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Monday, June 6, 2011

Kindle vs Nook (Again)

Welcome to Self-Publishing Central. I hope you have all been well lately.

I haven't written a post on this blog for quite some time. There's a reason for my absence -- I haven't had anything helpful to say. Sorry. I refuse to blog unless I think the message has value.

Well . . . today I do have something to say. It's a redux of the now-aging argument over whether to buy a Kindle or a Nook. I know you've heard all the reasons before. But those reasons applied to the old Nook. There's a brand new one that will ship in time for Father's Day. And in my mind, the new Nook option is a game changer for eReading.

Here's a link you should follow to get a bunch of info on the new Nook, including videos of the New Nook in action. After you read the link, I'll give you my take below.

What's important about the new Nook?

Up till now, the Kindle held two huge advantages over the Nook for readers of "word books," as opposed to books with pictures. If the lighting was even a little bit wonky -- like if a room had windows, or your porch has a sun outside -- the Kindle's e-Ink Pearl screen was far superior to the Nook's backlit display. And the Kindle's battery life (about a month) absolutely annihilated the Nook's mere hours.

With the release of "The All New Nook," these two advantages have evaporated. The Nook will now have an e-Ink Pearl screen with at least as good a resolution as Kindle's. AND it will be a touch screen! Battery life will not only equal the Kindle's, but beat it! B&N claims the Nook can live for up to TWO MONTHS on a charge.

These changes essentially result in the Nook becoming a Kindle with a touch screen. And admit it, you Kindle owners . . . you were poking at your Kindle screen for a good two weeks before you got it through your head that it wasn't going to respond to your advances.

To be honest, if you watch the videos of the New Nook in action (see previous link), the touch screen is not the completely interactive slide, drag, drop and pinch capacitative screens we're used to on our iPads, Androids and tablets. But it will respond to poking. And that's a good thing in my book.

Other features.

The All New Nook has less on-board memory than the Kindle. But it has an SD slot, so you can expand the memory infinitely. And the Nook is not available in a 3G version. But the $139 Kindle isn't 3G either. (You have to pay $189 for the 3G Kindle.) And who really needs to buy their books where they can't get Wi Fi anyway?

Both readers are light, fast and highly readable. Both come with gobs of book available for purchase.

The Kindle will display .mobi and PDF files. The Nook will display ePub and PDF files. EPub is the industry standard format open to everybody. Amazon's .mobi format is proprietary. But will Kindle learn to read ePub soon? Probably.

Kindle will let you browse the web and search with Google. But it's an emergencies-only feature. It's very cumbersome. Nook has no browser, but will let you upload snippets from books to FaceBook directly. Kinda cool.

Bottom line?

I agree with the author of the article referenced above that the Nook and the Kindle are now essentially in a dead heat. No material advantage for either. But that's great for authors!

Up until now, you probably sold most of your eBooks on Kindle. Nook was a distant 2nd. The improved Nook promises to improve B&N's share in the eBook marketplace. This is a positive development for a couple reasons.

1) Amazon needs to have some competition. The free market system works better that way.

2) B&N buyers are used to paying higher prices for books than are their budget-conscious Amazon counterparts. Tapping into this less price-sensitive market should help stabilize and support eBook prices.

3) I expect to see B&N paying more attention to eBooks now that they have a decent black & white reading device. Heck, they may even place some titles on sale -- causing Amazon to follow suit.


Okay. You're an author. What does this development mean for you?

It means that, if at all possible, you need to get your eBooks decently formatted through PubIt and available on B&N immediately! No Smashwords middle man to cut into your royalties. Since PubIt now accepts .html uploads, you can use the same computer file of your book to upload to both Kindle and Nook. There should now be enough sales on B&N to justify the work to publish your book again through PubIt. I don't think that's true with the iBookstore, or Google Books, or Kobo. At least not yet. You can still use Smashwords for those outlets.

Regardless of whether you prefer to read on the Kindle or the Nook, The All New Nook is great news for authors and will substantially boost sales of our books. I promise!

Thanks for stopping in to visit today.