Nook and Kindle Comparison: Which One Comes Out on Top?

Since I have two books available in e-book format, with more coming in the near future, I was very interested in this guest article written by Diane Johnson. If you own an e-reader, feel free to chime in the comments and share your experiences with Kindle, Nook, or other e-readers. If you don’t have an e-reader yet but are interested in exploring options, then this article will give you a fabulous start:

There’s been no better time than now to purchase an e-reader. Hardware is cheaper than ever and there have never been so many book titles available. Counting the free library of public domain titles, the numbers reach the millions. But it seems two leaders have clearly emerged in the e-reader race: Barnes and Noble’s Nook and the Amazon Kindle. So to decide between these two top contenders, let’s look at the stats.


• 7-inch Touchscreen, no glare, like-paper
• Color screen on higher end model
• 8-GB of space
• Social features that allow you to borrow, share and recommend books to friends.
• NOOkbook, a personalized shopping feature that recommends books from B&N experts.
• Web features like Facebook, Twitter, Pandora radio, crossword puzzles and Sudoku.
• Most titles cost $9.99 or less and there are lots of free ones.
• Access to 2 million titles.
• 3G and Wifi for $249; Wifi for $149.


• 6-inch Screen
• Up to 4-GB of memory
• Dictionary, highlight and note taking features allow for a closer, more studious reading.
• No glare screen allows for reading in bright light and sun.
• Batter life—lasts up to a whole month.
• Built in Twitter and Facebook for sharing thoughts and passages while you read.
• Read to me—Kindle can read English language content out loud to you.
• Titles average around the $9.99 range, but can get pricier.
• Access to 630,000 titles.
• 3G and Wifi for $189; Wifi for $139.

Feature Comparison
• Battery Life
One concern people always have when it comes to electronics is battery life. Nothing can be more annoying than having to constantly plug in your device. Kindle easily beats out the Nook in this case. Kindle batteries last up to a month; Nook barely lasts half that time. But part of this has to do with Nook’s color, touch screen (only on the $249 model, not the $149 model), which consumes more battery.
• Touchscreen
The Nook sports a wicked touchscreen (available on both models), something the Kindle does not. This makes navigating the Nook much more simple than the Kindle. And the Nook’s screen reads just as well as Kindle’s in any light.
• External Memory
The Nook carries an external slot for nearly unlimited memory space and reads more different types of files than Kindle. As well, the Nook allows you to share entire books with friends on many other devices. The Kindle does not.

Overall I think the external memory storage gives the Nook the edge—it has a better bigger screen, still lasts a really long time, cheaper titles, book-sharing capability, and more apps.

About the author: Diane Johnson graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in political science. When she’s not traveling she enjoys writing articles, reading books, and shopping.

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  1. I know there are lots of other ereaders, but the one I have makes me so happy! I know that Sony isn’t tracking me, can never take away a book I’ve already bought, and can’t track my page turns and location. Sony E-Reader for me.

  2. Linda Wisdom says

    I have a Nook and love it. My husband claims he’s adding “it’s either me or the dog and Nook,” but he knows better. :}

    Yes, it’s very easy to read everywhere and it does go everywhere with me.

    I have the first of my backlist books up as ebooks and so good to see them having a second life on all the ereaders around, especially my Nook dubbed FluffnPuff.

  3. Jeffrey A. Carver says

    I too have a Sony Reader, an earlier model with a built-in light and touchscreen. Some people criticized the model for its slightly reduced contrast, but I like it very much. What I actually read on the most, though, is an old Dell PDA that I picked up on ebay, an Axim x50v, which has a very crisp color display, and which is great for reading in bed in the dark. (By setting the color display and the brightness level, I can read next to my sleeping wife without disturbing her at all with stray light.) Battery life is the main drawback on that one.

    I became a convert to ebook reading when I started putting my own backlist science fiction novels into ebook format–and through test-reading my own, discovered I really liked that way of reading. Lately I’ve joined Stacy and other authors in putting some of those backlist books up myself. Now, there’s an experiment.

