For someone who likes to think she doesn’t need a lot of material things, I sure like my gadgets. The past few Christmases, I’ve been lucky enough to receive a Nintendo DS, digital camera and a video iPod. While to many people, these aren’t exactly state-of-the-art electronics anymore — more a part of everyday life — I enjoy using them.
And now, as an avid reader, I’m considering getting an e-reader such as Barnes & Noble’s nook or Amazon’s Kindle. It almost seems blasphemous to give up the world of the truly printed word for an electronic device. It’s not quite the same to hold an e-reader, rather than a paperback or hardcover novel. There’s the fun of flipping the pages, finding where you left off when you lose your bookmark, or dog-earing the corners. I always have a book with me when I’m at home, and more often than not, it’s with me while I’m eating a meal — I can’t tell you how many books I own have ketchup or other minor food stains on random pages.
But to someone who’s not really tech-savvy, choosing an e-reader is a bit confusing. So I’ll share my research with you and we’ll figure this out together!
Kindle 3 Overview
The new Amazon Kindle weighs only 8.5 ounces with just the WiFi capability, while the WiFi/3G model comes in at 8.7 ounces. This version is 21% smaller than its predecessor, while keeping the same 6-inch display screen. It uses E-Ink technology, which has excellent contrast properties. With the wireless off, one charge is said to last 30 days; 2-3 weeks with it on. Either way, that’s some fantastic battery life. It also stores up to 3,500 books. You can buy books through the wireless interface and download them within 60 seconds.
Users have access to more than 700,000 books for purchase. There’s also more than 1.8 million free books; many published before 1923, so if you like the classics, it’s a great deal. I also like that you can read newspapers and magazines on it, and can “try out” books before committing to the purchase. The Kindle also has an “experimental” Webkit web browser and PDF readability.
Kindle WiFi: $139
Kindle WiFi/3G: $189
Nook Color Overview
Barnes & Noble’s Nook e-reader is pretty slick — first of all, it comes with a color LCD touchscreen. How useful is that for reading books? It’s not when the text is in black and white. But if you want to read magazines and color newspapers, it’s looks pretty sharp. The screen is larger, at 7 inches, but the weight, at 15.8 ounces, is almost double that of the new Kindle. It comes with WiFi (a 3G version isn’t available) and has an 8GB memory with an SD card expansion slot.
At 8 hours, the Nook Color’s battery life isn’t much to brag about. The backlit display sucks up a lot of energy and can be harder on the eyes than E-Ink displays because of the glare off the glass, which the designers tried to minimize with a laminate layer. The Nook Color also supports ePub, PDF and Word document formats (read-only), and allows the user to play games and listen to music.
B&N boasts a library of 2 million titles, and 1 million free books. I’m unsure whether the free books are part of the 2 million titles bragged about in the advertisements, but I tend to think so (creative license for the ads). I also like that you can lend books to other Nook readers. This feature already available.
Nook Color WiFi: $249
I like the Kindle for my needs, as I don’t see myself reading magazines on my e-reader, especially with a ‘small’ screen. It’s lightweight and at a great price point. You can listen to music on both, but I have an iPod for that. Amazon currently doesn’t charge for the Kindle’s 3G service, but like anything else, that could change at any time. I prefer the wireless since we already have a wireless router set up in our home, and I don’t travel much.
I don’t need it to do anything fancy — I just want to read. While I was resistant to e-readers at first, I’ve come to realize that it’s a pretty ‘green’ device, cutting down on using precious natural resources for actual hardcover and paperback books. Will it be the same experience? Of course not. There’s nothing that can compare to reading a book. But no matter which e-reader I choose, I think I’m going to grow to like it.
Do any of you have e-readers? Which of these two would you recommend?