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Nook vs Kindle: Which E-Reader Is Best?

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Nook vs Kindle: Which E-Reader Is Best?

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

kindle paperwhite
Kindle is a portable e-reading device produced and marketed by Amazon

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NookKindle
DeveloperBarnes & NobleAmazon
Release DateNovember 30th, 2009November 19th, 2007
Operating SystemAndroidKindle firmware
DisplayE-ink, LCDE-ink
Current Gen NameNook GlowLight 4Kindle Paperwhite 5
Current Gen Size6.2 in H x 4.75 in W x 0.2 in D6.9 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.

Kindle

Kindle (2019 release) - With a Built-in Front Light - Black
$109.99
  • 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.
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02/05/2024 08:31 am GMT
ProsCons
Kindle’s proprietary operating system is faster than the NookThe 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 KindleIt’s harder to loan an e-book on Kindle compared to Nook
Kindle offers more titles than NookNo option for LCD screen, meaning e-book pictures will be black and white
Handy tools to keep your ebooks organized

Nook

Read from Anywhere!
Barnes & Noble NOOK GlowLight Plus eReader
  • 7.8" high-resolution 300-dpi display 
  • You can set the NOOK to mimic the natural progression of the sun automatically
  • Features physical page-turning buttons 
  • IPx7 rating (you can submerge the NOOK in 3 ft. of water for up to 30 minutes)
  • 8GB of memory
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ProsCons
Users can access free materials on Barnes & Noble Wi-FiNook is slower than the Kindle
Nook comes with both an e-ink and LCD optionB&N’s Nook has no self-publishing support, unlike Kindle
The cheapest Nook offers more storage compared to the cheapest KindleNook supports fewer file types than Kindle
Current versions of the Nook are smaller than the Kindle

Nook vs Kindle: Key Differences

Developers

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.

Operating System

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.

kindle paperwhite
Kindle’s proprietary firmware requires you to have an Amazon account to use your device.

Speed

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.

Kindle vs. Books
Kindle includes access to millions of e-books, many of them free.

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.)

Up Next…

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who created the Kindle e-reader?

The Kindle e-reader is a product of Amazon.

Who makes the Nook?

Barnes & Noble created and distributes the Nook e-reader.

Who has more e-books, Kindle or Nook?

Kindle has more e-books available than Nook.

Which e-reader has more storage, Nook or Kindle?

The base model Nook has far more storage than the base model Kindle.

Which came first, Nook or Kindle?

Kindle came before Nook by about two years — the former in November of 2007, the latter in November of 2009.

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