Nook vs. Kindle: Which Ebook Reader Is Best for You?
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Around the world, ebook sales continue to increase at a rapid rate. And because so many of us are turning to digital content, it is more important than ever to make sure your ebook reader meets your needs. In this article, we’ll help you decide whether to buy an Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook.

Nook vs. Kindle: Cost

Let’s be honest, the majority of all our buying decisions boil down to one thing: price.

Barnes & Noble (which makes the Nook) and Amazon (which makes the Kindle) both offer a variety of different models under the same brand name.

The entry-level Kindle is available on Amazon for $79.99. The mid-range Kindle Paperwhite costs $129.99, while the highest spec device—the Kindle Oasis—sells for $249.99.

Unsurprisingly, the three devices all have very different spec sheets. We’ll look at them in more detail shortly.

Similarly, there are several Nook products. However, only one of them—the Nook GlowLight 3—is a true e-reader. The other devices are all Android tablets, akin to Amazon’s Fire tablets. Yes, you can use them to read ebooks, but for committed bookworms, the brighter screen and shorter battery life makes them inappropriate options.

The Nook GlowLight is available for $119.99, thus putting it into competition with the Kindle Paperwhite.

Nook vs. Kindle: The Specs

nook glowlight 3 front face

Given the two most direct competitors are the GlowLight and the Paperwhite, let’s run through how they compare from a specs standpoint.

Both devices have a six-inch screen with a 300 DPI resolution.

The Nook only comes in an 8GB version, whereas the Paperwhite offers 8GB and 32GB models. In truth, 8GB should be enough for almost all users, especially considering you can store content in the cloud.

The most significant difference from a usability perspective is the presence of a physical button on the Nook. When reading, you can use the button to turn the pages. Although I personally own a Kindle, I would actually prefer to use a physical button for page turning—but ultimately, it comes down to your personal preference.

And finally, there’s one massive advantage that the Paperwhite has over the Nook—it is waterproof. You can submerge it for up to one hour in two meters of water. That’s a massive boon for anyone who likes to read in the bath every night, as well as for people who want to use their device by a pool or on a beach while on vacation.

Nook vs. Kindle: Screen Size and Resolution

If you’re the type of person who spends all day reading ebooks, it’s quite easy to argue that six-inch devices do not provide enough screen real estate.

The only model that offers a bigger screen is the seven-inch Kindle Oasis. Like the Nook GlowLight and the Kindle Paperwhite, the Oasis provides a screen resolution of 300 DPI.

On the other end of the scale, you might be happier with a lower resolution, especially if you’re only an occasional reader. In that case, you should consider the entry-level Kindle. You can save $50 by accepting a resolution of 167 DPI. The screen size is still six inches.

Nook vs. Kindle: Battery Life

The battery life on a Nook and Kindle is so good that it shouldn’t form a meaningful part of your decision. Nook’s creators claim the devices last for 50 days; Amazon suggests a vaguer “Weeks” on its three Kindle models.

Nook vs. Kindle: Audiobooks

Audiobooks also have experienced rapid growth in popularity over the last few years. So much so that it’s now estimated that more than a quarter of the U.S. population has listened to an audiobook in the last 12 months.

If you’re an audiobook addict who’s trying to decide between a Kindle or Nook, the Kindle is the clear winner.

The latest generation of all three devices support audiobook playback via Bluetooth and through the headphone jack.

The Nook GlowLight 3 does not support audiobooks. It’s worth noting, however, that the other tablet devices in the Nook range can download and play them.

Nook vs. Kindle: Supported Ebook Formats

kindle paperwhite front screen

There are lots of different ebook formats The Different Ebook Formats Explained: EPUB, MOBI, AZW, IBA, and More The Different Ebook Formats Explained: EPUB, MOBI, AZW, IBA, and More In this article we look at all of the common ebook formats, explain their pros and cons, and tell you which ebook readers support them. Read More , so compatibility is important.

The Kindle supports Amazon’s proprietary AZW format, as well as MOBI, DOC, TXT, RFT, and HTML. The elephant in the room is the lack of EPUB support.

Nook devices support EPUB files and PDF files.

Despite the differences, it is possible to read books on both devices regardless of format if you’re willing to use one of these online ebook converters 5 High-Quality Online Ebook Converters for Every Format 5 High-Quality Online Ebook Converters for Every Format Ebooks with their multiple formats can be confusing. These faultless online ebook converters will serve your every need. Read More .

Nook vs. Kindle: Online Stores

An ebook reader isn’t much use without some ebooks to put on it. Kindle owners will do their shopping in Amazon’s Kindle Books store. Nook users have access to the Nook Books store.

Of the two competing stores, Amazon’s is more extensive and often cheaper. Furthermore, Nook Books adds DRM to its ebooks; you’ll need to remove it if you want to use the EPUB file on other readers.

