There are many e-readers on the market, but I focused my research on the two most popular: Amazon's Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook.
Premliminaries and Other Considerations:
Pearl E-ink - creates a better contrast, resulting in clearer text and the sharpest image
Battery Life - Battery life will always last longer if you turn off the wireless when you are not using it. - Amazon bases their battery life estimate on 1/2 hours of reading/day with the wireless turned off. Barnes and Noble does not specify how they arrived at their estimates. *A special note about batteries: If your Kindle battery no longer holds a charge and must be replaced, you must ship it to Amazon to be changed; however, they expect each battery to last 2-3 years. If your Nook battery no longer holds a charge and must be replaced, you simply buy a battery through Barnes and Noble and replace it yourself or one of their employees will change if for you as a complimentary service.
Ready to Use - Although all 3 devices are ready to use right out of the box, you will have to set up an Amazon or Barnes and Noble account if you don’t already have one. You will also have to register your device and connect to your Wi-Fi if it’s not a 3G device.
Selection - The numbers are what are reported by Amazon and Barnes and Noble. However, these can be deceptive. Some companies count texts that others do not. I suggest visiting each company’s site and searching for books and periodicals you are interested in. This is also a good opportunity to compare the cost of their selections.
Downloadable Free Book Samples: All 3 devices allow you to download sample chapters. However, Nook offers something more, something unique. If you are physically in a Barnes and Noble store with your Nook, they also allow you to connect to their store via your Nook and read 85% of their books free of charge for up to 1 hour. Theoretically, you could go in every day and read for an hour each day, eventually reading entire books free of charge. They also offer deals on items from their café while you are reading.
Free Public Domain Books - Although Nook does not offer these through their site, you may download them from other sites if they are in a compatible file format.
Overdrive System - This allows you to check out e-books through your public library system.
Lending E-Books - Not all books are classified as “lendable” and able to be shared. This is determined by the publisher and is not related to Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Also, you may only lend with other like e-reader users. For example, Kindle users can only share with other Kindle users.
Purchase Archives - Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble automatically archive your purchases from their website. This ensures that even if you lose your device you will not lose all of your books. You can archive books from your device, but the only way to completely delete them is by accessing your online account.
Basic Web Browsing - Because these devices are primarily e-readers, the web browsing capabilities are basic. Amazon allows you to search the internet and check email. It also includes a unique Kindle email address for your convenience. When I spoke with the salespeople at Barnes and Noble about the Nook, they told me that internet use on the 1st generation Nook is "tedious" and the new Simple Touch Reader does not allow you to use the internet at all; it is primarily an e-reader. The Simple Touch Reader was also described as a "stripped down version of the 1st generation."
The following table compares 3 devices: the Amazon Kindle (3rd generation), the Barnes and Noble Nook, Simple Touch Reader (latest generation); and the Barnes and Noble Nook, 1st generation. (The original Nook and the latest one are both being compared because they are both still available for purchase through the Barnes and Noble site. Amazon only sells their latest generation Kindle.) Please continue scrolling down; there is that annoying white space that I cannot for the life of me figure out how to delete and every attempt risked my deleting the entire chart. Thank you for your patience, and I apologize for any inconvenience or annoyance.
|Amazon's Kindle||Barnes & Noble’s Nook |
Simple Touch Reader
|Barnes & Noble’s Nook, 1st Generation|
|Price||$114 w/ Wi-Fi & special offers; |
$139 w/ Wi-Fi;
$164 w/ 3G, Wi-Fi & special offers;
$189 w/ 3G & Wi-Fi
|$139 w/ Wi-Fi||$119 w/ Wi-Fi; |
$169 w/ 3G & Wi-Fi
|What comes in your box?||The Kindle, an AC adapter & a microUSB cable||The Nook, an AC adapter & a microUSB cable||The Nook, an AC adapter & a microUSB cable|
|Overall Size & Weight||7.5" x 4.8" x 0.335"; |
|6.5” x 5” x 0.47”; |
|7.7” x 4.9” x 0.5”; |
11.6 ounces – 12.1 ounces
|Supported File Types||AZW, TXT, PDF, AA, AAX, MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively, HTML, DOC, JPEG, JIF, PNG, BMP through conversion||EPUB, PDF, JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP||EPUB, PDP, PDF, JPG, GIF, PNG, BMP, MP3|
|Screen Size||6” diagonal||6” diagonal||6” diagonal|
|E-ink Pearl Display||Yes||Yes||No, E-Ink Screen Only|
|Storage||4GB (holds up to 3,500 books)||2GB (holds up to 1,000 books)||2GB|
|Can storage by expanded?||No||Yes – up to 32GB||Yes – up to 16G|
|Battery Life||Up to 2 months||Up to 2 months||Up to 10 days|
|Battery Charging Time||4.5 hours||3 hours||3.5 hours|
|Ready to Use (right out of the box)?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Selection||950,000 books, plus audiobooks, periodicals and blogs||2 million titles including books, magazines and newspapers||2 million titles including books, magazines and newspapers|
|Free Public Domain (Out-of-Copyright) Books?||Yes (1.8 million)||Not directly through their site.||Not directly through their site.|
|Downloadable Free Book Samples?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Compatible with the Overdrive System?||No, but they plan to be by late 2011||Yes||Yes|
|Compatible with Audiobook?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Can you lend e-books with other e-reader users?||Yes, up to 14 days||Yes, up to 14 days||Yes, up to 14 days|
|Automatically archives Your Purchases?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Uses Real Page Numbers?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Highlights and Annotations Enabled?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Includes a Dictionary? |
*New Oxford American Dictionary
|Can you change the font?||Yes *May change size, style, line spacing, words per line and screen rotation.||Yes *May change size, style and margins||Yes *May change size, style and margins|
|Organize Your Books?||Yes, Kindle calls it My Collections||Yes, Nook calls it My Shelves||Yes, Nook calls it My Shelves|
|Password Protect Your Device?||Yes||No||Yes|
|Basic Web Browsing Enabled?||Yes||No||Yes|
|Can you share passages with friends?||Yes *Via Facebook and Twitter||Yes *May be shared through their Nook Friends system||Yes *May be shared through their Nook Friends system|
|Syncs with Multiple Devices (such as your pc, cell phone) if proper apps or software are downloaded?||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Note on Nook Color: As compared with the Nook Simple Touch Reader, the Nook Color is very similar; however, it does, of course, include a color screen. (This is not an E-ink Pearl screen.) The screen is also backlight. The backlight is adjustable and allows you to read in dark areas without a booklight; however, it is more difficult to read in direct sunlight. An anti-glare screen protector is available, which they claim also helps you to read better in direct sunlight; however, it is not as clear as the E-ink Pearl screen. The Nook Color also give you access to their apps store. You will notice that it is described as a tablet, not simply a reader.
Note on Kindle: Amazon also offers a larger device called the Kindle DX. It includes Wi-Fi and 3G and is similar to the other Kindles, only larger. The cost is $379.00.
Disclaimer: I have compiled this chart based upon my own research (both online and through interviews). It is accurate to the best of my knowledge; however, I am not an expert and suggest that you verify all information with a sales representative before purchase. This is compiled simply to help you compare the similarities and differences between the two devices.
Part Four in my e-reader series (Which e-reader did I choose and what do I think of it?) coming soon.