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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
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
There are lots of different ebook formats, 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.
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 and save a few dollars.