Nook vs. Kindle: Other Features

The two devices each come with their own array of additional apps and features.

On a Kindle, users have access to in-book dictionary definitions, the Word Wise vocabulary builder, and the X-Ray scanner. The scanner allows readers to quickly skim through a book to find references to characters, events, references, and other information.

Nook devices have a night mode (to prevent eye strain) and an automated content discovery program called B&N Readouts.

Both products provide a slew of usability settings such as different font, text sizes, and a backlight option.

As you’d expect, you can also find plenty of third-party accessories—such as cases and sleeves—for both Kindles and Nooks.

Nook vs. Kindle: Which Is Right for You?

So, to come full circle, which is the best e-reader for you? In our mind, there’s only one winner: the Amazon Kindle. The Barnes & Noble Nook has some nice touches, but the Amazon Kindle is faster, easier to use, and has access to a larger store. The three different Kindle models also mean there’s a device out there for everyone.

Of course, you don’t need to use an ebook store to find content. So once you’ve purchased your e-reader of choice here’s how to download free ebooks online 5 Sites With Lots of Completely Free Ebooks That Don't Suck 5 Sites With Lots of Completely Free Ebooks That Don't Suck If you know where to look, you can snag free ebooks to read online, download to your computer, or transfer to your Kindle. Read More and save a few dollars.

Explore more about: Amazon Kindle, Ebooks, eReader, Nook Tablet.

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  1. J
    January 27, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    I use neither...I use a Kobo ereader. The 2 companies in the article are not the only ones out there.

  2. Julie
    October 4, 2018 at 8:14 am

    I'm genuinely trying to understand the differences. This article is far from unbiased. From the multiple ads offering "articles" about why kindle is so great to the last paragraph asking if I want a huge selection of books or something I can not worry about dropping in the bath it really just comes off sounding like it was written by a pr strategist. The author claims that the choice depends on what you are looking for but the points s/he affords nook are quickly made to seem superficial and "oh, look how much cooler kindle is." It lacks objectivity.

  3. Russn8r
    May 4, 2018 at 5:59 pm

    Is there a reader that allows for research? Copy excerpts and get them to your PC somehow?

  4. Steven
    October 15, 2017 at 9:05 am

    B&N pulled out of the UK last year leaving Nook owners high and dry. Fortunately there is plenty of support around for installing the Kindle app on a Nook and I have now rescued a Glowlight otherwise gathering dust in a cupboard and now have the best of both worlds.

  5. Danielle
    June 23, 2017 at 2:33 am

    I have had a Nook for years and went in to Barnes and Noble today to look at upgrading. Nobody there was interested in helping me. So much for customer service.

  6. Stacey Holmdahl
    May 27, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    I have had an original Nook for years, and it is finally dying. While I did have some technical problems with it years ago (for a while it couldn't download books and B&N couldn't tell me why) I was able to take it in to my local B&N store and the clerk there taught me how to side load as an alternative until the bug was fixed. I like that I can go into my local store for support when I need it. I've done it a few times and always been satisfied. I think I will stick with B&N for my next e reader.

    • Dann Albright
      May 29, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      Local support is a huge bonus—the Nook definitely beats out the Kindle for support. I can see why that would be a definitive deciding factor!

    • Grace
      March 17, 2018 at 3:59 am

      I had good luck with two Nooks and so decided to go with Nook when the Simple Touch failed. Got the Nook originally because it could be used with library books. The Glowlight 3 is a disaster. A major feature for me is downloading from the library. I managed to make that work for a couple of weeks but the Nook will now not open library books although I have tried what I always did and also slavishly followed the steps in the manual. This is why I own a reader so it is largely useless to me. When I emailed for help, I got 'read the manual.' Duh. Like I didn't try that. I hate the thing. I have wasted hours trying to make it work. So I will have to get a Kindle and lose over 100 B&N books I purchased. Feeling a lot of hostility for B&N.

      • Grace
        March 23, 2018 at 7:26 pm

        So got the nook working again by erasing and reloading i.e. back to factory resets. Downloaded library books and two days later while reading one of the books at along hospital wait for a relative, the thing failed again. B&N won't give me my money back for this worthless piece of junk but will replace it. I will try that, but since it is clearly a software problem and a problem with the Glowlight 3 I assume the replacement will be the same piece of junk. Others seem to have the same problem with unstable side loading software.

        Save yourself a lot of aggravation and money and just get a Kindle. B&N will sell me books, but they don't seem to care about my ability to side load library books. When the software fails it basically offers to sell you the book.

  7. Harry Dola
    May 1, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Long-time Nook owner, love the e-ink technology. But be aware, if you ever have an issue with the device or a subscription, B&N Support is terrible. You will call repeatedly, get different answers, and take hours to hopefully find someone who can help. In this age of poor outsourced customer service, B&N is one of the worst.

