I have been thinking about these for some time now.  My Granny has one (an older version, obviously), and my brother consistently refuses to let me “babysit” his while he’s on deployment.  They just weren’t ‘worth it’ to me at $259.

Then, this summer, they introduced the newest version of the contraption, and had a few price wars with Barnes & Noble’s Nook… and the price was $189.  Well, that almost did it for me, but I still didn’t have the $$ to put towards it.  Then, as I waited and watched, they introduced a wi-fi only version for $139.

Now THAT was something I could get behind.  I didn’t care if it had 3G coverage if it could read a book.  And when I got paid for a photography job, I pre-ordered it (they weren’t set to release until late August, and 2 weeks into pre-ordering, they were already ‘out of stock’ and pushing back ship dates).  At this point I’d had more than one person ask me about and encourage me to look into the Nook, so I began to do that, keeping my ‘place in line’ with the Kindle anyways (it wouldn’t charge me until it shipped anyway, and in case I decided to get the Kindle, I’d have less time to wait.).  It was a hard decision!  I went back and forth a few times.  I read reviews at tech-geek blogs, I went to B&N to get my hands on a Nook and ask, “So, what makes this better than Amazon’s Kindle?”  My Nook-desperate cousin bought one and made me borrow it for an evening, certain I’d come to the “right” decision after that.  🙂
Well, from the picture I’m sure you can tell what I settled on.  These are the things that ‘sold me’ on the Kindle:
  1. It’s a lot lighter in weight than the Nook.  Nook is almost half again as heavy as the Kindle, and that was important to me.
  2. I have always used Amazon.com far more than Barnes & Noble, and it is a site/system that I was familiar with and preferred.
  3. While the touch-screen was cool (very, very briefly), I wasn’t willing to trade off 2/3 of battery life for the cool factor.  Kindle can go up to a month between charges, they say.  Nook advertises up to 10 days.  I also found the touch-screen more of a liability than an asset the evening I borrowed my cousin’s Nook.  Everything outside of page-turns required I first ‘wake up’ the touch screen, which was tedious for me.
  4. Kindle was $10 cheaper on the sticker price, but add the fact that sales tax wasn’t an issue with amazon orders I saved more than $20.  THEN I used a $5 gift card earned from swagbucks, and it shipped to me for $134.
  5. The 2-year warranty was $40 for Kindle and $45 for Nook.  Since I was interested in that, it was another price benefit.
  6. I comparison-shopped e-books (from Ambleside Online’s booklists, primarily) and when there was a price difference between B&N and Amazon, Amazon was cheaper on all but one item.
  7. The Kindle sported much faster page-turns than the Nook.
  8. The Kindle has higher screen-contrast than the Nook.
  9. The Kindle now offers ‘collections’ – that is, you can organize (like with files) different categories of books.  I have one for kid lit, Year 1 Ambleside stuff, Year 3, Bibles and Bible Study, etc.
Areas that the Nook prevailed:
  1. Expandable memory.  While Kindle 3 now comes with 4 gigs of memory, Nook has a memory-card slot to make it virtually infinite.
  2. Replaceable battery.  The Kindle can have it’s battery replaced, but you have to return it to the factory, yada yada (the extended warranty does cover a one-time battery replacement, if need be).
  3. It uses the ePub format, which is more common.  Larger libraries sometimes offer digital book ‘loans’ in this format, and other online ebook sellers often use this format as well (so far there’s one book I’m interested in that CBD offers in ePub that I can’t get through Amazon).  However, older ebooks can be converted into a Kindle-friendly format, as long as they don’t have DRM (copy) protection.  This frees up all the free ‘googlebooks.’
  4. It has a ‘loaner’ feature – you can ‘loan’ a book from your Nook to a friend’s Nook for a couple weeks, at which time it magically returns to you.  This was probably the hardest thing to give up.  I hope Amazon will take a hint and do this someday.
Things I LOVE (that are not necessarily Kindle-specific):
  1. I converted my favorite bible study from pdf to Kindle (kindle reads pdf, but interacting with the text is a bit more complicated), and can read, search, and take notes at bible study with one-tenth of the effort that my binder required.  And since I’m now using the same ‘updated version’ as everyone else, my page numbers are spot-on.  It thrills me, too, to see my dear friend’s name as author on one of my kindle books.  It’s not published – yet? – but this makes it feel pretty close. 🙂
  2. I can increase the font size to read in low light while I nurse baby… and make silent, one-handed page turns.  This is huge!  How did the tech-geeks miss THIS one???
  3. I can put the ‘book’ down with one hand, let it flop off the pillow, and it never loses my place.
  4. Organique cannot pull my bookmark out and lose my place.
  5. My mom got one too, on my account, so we ‘share’ (both have access to) whatever either of us purchases.  Since we use the same homeschool plan, this has made tracking down the books a little easier for her, and enables me to help ‘manage’ some of their homeschool things from afar.
I don’t have wi-fi in our home (it’ll kill ya, you know), but using my computer to transfer books into my Kindle couldn’t be easier.  Drag-and-drop, done.  I DO have a mac, so that might simplify things, but my good friend (yes, she got one too.  And she was one who encouraged me to look into Nook.  I’m contagious.) uses her windows machine and doesn’t have any trouble that I’ve heard of. 🙂  
There are more features I didn’t mention, but any review will touch on them (be sure to google reviews of Kindle 3, as that’s the latest unit).  Here are a few reviews to get you going.  Here. Here. Here.  There are also reviews on Amazon, but they’re obviously going to be a little biased. 🙂  Many reviewers also own Nook, or iPad, and can offer their comparisons though.
Do you have an e-reader?  Do you want one?  What is your preference and why?
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