Some of us simply don’t have the room for the sheer number of books we want to read. Most can’t lug around a huge, 750-page novel from place to place. Not to mention, some prefer to read on a digital device as opposed to a physical copy. For all these reasons and more, the invention of the e-reader caught on quickly and has never left its niche market. The ongoing battle between Nook vs Kindle exemplifies this. What makes the two rival e-readers attract customers loyal to either product?
While both have their respective followings, neither is superior to the other. Each has its own respective set of advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps most of all, both Nook and Kindle achieve the same goal: giving readers the ability to carry their e-books on an e-reader that is sleek, functional, and affordable. For all this, it’s worth pitting Nook vs Kindle to see which one ultimately comes out on top. Perhaps a side-by-side comparison of their specs, historical differences, and pros and cons will put things in perspective.
Side by Side Comparison: Nook vs Kindle
|Developer||Barnes & Noble||Amazon|
|Release Date||November 30th, 2009||November 19th, 2007|
|Operating System||Android||Kindle firmware|
|Current Gen Name||Nook GlowLight 4||Kindle Paperwhite 5|
|Current Gen Size||6.2 in H x 4.75 in W x 0.2 in D||6.9 in H x 4.9 in W x 0.32 in D|
|Current Gen Price||$149.99||$139.99|
5 Must-Know Facts About Nook vs Kindle
- The Kindle pre-dates the Nook by just over two years.
- The Kindle used to offer a touch-screen version, but Amazon has since rebranded these Kindles under the Fire tablet name.
- While the Kindle has since moved away from anything other than e-ink, the Nook still has a LCD-screen e-reader available for purchase.
- The Nook was long seen as the more affordable version of the Kindle, but recent versions of the Kindle are actually cheaper than recent versions of the Nook.
- Many feared that e-readers would one day replace physical copies of books. However, over a decade since their widespread success, it’s clear that both can (and will continue to) co-exist.
- Purpose-built for reading with a 167 ppi glare-free display that reads like real paper, even in direct sunlight.
- Adjustable brightness lets you read comfortably—indoors and outdoors, day and night.
- A single battery charge lasts weeks, not hours.
- 8 GB of storage means thousands of titles on hand all in a compact size.
- Read distraction-free. Highlight passages, look up definitions, translate words, and adjust text size—without ever leaving the page.
|Kindle’s proprietary operating system is faster than the Nook||The base model of the Kindle doesn’t offer nearly as much storage as the base model Nook|
|Self-published authors receive an immense amount of support from Amazon and Kindle||It’s harder to loan an e-book on Kindle compared to Nook|
|Kindle offers more titles than Nook||No option for LCD screen, meaning e-book pictures will be black and white|
|Handy tools to keep your ebooks organized|
- Read easy, everywhere
- Seamless day-to-night reading with Night Mode
- Soft touch finish on front and back for easy grip
- Page-turning buttons for faster reading experience
- IPx7 allows the device to be submerged in 3ft. of water up to 30 minutes.
|Users can access free materials on Barnes & Noble Wi-Fi||Nook is slower than the Kindle|
|Nook comes with both an e-ink and LCD option||B&N’s Nook has no self-publishing support, unlike Kindle|
|The cheapest Nook offers more storage compared to the cheapest Kindle||Nook supports fewer file types than Kindle|
|Current versions of the Nook are smaller than the Kindle|
Nook vs Kindle: Key Differences
Let’s state the obvious: Nook and Kindle come from very different developers. Nook is a product of Barnes & Noble, while Kindle is a product of Amazon. Interestingly enough, these two companies are what many customers think of first when they look for the latest books to read. As the biggest booksellers, it only makes sense that Barnes & Noble and Amazon would lead the pack in the e-reader industry.
To truly compare Nook vs Kindle, we also have to look at the internal makeup of the e-readers. Nook runs on an Android OS, while Kindle relies on its proprietary Kindle firmware. This is one of the biggest, most remarkable differences between the two e-readers.
Many users complain that Nook is far slower than Kindle, and this is clearly the reason why. When both e-readers look, feel, and function the same, the device’s speed will make all the difference.