    • Dann Albright
      May 13, 2017 at 5:41 pm

      I haven't actually experienced Nook customer support myself, but I've heard that. Thanks for chiming in with your experience!

    • Grace
      March 17, 2018 at 4:04 am

      Re Customer Service -- yes the worst. When my Simple touch failed all I could get was some off shore operation reading scripts and their only solution to my issues was to erase and reset. I let them talk me into buying the Glowlight 3 which is a piece of junk for what I want it for and when it failed to sideload library content their customer service was 'read the manual.' I had brand loyalty; this new one is my third Nook. Never again.

  8. Cookie
    April 20, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    Thank you SO much for this review! Definitely helps me with my decision!

    • Dann Albright
      April 22, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      Well now I need to ask which one you decided on. :-)

  9. Colin
    January 9, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Hi. You should also note that the Nook is not easily available to buy outside the USA. My son brought me one back to the UK and while I'm a fan of Nook readers...
    a) the software refuses to allow me to buy books straight from the reader store - I have to buy from Kobo and load them manually.
    b) The only language supported is English - United States.

    These are possibly significant limitations your readers may be interested in. Personally, I feel Barnes and Noble have let their overseas customers down badly and sadly this will be my last Nook.

    • Dann Albright
      January 10, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      That's a good point—thanks for bringing it up. I didn't look into wider availability or how they function outside the US. If I remember correctly, I had my Kindle linked to my UK Amazon account while I lived in the UK, and reconnected it to my US account when I moved back. If anyone else has international experience with these devices, I'd love to hear about it.

  10. thomasammy33
    January 8, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    sHGZDFHJ

  11. Rachel
    January 7, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    I have the best of both with my Nook tablet and the Kindle app. I support real book stores (Barnes and Noble) while having access to Amazon's greater selection, especially in professional literature and textbooks.

    • Diane Rolleri
      January 8, 2017 at 2:31 am

      I too choose to support Barnes and Noble. I had the original Nook and also own the Nook color tablet, HD+ and Samsung Galaxy 4 Nook 10.1. I just purchased the new 7" Nook reader for only $49 that I use only for reading. I love all my Nooks and use them at different times for different things. I have the Kindle app on my tablets, readers and my phone but do not care for the features of the Kindle and only use it if I find a book for less money in their store.

    • Dann Albright
      January 10, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      That's a good solution too, if you're not put off by the backlit screen. That's what gets me; I'll choose the e-ink screen over a tablet screen any day.

  12. Mags D
    January 7, 2017 at 9:49 am

    I don't know anyone with a nook, but plenty of people with Kobo ereaders. I just got a new waterproof Kobo Aura for christmas, and it's a lovely thing.

    • Dann Albright
      January 10, 2017 at 9:11 pm

      I've heard good things about Kobo readers! I've never used one myself, but I'm glad to hear good things. I especially like the waterproof feature. That's fantastic.

  13. Kelsey Tidwell
    January 7, 2017 at 2:30 am

    My wife and I gave our son a Kindle Fire HD 8" Christmas before last and it's one of the most enjoyable things he's ever received. He's quite a "real" book lover and collector, but does like the Kindle for all the portability and convenience features.

    I've used it a time or two, just to see what the experience was all about, but maybe I'm just a dullard... I like using my Android phone or 7" tablet with the Kindle app just as much, if not more. The tablet was definitely much cheaper than the Kindle, and I have what seems to me to be much more functionality.

    But that's why there are choices.?

    • Dann Albright
      January 10, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      I would imagine that your 7" tablet is pretty similar to the Kindle tablet, but I could be wrong. I'm not sure how different it would be from another Android tablet. I'll have to look into that!

  14. Malarkey6
    January 7, 2017 at 1:33 am

    I use an original Nook Simple Touch. I bought it on sale eons ago and I think I paid about $50 for it. The best $50 I've ever spent. It does everything I need an eBook reader to do without all the other "fluff"

    • Dann Albright
      January 18, 2017 at 11:38 pm

      That's great—and one of the best qualities of ereaders is that they seem to continue functioning pretty much forever. If you get one you like, there's rarely a need to upgrade for many years.

  15. Dragon
    January 7, 2017 at 12:38 am

    I bought one of the original nook readers years ago and that is still what I use when I am not on my phone or reading an actual book. Just never felt the need to upgrade

    • Dann Albright
      January 10, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      My wife has a first-edition (or at least very close to first-edition) Kindle, too. Ereaders just have a phenomenally long life!

  16. NjM
    January 6, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Could you please also review the Kindle tablets with this. I still use the Kindle HDX and love it! Thank you!

    • Dann Albright
      January 10, 2017 at 9:09 pm

      That's a great idea! I'll be sure to pass it along to our section editor.

      • Danelle
        November 20, 2017 at 7:57 pm

        Hi, small note. waterproof for 30 Minutes , not seconds. Thanks for review! danny.