I was intrigued to see Barnes and Noble release their new reading-specific nook™ recently. Why? Because their success with the nook color™ seemed to be an exclamation point to me. One which seemed to signal to me and others that they needed to focus their expenditures elsewhere because even though people were loving the idea of the nook™, its feature and offerings, a lot of already-invested Kindle owners (like myself) would not commit to making a switch unless they presented some hard-sell benefits and advantages. I was wrong.
The Kindle 3
When the Kindle 3 came out, I remember I *had to have it* because it was sleek, light and more user friendly than the Kindle 2. Using the Kindle 2 gave me wrist pains … or maybe I should be fair and say that using the Kindle 2 exacerbated my wrist pain brought on by too much computer use. To cut a long story short, it was heavy! While I loved it, it really challenged my particular love of reading in bed.
The Kindle 3 specs are well-known, but I want to list the basic ones here for comparison purposes:
- 6″ e-Ink screen
- 8.5 ounces
- Boasted battery life of 2 months – wireless off
- 7.5″ tall, 4.8″ wide, 0.33″ thick
- 600×800 resolution
- no storage expansion options
- text-to-speech enabled for some books
- WiFi only versions
At the time, these features were an amazing improvement on the previous version.
Kindle owners loved the new location and labeling of the next and previous buttons; plus how much smaller and lighter it was.
We still had complaints about the awkward keyboard, but we still had no recourse for moving our libraries over to the nook™ if we ever wanted to.
So … no sale.
The all-new nook™
This is brand new; it’s less than 6 months old. Let me say right away that it’s unfair to compare these 2 products at this point in time simply on that basis. The Kindle 3 is already more than a year old.
That being said, following are the basic specs for the new nook™:
- 6″ e-Ink touch screen
- 7.5 ounces
- Boasted batter life of 2 months – wireless off
- 6.5″ tall, 5″ wide, 0.5″ thick
- 600×800 resolution
- Expansion slot which accommodates up to a 32GB SD card
- No text-to-speech
I’ll tell you this much from this list of features – the touch screen alone is huge. And I hear a couple of Kindle lovers I know making “I’m thinking of getting a nook™” noises – including myself – based on this feature alone.
It was plenty enough to get me to drive 15 minutes to see, touch and play with it.
My limited play session with the nook™
Like most merchants, Barnes and Noble don’t much like to see people standing around playing with their merchandise for very long. My husband and I got in a good 10 minutes of playing around until we were approached by a staff member asking if we needed some help. (It’s times like these I wish I could get these products to take home and play with thoroughly without being breathed on my sales personnel).
My knee-jerk response of the new nook™ from the perspective of a long-time Kindle owner is simply this: Amazon NEED to better this ASAP unless the whole issue of moving libraries will no longer count as a limiting factor for most people, for too much longer.
The new nook™ is smaller, lighter and way more “hip” than either its predecessor or its competitor. And while it’s still not small enough for a hip or jacket pocket, it is small enough to get into most of today’s vanity handbags. And certainly small enough to stack with your iPad or other books/papers as you travel your day without too much of an inconvenience.
But it’s biggest selling point is that it’s done away with the awkward keyboard without axing the pure reading experience that Kindle-lovers refuse to give up.
The free wifi at all AT&T hotspots and purported free reading at all Barnes and Noble bookstores are happy icing on the cake features – not selling points. Most readers I know sit home, on a beach, or on a park bench reading anyway. And they have all the books they can read in a few days worth all already downloaded and ready to go.
All that said, the new nook is dangerously close to overtaking the Kindle in my opinion. It has all the features I’d ask Amazon to put into my next Kindle and frankly, if I could easily move all my Amazon books with me, I’d be buying me a nook™.