The History of Nook
First announced in the fall of 2009, Barnes & Noble’s Nook was an immediate disruptor to the e-reader market. Amazon’s Kindle was the dominant force in this market for a couple of years. With the introduction of a close competitor, things were destined to heat up fast. That’s exactly what happened, too. The Nook 1st Edition — cleverly named after the popular publishing term for highly coveted collectibles — instantly appealed to those who liked to read with an e-reader over a physical book.
Why? Like the Kindle, Nook came from a popular bookseller. It also looked much like the Kindle but at a much more affordable introductory price. Moreover, users were treated to an hour a day of free access to all of Nook’s e-materials when connected to Barnes & Noble’s Wi-Fi. The Nook also allowed users to digitally loan books and other materials to follow Nook users — just like you could with a real book or magazine.
Nook has continued to improve and upgrade its previous versions. The latest Nooks — the Nook 10″ HD and the Nook GlowLight 4 — allow users to choose between the traditional e-ink look or a state-of-the-art touch screen interface. Regardless of user preference between these two screen types, the Nook continues to be a hit among loyalists for its more affordable price than the Kindle and recognizable Barnes & Noble brand name.
The Success of Amazon’s Kindle
Barnes & Noble Nook was a direct response to Amazon’s Kindle, which arrived about two years before the Nook’s 1st Edition. However, Kindle was not the first mass-market e-reader. That distinction belongs to Sony’s short-lived line of e-readers. Before it was Nook vs Kindle, it was Kindle vs Sony. Specifically, the Sony Librie and the Sony Reader were first released in 2004 and 2006, respectively. Even so, Kindle’s success was immediately greater than Sony’s. Remember, the Kindle completely sold out in less than six hours upon its debut in 2007.
Since this first generation, Amazon has taken the Kindle name and stretched it as far and wide as possible. From several touch screen tablets (now rebranded under the Fire name) to over ten generations of e-ink readers, the Kindle has never stopped innovating and expanding upon the idea of an e-reader. Amazon has the financial muscle to innovate more than Barnes & Noble. It’s nothing personal. Amazon is more successful as a brand name than Barnes & Noble, which comes with more profit.
A portion of Kindle’s success also comes from its authors. With over six million books to its name, the Kindle creates an environment that makes it easy for authors to self-publish. This only generates more titles for the Kindle, which in turn, leads to more profit. It’s an autonomous system and one that has worked well for Kindle throughout the 15+ years it has been around. You just won’t find this sort of self-published author support with the Barnes & Noble Nook.
Nook vs Kindle: What are the Similarities?
Additionally, both Nook and Kindle e-readers utilize an e-ink display to replicate the look and feel of reading a physical copy of a book. Both e-readers come in under seven inches tall, less than five inches wide, and less than half an inch thick. Not to mention, both current generations of Nook and Kindle are currently available for less than $150. Clearly, the Nook and the Kindle are pretty evenly matched. They do the same thing, have the same look, and even have the same size (give or take a few fractions of an inch).
Nook vs Kindle: Which Is the Better E-Reader?
The battle between Nook vs Kindle is a pretty evenly matched one. Both e-readers function the same, came out within a couple of years of one another, and are more or less the same size. Neither one has a clear advantage over the other when looking solely at the surface. Only when you delve inside does it become obvious which e-reader takes the cake.
Amazon’s Kindle is faster and offers more titles, many downloadable for free. What’s more, is that self-publishing authors have a serious amount of support from Kindle compared to Nook. Couple this with the Kindle’s increased support for more file types than Nook. Ultimately, Kindle is the ultimate winner. (No matter how thin the margin is.)
Interested in reading more e-reader-related articles? Click on the links below:
- Scribd vs Kindle Unlimited: Which One Should You Buy? One is known as the “Netflix” of books. The other is the most popular e-reader on the globe. Which is the better option for you? And what other differences set them apart? Discover the answers in this article.
- Kindle vs iPad: Which is best for you? Which is more affordable? Which is more convenient to use? Which is more versatile? Find out which is the better option between Apple’s tablet and the most popular e-reader on the planet.
- Kindle Oasis vs Paperwhite: Full Comparison & Winner: Which e-reader has a more powerful battery, larger storage, and more pixels per inch? Discover which device is capable of offering you more in this article.