Let’s Talk NOOK !

January 2, 2012 by · 25 Comments  
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Let’s Talk NOOK ! Recently I wrote an article about the Amazon Kindle (one appropriately if unimaginatively titled Let’s Talk KINDLE !). The crux of my essay was that e-readers are the best thing to hit RV’s since flush toilets.

There are many e-readers available for your purchasing pleasure. One of the most popular rhymes with “book.” Why did I choose to focus on Kindle? Conspiracy theories abound. Am I biased? Have I loaded up our investment portfolio on AMZN? Or am I merely an Amazon fanboy who wears Jeff Bezos pajamas?

Nah. While I may be a bit of an Amazon fanboy, I wrote about Kindle because Amazon is currently KING KONG of the e-reader world. Yes, if recent sales figures are to be believed, Amazon is now perched on a skyscraper high above E-Reader Metropolis with Fay Wray sitting on its lap. Or is that Jeff Bezos in a dress?

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a dress? This is wrong on many levels.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in a dress? This is wrong on many levels.

Anyway, with Kindles selling faster than mouse ears at Disney World, it’s good to be King Kong. But if there’s a pesky swarm of biplanes on the horizon, it’s the Barnes & Noble NOOK.

The author's book on his wife's NOOK.

The author's book on his wife's NOOK.

The Nook is a series of e-reader devices sold by everyone’s favorite brick-and-mortar bookstore behemoth. These range from inexpensive e-ink readers (Nook Simple Touch) to more robust tablets (Nook Color & Nook Tablet). You can buy Nooks online, in 90,000-square-foot bookstores, in shady back alleys, and even in exotic specialty stores like Walmart.

After slugging it out with Amazon, Apple, and Sony for a couple of years, Barnes & Noble has carved out 25% of the e-reader market. I’m not sure whether that share grew or shrank this past retail quarter. But if a Nook tickles your fancy, current market share shouldn’t matter. Nooks are excellent devices and they have garnered a large and dedicated following. In fact, there’s a Nookite in my own family.

NOOK Simple Touch ($99)

NOOK Simple Touch ($99)

About a year ago, my wife was choosing between Kindle and Nook. She chose NOOK. Why?

“I liked that I could check out e-books from our local library on Nook,” she told me, “and it was also easier to lend and borrow books from friends.”

Over the past year, Amazon has made strides by adding these features to Kindle, but her points were well taken. Nook was first to embrace book lending. Amazon arrived late to the party.

“Also,” she added, “I like that Barnes & Noble has real brick-and-mortar bookstores. If I bring my Nook into a store I can read any book for free. Sometimes they offer complementary coffees and that sort of thing to Nook owners.”

A national network of physical bookstores? Free hot beverages? The occasional slice of pumpkin pie? Amazon won’t be adding those benefits anytime soon. Advantage: Nook.

NOOK Tablet ($249)

NOOK Tablet ($249)

Another feature of Nook that appeals to the geek in me is the micro SD card slot. The micro SD slot allows owners to easily expand the memory capacity of their Nooks. The only Kindle with such a slot was the first generation unit that Amazon no longer sells. All of the new Kindles have no memory expansion. (Sometimes I think Jeff Bezos graduated from The Steve Jobs School of Dumbing It Down.)

Along these lines, one exciting development in the world of NOOK was the Nook Color. While its full color backlit touchscreen is not as eye-friendly as e-ink screens, it is fantastic for displaying magazines and children’s books. But the real excitement? Nook Color could be “rooted” and converted into an Android tablet. Thousands of people bought and “rooted” Nook Color to Android so they could check Facebook, play Angry Birds, etc. In a way, these hacked Nook tablets paved the way for the Kindle Fire. Of course, now there’s also a fancy $249 Nook Tablet that offers a few spec sheet upgrades over the Kindle Fire.

The Nook Tablet is a premium color ereader. At $249, it’s half the price of the cheapest Apple iPad. It’s also $50 more than Kindle Fire. But it’s loaded with more memory than the Kindle Fire (1GB of RAM which makes it more speedy), allows for capacity expansion via the micro SD slot (only 1GB reserved for user content, but easily expandable up to 32GB), and an integrated microphone. The idea of the microphone is genius – it allows grandparents to narrate books for their grandchildren.

We could spend all day debating the technical pros and cons of “Nook versus Kindle,” but it strikes me as a “Ford versus Chevy” type of argument. Both camps have their loyal fans. Really, with the exception of the occasional tech failure, I’ve never heard an owner of either device regret their purchasing decision. At the end of the day, either a Nook or a Kindle will get you where you want to go.

You first need to decide exactly what you want to do. In other words, do you mainly want to read books? If so, a true “e ink” device with a black-and-white is what you want. Trust me, these black-and-white readers are fantastic for extended reading sessions. The screens are simply easy on the eyes.

If you want to do Facebook, browse the Web, and so forth, then your choices become more spendy and a little more complex. In a future article we will delve deeper into the pros and cons of ereaders. But there’s one more popular reader that we need to address, and we’ll do that in the next update.

And yes, if you “want to go” check out my little $2.99 ebook about RV camping, it’s available on Nook too.

Only $2.99 and now on NOOK!

Only $2.99 and now on NOOK!