  4. Angelique Armae says

    I own a Sony Touch reader (not the newest one, the one that came out just before the current models) and a Nook 3G. I like both – the Nook has a longer battery life and no glare on the book page section. My SONY is great for editing my Word docs (small edits) and can read my Nook books. Both are light enough it doesn’t weigh down your hand, both are easy to use.

    Originally I had a RocketReader. Loved that thing! But it is no longer available so can’t be repaired. It’s also very heavy compared to today’s ereaders.

  5. How funny, I have a Sony Reader also, a Sony Touch. I really like it and appreciate the fact that you can adjust the font size to make the words bigger. It’s a nice-sized screen. I bought it because I’d discovered that you could read Word docs and PDFs on it. When looking to see whether the Kindle or Nook had that capability, I couldn’t readily find that information. So that is a nice feature. I do wish the battery lasted longer (it lasts about 3 weeks for me unless I’m using it more frequently than usual, then it might last about 10 days before getting low.)

    I am intrigued by the Kindle. It would be nice not to have to plug an e-reader in to download books. I also like the Amazon customer forums, where you can often find out about inexpensive Kindle books on various threads. I’m hanging out on all those threads anyway as an author and it would be nice to take advantage of some of those special offers.

    I love my Sony, but a Kindle might be in my future also. I didn’t realize the Nook had so many features, though. This was an informative post.

    Thanks, Kaye, Jeffrey, Linda and Angelique for sharing this valuable information, and I hope others will stop by to share their e-reader experiences also. It really is a tough decision.

  6. Theresa de Valence says

    Kindle does not allow any other publisher’s format on the reader, i.e. they are trying to dominate the market.

    This is bad.


  7. I have the Wi-fi Kindle and love it. I received it as a gift. It’s perfect for reading novels. Battery lasts a long, long time. Screen is easy to read. My friend has a Nook and she let me play with it. I love color, but I’m not a “touch screen” person. I prefer using a button to move up and down or change pages. I would recommend that readers get the Wi-Fi and 3-G Kindle version.

    My co-author and I have two mystery series – one in ebook only format. Please feel free to stop by our website –


  8. My daughter bought me a nook for Christmas and I’m very happy with it. It’s so easy to navigate and find what I want. As far as reading in sunlight by the pool or at the beach, I read in the shade and sleep in the sun.

  9. It depends on what you hope for — Kindles are great but if you want to “borrow” books from a library you will need something other than a Kindle…

  10. I was gifted a Kindle back in October and haven’t put it down. I’ve read more than I have at any other point in my life–so I love it. Bought my daughter one this month and she loves it. Can’t compare it with anything else, because I have nothing to compare it to.

  11. Ellis Vidler says

    I have a Kindle (my choice) and love it. But I’m also happy with Amazon and all the books (including mine) that are available there. The Kindle is easy to use and the screen is easy on the eyes.

  12. Ellis Vidler says

    Here’s a review of the Nook by David Pogue. Let me warn you, it’s not favorable, but if you’re trying to decide between Nook and Kindle, it may help you decide.

  13. Ellis Vidler says

    Geez, my apologies. I didn’t expect to be back so soon, but that review by David Pogue is dated December 2009, and I understand things have improved for both readers since then.

  14. It’s a good point that you can’t borrow books from the library with a Kindle. I have this capability with the Sony though I haven’t tried it out yet. I know that Kindle and Nook both have lending programs though – I just got a newsletter from Nook about it today. It talks about a new web site – here is a quote from the newsletter:

    The way works is that members can list ebooks that they have available to lend out, as well as ebooks that they are looking to borrow from others. If an ebook is a “Lend Me” ebook for the Nook, it may be lent out 1 time for a period of 14 days.
    Before now there was not an easy way to find people who had “Lend Me” Nook books, but now with the eBookLendingLibrary, it becomes an easy

  15. By the way, any iPad users out there? I’m a little sketchy about how that works. I know you can download books from the iPad store, but I’ve heard you can also read Kindle books on it through an app?

