- January 4, 2010
- Posted by: admin
- Category: Blog
“We like to make bookstores more accessible, and make it easier for customers to go online and buy books.” Said Stephen Riggio, Barnes & Noble CEO on the launch of its new e-book reader: Nook. It bears striking resemblance to the Amazon’s Kindle, adding some useful features, but still there are some characteristics that make it a favorite of frequent readers.
Speed is one of the critical areas, where the Nook falls short. The start-up takes almost a minute and 50 sec, from the release of power button till reading, making it clearly incomparable to the start-up of Kindle which last around 3 sec.
Nook’s lively color navigation screen contributes enormously to make its ‘start-up pokiness’ less evident. This provides a full color experience while scrolling through title covers, magazines, newspapers, journals etc. when reading the navigation screen goes off automatically giving a full screen display. However, Kindle is still accompanied by a gray-scale screen with a full sized keyboard (not used most of the time).
The lend-books feature of Nook is for people who are always exchanging and sharing books with friends. It allows for the Nook user to share a book with a friend given that the recipient has the Barnes & Noble e-book reader app. On the other hand, Kindle lacks this but comes along with a text-to-speech feature for people who want to complete their reading while driving or cooking.
It’s a close race with pricing, 3G and Wireless capabilities being basically identical. The only real difference is the color navigation screen, which has been speculated to be slow.
What do you suggest? Who will succeed in the e-reader market? Nook or Kindle. Please provide reasoning as to what would you prefer and why?
Both will lose, unless they open themselves up to more content.
Keep well ~ Shankar
I’m not entirely sure this belongs in the software dev section, but I suppose this debate could be useful.
When you consider something like ebook readers you have to look beyond the technology and consider the complimentary products ie ebooks. Similar to Apple’s iPod and iTunes, where the two rely on each other in order to dominate the market, the company which has the best link up with ebooks is more likely to win.
From my point of view that would be amazon, but possibly that’s because I have never used B&N (I don’t think you can buy from the UK). I believe that Amazon is the heavyweight in terms of online book retailing and the kindle is just an extension of that. On Christmas Day Amazon sold more ebooks books than paper books.
B&N may have a significant online store, but it is still grounded in the historical bookstore paradigm. People buying ebooks are likely to more technologically competent and therefore more likely to be those who use the pure online retailers rather than brick and mortar stores.
Finally, Amazon already has a head start in terms of market share. That doesn’t just disappear overnight.
I have both, as well as the Sony reader. The Sony is superior in appearance and comfort. It’s a beautiful piece of equipment but falls way short in terms of software, content selection and UI. The Kindle has great content but looks and feels like a rattletrap. The Nook looks and feels great, but as previously noted, it’s a bit slow, although not unmanageable. I also read content from both BN and Amazonon my iPhone, which is great but a tad small. If Apple comes out with its rumored tablet reader, it will grab the market, especially if it has a color reading screen and comparable content to the Nook and Kindle. If I had to choose my favorite from the available options today, it would be 1. Nook 2. iPhone 3. Kindle (only because of content. I HATE reading on my Kindle) 4. Sony Reader (only because of lack of content and crappy software.)
I personally don’t get the appeal of these devices. None of them come close to matching the resolution of paper. Call me old fashioned here but I love cracking open a new paperback and reading it on the train (or on the couch). I love computing devices and all that they can do, I just don’t get why people want to read entire books on them.
My personal opinion is that, Kindle has a massive start in terms of market penetration and also available books. This is going to be hard for anyone to break into. Amazon also has an app for the iPhone which enables users to read Kindle e-books on the iPhone.
Lets also not forget the real story here. Amazon is a bookstore (amongst other things) Kindle is just a vehicle for them to sell more books.
In the end, the company that offers the most content at the cheapest price could win out. Furthermore, I think that the technology that will power the winning product is still not ready nor is it out there.
First of all the startup and page transition issues of the nook are solved with a recent update. It’s not an issue with inherent “power” in the hardware.
The nook is much more open and useful with other formats. It is based on the Android operating system and there are strong rumors that it will support 3rd party apps.
Barnes and Noble has more titles and is positioned to have more. They also have integrated the Nook with their retail process. For example, if you visit their store you can look at any of their ebook titles, cover to cover for free as long as you stay in the store.
If you live overseas, some of this might weight toward the kindle which has a global 3G plan. Also Barne and Noble doesn’t have such an international presence
I could have had a Kindle on Xmas day. I elected to get a Nook later (1/15) and I think that was a good choice.
I use both Amazon and Barnes and Noble as a source for books. I was eager to buy my a reader this year since I spend so much time with large electronic documents.
After a lot of research I chose the Kindle DX. I love it. I assume that I represent a specific type of customer. I need the .pdf support. I’ve even bought ebooks online that are in .pdf format but not available through Amazon to read on my Kindle. You lose some of the advanced features like text to speech, but I am so happy not to have to carry volumes of paper around.
Neither will win..
Plain old print books, at least for the time being, will win out…
Both of these are what I would consider fads, expensive ones at that…
They open us up to allowing publishers to try and control content in ways that the music and movies industries are trying to do today.
Retain control, stay with print books – don’t let your control of what you read, how often you re-read it slip away…
I believe that the answer will not be determined by the hardware device; we are going to see many competitors in the device field and there will be a rapid evolution of the devices. I have already seen “no name” digital books for sale at half the price of Kindle or Nook.
The winner will be determined by who builds and operates the best integrated system for buying, managing, sharing etc of books.
I believe that the key question will become “who do you want to buy the book from?” not “:which device are you going to use?”.
