Comparing Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook


Authored by Dave Mallisk in Gadgets
Published on 12-14-2009

Disregarding all marketing hype, the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook, are similar ebook (electronic book) readers. Each lets you purchase and download books, magazines, and newspapers wirelessly. For specific details, see the following PDF documents:

  • Kindle User’s Guide
  • Nook User Guide

You are not limited to buying ebooks through either Amazon for Kindle or through Barnes & Noble for Nook. You can download ebook files (many for free) from various companies to your computer, and then transfer those files through a USB cable to your Kindle or Nook ebook reader. For example:

  • From Project Gutenberg, you can download:
    • Plain text (*.txt) files that you can transfer to your Kindle.
    • EPUB files that you can transfer to your Nook.
  • From Google Books, you can download PDF files that you can transfer to either your Kindle or Nook. Use Advanced Book Search to search for a book or category. Select Public Domain Only, and then repeat the search. After you select a book, you can click on Download to display its menu, and then click on PDF to download the PDF ebook file.

Kindle and Nook Similarities

Kindle and Nook share many similarities, including:

  • Price: Kindle = $259.00, Nook = $259.00
  • Display: Kindle = 6.0″ diagonal, Nook = 6.0″ diagonal
  • Height: Kindle = 8.0″, Nook = 7.7″
  • Width: Kindle = 5.3″, Nook = 4.9″
  • Depth: Kindle = 0.36″, Nook = 0.50″
  • Weight: Kindle = 10.2 ounces, Nook = 11.7 ounces
  • Storage: Kindle = 2.0 GB, Nook = 2.0 GB (expandable)

Kindle and Nook Differences

Kindle and Nook have many differences, including:

  • Nook is not currently (December, 2009) available. If you can order a Kindle, Amazon ships it immediately. However, if you order a Nook, Barnes & Noble will not ship it until approximately January 15, 2010. Barnes & Noble underestimated the demand for Nook. For more information, see New York Times, Technology, Bits.
  • Kindle has a keyboard through which you can select books and enter data. Nook has no keyboard.
  • Nook has a separate, color touchscreen through which you can select books and enter data. Kindle has no touchscreen.
  • Kindle has built-in stereo speakers. Nook has a built-in monophonic speaker.
  • Nook has an internal microSD card slot for expanded storage. You must turn off your Nook completely, remove your Nook’s back cover, and then install the microSD card. Kindle provides no expanded storage.

An Accessory Rip-Off

Neither the Kindle nor the Nook includes a protective cover. If you want an ebook cover, you must buy it as an accessory. Amazon offers a leather cover for the Kindle at $29.95. Barnes & Noble offer various covers for the Nook, starting at $29.95, again in leather. Both companies are too greedy because ebook readers are expensive devices, at least from the viewpoint of working people. Both Kindle and Nook should include free plastic covers. Neither Amazon nor Barnes & Noble would lose much, if any, money because both could still sell fancy, “designer” covers to the ruling class!

Too Few Ebooks

All ebook readers, Kindle, Nook, and others are limited by too few ebooks. Book publishers are hampering the ebook market deliberately. Most big publishing companies directly offer relatively few ebooks. A publisher’s stockholders deserve to make a profit on each book, whether printed or electronic. However, because only the printing and distribution vendors do not benefit from ebooks, publisher’s profits need not vary greatly between printed books and ebooks. For example, let us compare theoretical prices, expenses, and profits for a book published both in print and as an ebook:

  • If the printed book sells for $28.00, 65% of its price covers its printing and distribution expenses, and 30% covers its marketing and administration expenses, the stockholders’ profit is 5%. Therefore, for each printed book, printing and distribution expenses are $18.20, marketing and administration expenses are $8.40, and the stockholders’ profit is $1.40.
  • If the ebook sells for $10.00, and 86% covers its marketing and administration expenses, the stockholders’ profit is 14%. Therefore, for each ebook, marketing and administration expenses are $8.60, and the stockholders’ profit is $1.40.

What is wrong here? Are senior officers at these publishing houses receiving bribes from their printing and distribution vendors?


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