  16. I have the new NOOKcolor, which meets my primary need, which is the ability to read in bed at night without turning on a light. I’ve had it about 6 weeks, and I love it. I can turn the brightness all the way down and reading is comfortable. I like being able to change fonts, the background color, and it’s easy to navigate. I’ve downloaded samples, free reads, bought books, and side-loaded content. I used to have an eBookwise (actually I still do) and got hooked on reading in bed without needing any external light source. My husband bought one for himself–he gets the newspaper on it, and his scientific journals as well as books.

    I did a series of my impressions on my blog right after I got it–if you type NOOKcolor into the search box, you should be able to find the posts.
    Terry’s Place:

  17. I have a nook and LOVE it! I love the fact that I can change the font and size, borrow books from the library, share books with friends,listen to relaxing music while reading, download audiobooks, read outside without a problem, LOVE the touch screen!, very easy to navigate, LOVE organizing my books on shelves, SO easy to find what you want…from kids books to cookbooks… books on a shelf for the “Lend Me” books. So easy to get the books you want when away from home…also love the fact that B&N allows you to have a “wish list” makes getting your books all that much easier. Well enough said…LOL You all get my point. I LOVE my nook…

  18. Debbie and Terry, you do make the Nook sound good! That’s a nice feature, to be able to read without turning on a light.

  19. Stacy, With the regular nook you do have to use a book light when reading at night.

    • Thanks for clarifying. The color seems like a nice option, though. I like that the e-readers are starting to come out with color editions as I plan to put my picture book The Flag Keeper out in e-book format soon.

  20. Julie Ortolon says

    I’ve been to Best Buy several times now to compare the Kindle to the Nook and the NookColor. At first, I thought the NookColor was really cool with the touch screen. With it, I could search the Web, check my FB page, read magazines and recipes online. Then I realized — wait a minute, I’m looking for a device so I can read novels, not play on the Internet. Yes, the color screen is neat, but it’s backlit, so it’s like a computer screen.

    After talking to a friend who has both an iPad and Kindle, I realized that for reading novels, the e-Ink technology is better. So, I’m going to get an iPhone to do all the other stuff, and a Kindle or Nook as my reading device.

    The big question now is which one. I actually like the Nook device better than the Kindle. But, as a romance author dealing with Amazon and B&N, I’m growing increasingly frustrated with B&N’s accounting. I’m much more confident that Amazon will properly track my sales and pay me in a timely manner. If I’m going to buy ebooks I want to be sure the author gets paid. For that reason alone, I’m leaning toward the Kindle.

  21. Jeffrey A. Carver says

    I dunno, Julie. B&N will work out their reporting, I’m sure. It’s getting better in small increments. But the reader you buy will be at your side for at least a couple of years, probably. I’d go with the one that feels and looks best to you, the one that you’ll be most comfortable using.

    One caveat with the Kindle (this may be true of the Nook, too; I don’t know) is that what they’ve given you (meaning books) they can take away. I dislike Amazon’s proprietary DRM system even more than I dislike B&N’s and Sony’s. (But I have a bias against all DRM.)

    I guess I just admitted to a bias based on something other than the reader itself, which contradicts what I first said. Ah well. 🙂

  22. I do know what you mean, Julie, about feeling confident with Amazon from an author’s perspective. I’m really pleased with how they handle Kindle sales and the open communication lines they have with authors. They even launched a newsletter for Kindle authors to keep them informed. They really know what they’re doing and they’re always making improvements. It makes me feel a certain loyalty towards them.

  23. Jeffrey A. Carver says

    This is the same Amazon that pulled thousands of writers’ books out of the catalog without warning (including my then-new paperback) because they were having a contract disagreement with Macmillan over ebook terms. For me, the loyalty is more like, “trust, but verify.”

    That said, their digital publishing team has always been really helpful and responsive.

  24. Good point, Jeffrey. I’m sure that left many authors very upset. I recall many authors being stressed about that on my various yahoo lists. Knock on wood, my experience with them has been excellent and I’m pleased with their Author Central feature and how they are now giving authors access to some sales info on their print books. I’ve also found their digital publishing team helpful.

Stacy Juba