Should I get a Kindle or a Nook?

January 5th, 2010 by steve

Maybe neither.

Several years ago some people in my church purchased Laurel an electronic Bible. A Franklin, I believe it was called. It worked great, and Laurel enjoyed it. “Enjoyed it.” Past tense. She never uses it any more. It was a hot item, but its centrality in the digital world was very short-lived. After she’d had it a few months, I found one for my Palm IV. That application moved with me to my Sony Clie while Laurel’s Franklin sat on the shelf. Then I took the digital text and software to my Pocket PC. The Franklin stayed put. Then when I moved from the Pocket PC to a cell phone, my reader and text came with me.  The Franklin?  Still on the shelf.

That story illustrates the truth that technology that performs a singular function is great until that singular function is integrated into other devices that perform more functions. Then the question becomes, “Why should I carry all those devices around?” I fear this is the case with the Kindle.

Don’t get me wrong — I would not mind having a Kindle or a Nook.

But I’ve not bought one for several reasons.

First, as I have said, I don’t like the idea of being locked into a system that only does one thing. In my world, Laurel’s Franklin has been replaced by Palms, then PPCs, then PDA Phones, then the iPhone, and now the Android. However, since I purchased the text and software for my devices, I’ve migrated through several units. The text and the reader I have is somewhat platform-independent.

Second, I don’t want a black and white device. How about some color and some serious resolution?

Third, I don’t want a device that just reads books. If I am going to have something like that in my hand, it should have wifi and let me read CNN and FoxNews along with the latest issue of National Geographic. And it should let me surf the web too.

Fourth, I believe that Kindle and Nook technology is not current. By that, I mean, I believe they could make a much better device than these, but they are holding back while we buy these. In 2011, probably near Christmas season, they will offer the next generation — the one they should be selling now — and people will take out their wallets once more.

As I was thinking about this, I stumbled across this article:

I like that idea.


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2 Responses to “Should I get a Kindle or a Nook?”

  1. alacy Says:

    I have a nook, not sure I would have bought one for myself, but my wife heard me say something along the line of “that looks pretty nice, it looks a lot better than the kindle” and so got me one for Christmas. But after using it I think I can make some comments on it.

    First: I have read a lot of e-books on my Sony Clie PDA and was fine with it. So why a special device which is only used to read e-books? Well the old saying “jack of all trades master of none” can also apply to devices. For example the wood shop power tool that is a hand saw, a table saw, a drill press and router. I have never known a professional carpenter have one; they always have the separate tools. I don’t know any cook that likes the combination, mixer, blender, and food processor. So even if this isn’t true about e-readers people might believe it. More information on why some would consider it better at the end.

    Second: As for black and white only, well that isn’t a big deal to me, my clie is a color device, but when I read books on it, the text is black and white. Further more the vast majority of dead tree books I have, are black and white. Not sure about the comment on higher resolution, the pixels on the monitor I am typing on are about 0.22 mm the pixels on my nook are 0.15 mm. Where smaller is better this about 47% better.

    Third: Well your third point is close to the first point i.e. you don’t want a system that does only one thing.

    Fourth; As for the technology not being current. I think they probably are. If a company has a monopoly they might be able to release something when they actually have something better. But for example I don’t think Barnes and Noble would have held anything back when they want to take potential customers from Amazon. Now will they be a better e-reader some time this year? Of course there will be, there will also be better laptops, better desktops, better TV’s and pretty much better anything electronic. They will do more and cost less that is just the way it is. If you are always waiting for the next version of something they you will never get one. You just have to decide if the current version at the current price is good for you now and will you use it long enough to feel you got your money’s worth before you get later version.

    But if you want a device that will read e-books and do lot of other things, it is already here. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble supply software for the iPhone that will handle their e-books for free. This means with one device you have e-readers, cell phone, camera, GPS, MP3 player, electronic game, video viewer and much much more. So why would anyone pay for an e-reader that only does books including people that already have iPhones. I see these benefits:

    1. Size. The display is about the size of a paper back book. For me it is nicer to have more text on the screen at time. I wouldn’t want a cell phone this large; in fact I don’t want a cell phone as large as the iPhone.
    2. The display itself, it is electronic ink, and that means that it looks like paper, it doesn’t produce light. Because of this it works in any level of sunlight. It doesn’t refresh like a LCD, CRT or even plasma. This is easier on a lot of people’s eyes including mine.
    3. Power usage. Because an electronic ink display only uses power when it is changed, the battery last a long time. Kindle has an estimate of 14 days, and nook has an estimate of 10 days. So if you are on one of those extremely long flights you can keep reading. Now I do have to give a caveat about those estimates, they are like the MPG estimates on cars, only correct in perfect conditions. The real world figures I have heard for the Kindles are 11 or 12 days. The nook is even worse; it is only getting about 3 days for me and a lot of other people. Barnes & Noble has given no official answer, but some CS’s have told other owners that it is actually a software problem where it is miss reading the battery condition and it thinks the battery is actually lower that it is and when it gets “too low” it shuts the nook down. I hope this is true because they can send software updates straight to it.

    So are these advantages enough to get a special device that just reads books? I am sure that this varies from person to person. But Amazon said that kindle was their best selling item this year, and Barnes & Noble had more people wanting a nook than they had. By Nov 20’Th they had sold every nook that could be manufactured and delivered by Christmas. This included people with iPhones. Is it worth it for me, maybe especially since it got harder to find e-books my poor old PDA could handle.

    Now the nook can use both the AT&T 3G cellular and wifi, but only to access the Barnes & Noble servers. I sure it is clear why the cellular access is only used for this. There is no separate data charge, so the cost of this access has to be part of the e-book price. It wouldn’t be smart to allow general access. As for wifi access to other servers, I think they could do this if they wished. The only trouble as kindle owners which have limited access to internet will attest to, electronic ink which is great on power usage is lousy for web browsers because it takes noticeable time to change the display. Everything has its pluses and minuses.

  2. alacy Says:

    Looks like low powered color displays are coming, from todays (1/7/1) foxnews the article says

    Imagine three solid weeks without recharging your device! The company boasts that its display uses a “low power, video capable, sunlight viewable, color display that will shake up the e-reader market and open new doors for publishers.