There are more eReaders and eBook readers on the market than most consumers are aware of. But two of the top names in mid-range eReaders are the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook. The Amazon Kindle costs $189 and the Nook is about $199 with 3G. If you opt out of the cellular data support, you can pay as little as $139 for the Kindle and $149 for the Nook. Both eReaders are incredibly affordable—but which is best for your money? Consider the following to help you decide.
One important feature that the Kindle and Nook have in common is their e-ink screens. (Note that the Nook Color does not use e-ink). E-ink is the closest thing you’ll get to a printed page from a tablet or eReader. They do a very convincing job of reproducing the look of a printed page. They also don’t use backlights, meaning their battery life is usually very, very impressive. Reading e-ink in direct sunlight is also not a problem, though you may need to get a booklight if you plan on reading your Nook or Kindle in the dark.
The main drawback of e-ink is that it only comes in black and white, and the refresh rate is noticeably slower than LCD screens. They also don’t support touch screen capabilities.
When comparing the Nook and the Kindle, note that the Kindle uses the new “Pearl” e-ink screen, whereas the Nook hasn’t yet adopted this technology at the time of this review. This second generation e-ink technology uses E-ink Pearl Imaging Film to produce a higher contrast screen.
Format and Platform
One of the perks of choosing a Kindle or Nook is that you can download a Kindle or Nook app to your iPhone or iPad as well. This gives you some flexibility, say, if you don’t want to bring your Nook on the train but you still want to read via your iPhone. In terms of format support, the Nook has a slight advantage over the Kindle. The Kindle does not support the EPUB format, which is used for public domain books, ebooks from local libraries and other sources, such as Google Books. The Nook does.
Titles and Selections
Each eReader has its own selection of books and publications that are available. According to CNet, the Kindle has the best selection among all dedicated eReaders, with the Nook coming in a close second. While there is some overlap in catalogs, there may be books that aren’t available on the Barnes and Noble store or the Amazon Kindle store. You may want to check out the online listings before buying:
The Amazon Kindle has the better e-ink screen, and it’s hands down the most popular eReader on the market. That has to say something. But if you absolutely need the EPUB format, go for a Nook. Other than those two issues, it all comes down to which has a better selection of ebooks based on your tastes.