make the obvious comparisons to Amazon's Kindle.

By Richi Jennings. October 21, 2009.


Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention stupid ER antics...

    Darren Murph feels vindicated:

Looks like all those whispers were true -- the "Android-based" nook is alive and well, ... calling itself the planet's "most advanced e-book reader." ... Includes a top e-ink display from Vizplex and a color touchscreen (3.5-inches) below, which supports one-touch control and swipe-to-browse. ... Inbuilt WiFi (802.11b/g) and AT&T 3G ... 2GB of internal storage, a microSD expansion slot, MP3 player ... and support for EPUB, PDF.


B&N ... will also let you sample ebooks before you buy, and you'll enjoy free WiFi each and every time you sashay into a Barnes & Noble retail location. ... Pre-order ... for $259, ... shipments expected ... end of November.

Harry McCracken adds:

The Nook will offer both bestsellers and other new releases (”many” at $9.99) and over a million titles in total, including free public-domain works. It costs $259–the same as Amazon.com’s cheapest Kindle. ... Oh, and it syncs with Barnes & Noble’s e-reading software for PCs, Macs, iPhones, and BlackBerries.


I look forward to getting my hands on a Nook soon. The single thing ... I’m most excited about is something kind of mundane: Like Sony’s Readers–but unlike the Kindle–it supports the industry-standard ePub format, and therefore doesn’t render your book purchases worthless if you someday decide to switch to an electronic reader made by someone else.

Rob Pegoraro moves us forward:

Most intriguing of all [it] allows for 14-day loans of e-books. A device that allowed the same loaning option paper books have always provided would take a step towards addressing one of my oldest complaints about electronic books.

John Biggs taxonomizes: [You're fired -Ed.]

Who will win the ereader race? ... It’s abundantly clear that Amazon has a head start. B&N was late with their readers, starting with a Kindle-like IREX and ending up with an odd duck that uses e-ink for text display but also adds a bit of UI richness with the color LCD. The specs promise an interesting experience and it’s especially nice to hear that the device will last for 10 days with wireless off.


Another interesting tidbit – the Nook, because it’s built on Android, should run Android apps natively, turning the Nook into more of a computing device than a standalone reader. ... Amazon may have to change its attiutude towards sharing in order to beat the Nook’s “lending” functionality.

C. S. Magor is impressed:

Much of what separates the Barnes & Noble nook from the Kindle 2 is sheer novelty. I can take or leave the color multi-touch screen, and the size and weight differences are elementary. It is the nook’s subtle additions that set it apart. It is like the folks at Barnes & Noble made a list of everyone’s gripes with the Kindle and then set about correcting them.


The drawbacks to the nook are few and far between, lack of Word Doc support is annoying and it does not have text-to-speech but other than that Barnes & Noble seem to have covered their bases well and come out with something that trumps the Kindle with features, while costing the same, and kills the Sony and iRex readers on price. I am impressed enough to part with two hundred and fifty-nine hard-earned dollars.

Karl Martineau offers an interesting angle:

The nook will also have the advantage of being sold in physical stores, and you should be able to walk into any Barnes & Noble and try it out. ... I know that I feel much more comfortable spending my money on something I can try out first.

But Eric Savitz asks inconvenient questions:

Is the eBook market getting too crowded? Does this cause problems for Amazon? Will the much-anticipated (but unannounced) Apple tablet crush the existing field? And can the publishing industry survive with best-sellers priced at 10 bucks?

  We'll see.

So what's your take?
Get involved: leave a comment.

And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com.

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