When I started writing for this blog, I was on my fourth eReader and had pretty much settled on the Nook as my preference. The Kindle was great, but the shortcomings were just a little bit too much to deal with compared to the Nook. I’ll admit, my perception was better than many when it came to the Barnes & Noble offering since I waited a couple months after it came around and missed out on some of the bugs and general issues, but it was just a better product. That was a while ago now. Two things changed my mind. The Third Generation Kindle and the Nook Color. I have both, out of necessity. The only one that sees any regular use is the obvious.
This isn’t to say that everything I wanted taken care of has been addressed. The current state of the Kindle has a couple small(or large) flaws that people should stay aware of. The most glaring, for me, is the lack of EPUB support. While the MOBI gets things done and it reads just fine, it is based on an outdated standard and can’t really be picked up in many places besides the Amazon.com Kindle Store. Good for Amazon, not really ideal for the users. Even if you respect the motives as a business move, it reduces the appeal.
There’s also the little quirks like the closed screensaver collection, the inability to grab library books(and admittedly that one might be a bigger deal for many people than I’ve found it to be given the recent library eBook craze), limited PDF support, etc. For the most part, however, we’re hoping that these can be addressed through software updates eventually whereas we know that the format issue is just another control on behalf of Amazon. Even acknowledging that, however, with the release of the Kindle 3 we got an improved screen, greatly improved refresh rates, amazing battery life beyond anything coming from anybody in the competition, the neat case with built in light(yeah, it’s fun and I consider it a feature!), all in addition to the existing superior 3G browsing and huge store library.
I don’t want to say for a second that I don’t hope for a Nook comeback. As I’ve mentioned before, if nothing else I consider the competition essential for the improvement of the Kindle and from time to time the Nook has managed to stay a step or two ahead in terms of features. The fact that it’s built on Android, supports EPUB, and comes complete with an impressive local presence that allows users to stop in and read as much of any book as they want while drinking free coffee is enough to keep it in the game. Free coffee is good! All of this would seem to blend together to give B&N the best possible chance, of anybody around at this point besides Amazon, to compete for the lead position. Then they came out with the Nook Color instead of updating their existing device hardware. It’s a neat little budget tablet and all, but it didn’t do it for me as a pure reading device. Maybe next time, when there’s a better screen available. Not saying it’s a bad device, just not ideal for reading in my experience.
It’s all anecdotal, of course, but I know there are some people out there wondering which way to go and whether the Kindle is worth the money. Thought I’d explain my choice and hopefully help you make yours.