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25 Responses to “Let’s Talk NOOK !”

  1. Neil Cunningham on January 2nd, 2012 12:38 pm

    You can download Kindle books from many local libraries as well. Ours has Nooks and Kindles to check out too. Nice chance to check them out to see if they are your way of reading.

  2. Sean Michael on January 2nd, 2012 4:24 pm

    Yes, Nook was the first to add book lending, but Amazon has done a great job adding these options to Kindle. It’s worth noting that Amazon Prime members can borrow books (albeit from a limited selection of around 6000 titles) at a rate of one book per month.

  3. butterbean carpenter on January 2nd, 2012 6:18 pm

    Howdy Sean,


  4. Fritz Maiser on January 2nd, 2012 6:27 pm

    You can download free kindle apps to your PC, Tablet and smartphone and read your kindle books there too.
    I don’t know if you need to own a kindle to have an account ( I do), but my tablet (samsung galaxy 7″screen) is a better reader than my kindle 3. Wife uses the kindle to play scrabble against the kindle’s Artificial Intelligence [which cheats with weird words not in any dictionary] She beats it all the time anyway!
    So i would recommend the Kindle, or at least to have an account.
    The Kindle 3 is a terrible attempt at trying to be a tablet. the browser function is CRAP.
    I subscribe to a blog by a guy named Michael Gallager [Not sure of the spelling] who sends me daily emails about free stuff for the Kindle. Also lots of useful info about using the Kindle’s various functions. costs about $2 a month to subscribe.

  5. Sheila Allison on January 2nd, 2012 6:32 pm

    I got the Pandigital that has the Kindle App on it. Our Library will have the downloads soon. I hope to download soon so that I can start using it to read.

  6. Dave Fenner on January 2nd, 2012 8:02 pm

    Seems to be one thing overlooked here, the new KindleFire tablet, which serves as a kindle reader, and a tablet computer, that’ll also show the complete collection of Amazon movies, and provide email, and internet web browsing.

  7. frank sobotka on January 3rd, 2012 12:15 am

    Au contraire, mon ami. I have the original Kindle that catapulted sales by showing up on Oprah. It has an SD slot for expansion of memory. Although newer models can be cheaper, the original still has some features that were lost in the subsequent revisions. And, yes, I can down load books from the local lending repository and loan to others, I can also read them on our iPad or laptop. Since B & N are not in the neighborhood, I’ll stick with my ancient, by techie standards, model for now. If I jump anywhere it will probably be to the Fire, which is nice but still can’t compete with the iPad.

  8. Charlotte Petry on January 3rd, 2012 1:05 am

    I was going to write and ask when, or if, you were going to be on the Nook list. I have a NOOK and I LOVE it. I am an avid reader and it is so easy to go RVing with just the one Nook to tote along.

  9. Norm Dressler on January 3rd, 2012 9:07 am

    What about back lighting, memory, cost and popularity with the library systems. I use a laptop and pc for everything else. All i need to do is easily read a book. I’m retired and do a lot of geneology and history research. Which is best, Nook or Kindle. I don’t want something that will be outdated and unuseable in the near future either.

  10. Lois McAtee on January 3rd, 2012 9:30 am

    Ditto Norm Dressler’s question regarding genealogy and history reading…plus…can machines do audible books as that’s my favorite choice of fun reading.

  11. fritz on January 3rd, 2012 9:44 am

    I’ve had my nook for over 3 years and my daughter did some research before it was purchased for me. I learned that the battery in a Kindle has to be replaced at the factory, Nook you can do yourself or at the B&N store. The original SD card will hold about a 1000 books. The old model is under a $100, new. It also has access to over a quarter million books, The alot of them free. Expense could be a big factor in which one you purchase, shop wisely and save your money for a good R.V. trip.

  12. Jon on January 3rd, 2012 11:32 am

    I have had the app on my pc for a long time and love using there. Print is much larger beside why spend the money when your pc can do everything it can and much more. Love reading books on it . Plus you get to shop from home.

  13. Barbara on January 3rd, 2012 1:47 pm

    I have one of the original Kindles, bought right after Oprah’s show about the Kindle. At the time, I read the batteries were hard to get, so I bought two additional new batteries which came months later. I read my Kindle off and on, and have hundreds of books on it, most free. I’m still on the original battery. The other two are in a drawer still in their plastic wrappers. I can replace the battery myself when the time comes, it doesn’t have to go back to the factory. I’ve been completely happy with the Kindle, the immediate download of new books, the battery lifespan, and the ease of reading. The newer readers sound interesting, especially the Kindle Fire and the Nook, but I can’t really justify buying a new one when this old dinosaur is still exactly what I need.

  14. Bill on January 8th, 2012 12:39 pm

    I have neither a Nook or a Kindle but I do have both of their readers on my PC and I have the Kindle App. on my phone. The phone is handy because it is always with me so I can read a little anytime I find yourself with time on my hands. Rather than invest in a reader, I am eagerly waiting the “UltraBook” PC’s that are about to hit the market. With their solid state hard drives and light weight they are almost like a tablet but they actually have a real keyboard that you can really type on instead of trying to use the one on the screen. They promise to be the Windows version of the MacBook Air.

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