For myself I would look at factors such as price, completeness of catalog, what are my rights once I download the book i.e. do I own it in the same way that I own a physical book?
My wife has a Kindle and she loves it; she uses it constantly. Personally, I don’t like that they restrict your purchasing choices. Each store has different stock and B&N won’t allow you to purchase their merchandise with a Kindle, and Amazon.com won’t allow you to purchase with a Sony Reader or the Nook. I understand each store wants you to purchase their particular reader, but monopolization is not the answer; it eliminates competition, and completely goes against a free market system. It doesn’t matter if I use a Toshiba laptop, a Sony laptop, or an Apple Notebook, I can still buy and sell on Ebay, or buy and sell on Amazon.com, or B&N.com, etc. Like a laptop, an e-reader is nothing more than a device. Why am I restricted from purchasing certain content on each one? So long as they continue to stifle my freedom, I’ll stick with paper products. Which is too bad really, because the e-readers really are pretty cool gadgets with serious staying-power potential.
This is not a war, so the issue for a user to worry about is which tools will “lose” and not be supported at some point.
i have been using e-books for reading fiction on a Palm PDA for around 10 years.
i have installed 5 different reading tools on the Palm – 3 get used a lot, and none of the dedicated readers i have looked at support the equivalent.
What seems to be happening is that there are a lot of readers “out there” and they come in 3 basic flavours.
1. tied to a store (and possibly to a DRM copy protection scheme) – Kindle, Nook, the Sony reader.
2. General use dedicated readers – Cybook looks like a good one.
3. Handheld devices that support e-book reading – Palm, blackberry, iPhone. Tend to suffer from mutating into a 3G phone and too small a screen.
This ignores all the not so portable devices – after all how many laptop PCs do not have the Acrobat reader, even if you just need it to read the manual?
I am exaggerating for effect – but most devices fall mainly into 1 category.
But the moaning about the cost of these devices misses the point – e-books can alter how you read.
Some libraries in the US are starting to “loan” e-books.
A lot of the cost of conventional books is publishing, printing and moving paper, and dealing with side effects such as book remaindering – most of that and the economies of scale are not as important with e-books.
This is all ready having some effect – Fictionwise (owned by B&N) gives fairly hefty discounts on their bulk buy scheme, and e-books are significantly cheaper if you dont use the Amazon / B&N direct web sites……
Note fictionwise sell 3 different handheld readers of their own, so B&N are hedging their bets.
In the UK the Waterstones bookshop chain sells the Sony e-readers. They dont insist their e-books go onto a Sony, but they only support 1 format (epub with Adobe DRM).
Baen books in the US launched their own e-book line a long time ago (I was reading their Sci-Fi on a PC before PDAs had enough memory to hold a book).
1 major issue is the “format” wars, complicated by the fact that most big suppliers are hung up on using DRM to prevent copying (or making you buy more than 1 copy if you like the book and change reading device). EPUB might fix this – except that a similar issue crops up for the embedded DRM.
DRM still has the potential to ruin the e-book market, so every manufacturer could get hurt. Just look at how “digital rights management” kicked off copyright avoiding DVD copying…..
Meanwhile “drm removal” tools get moved to new hosting sites every day or 2 and e-book format convertors seem to be proliferating.
Anyhow – the paper book publishers and distributors are all busy buying e-book houses – Amazon got Mobipocket, B&N Fictionwise, and there must be others.
So the publishers think it will take off, want to kill it, or worry about being left behind (or all 3 of course).
But what will make a difference is recognition from all the players that 1 device and 1 book publisher cannot dominate this market – can you see Amazon handling publishing in 100+ languages?
There are a lot of competitive devices with better processors and screens that will be coming onto the scene in the next year. I just saw two mentioned on Engadget and Gizmodo today that should be appearing at CES next week. And I expect publishers will be happy to partner with anybody who looks like they will have viable devices and back-end infrastructure. So unless Amazon and B&N get on the stick with new-and-improved devices, they’re going to get hammered.
As an inveterate reader with thousands of books in the house, I used to think e-readers were a gimmick that would vanish. However, using Stanza on my iPhone for casual reading has completely changed my mind.
Neither will win.
Conventional books are far better, always have been. Primarily because they are un-editable. Virtual illustrators can never replace real ones (though logically they should). The conventional consumer is having a hard time adapting to these devices, they want to flip pages, not press buttons. This is something most tech investors are turning a blind eye too.
We need some kind of software/hardware innovation that leaves jaws open – (like the apple ‘mouse’ in the 80s) to replace books – more screens and buttons just wont cut the mustard here.
Neither……….Apple will with the iSlate!
Of the two, Nook. It supports new media: Audio, Animated GIF, Color Graphics.
Call me a Luddite but I prefer a real book.
Neither will be viable in a year or 3.
you lose a book, you lose one book. you loose one of these and you loose your library.
besides I like being able to flip through pages etc…
just my 3 cents
I would say Kindle, as it has a head start on Nook and is now a very stable product and has the backing of Amazon but it definitely needs to incorporate some of the features from other ebook readers in the market/coming up ones like color display, open wi-fi internet access, open ebook format adoption, lending option (like in nook) etc.
Reading through the answers posted so far, I would have to agree that both of the products that you’ve mentioned have completely missed the boat. Both of these products have been around for a little while and they have practically not appeared on anyone’s horizon or been picked up the buying public.
If you ask me, there is one product that will win this market. This will be the new Apple ‘iSlate’ tablet (providing all the rumors are true). If we think about this, Apple make devices that;
a) work very well, and
b) they are devices that people actually want and have heard about
Roll on the Apple announcement at the end of January