As with every popular gift giving holiday, Kindles, Nooks, and other similar products make tempting gifts. They aren’t cheap enough to be trivial, but they aren’t expensive enough to break the bank for most people. They have all sorts of utility. Most importantly, let’s face it, there is the popular stereotype of one’s parents as technologically behind to the point of being unlikely to have bought one for themselves. Admittedly this doesn’t hold true in many families I know, but it makes a good topic for conversation, right? So, if you’re buying an eReader for the father or fathers in your life, which do you choose?
There are advantages to each option available, perhaps more so now than ever before. The big two, Kindle and Nook, are now so similar following the release of the new Nook that it’s probably more useful to focus on the subtle particulars of each option. Here’s how I would divide them up for potential gift recipients.
This is now the only current generation eReader on the market to come with a 3G connection. It’s a feature that serves a particular purpose, but for those who can make the most use of it this will come in handy. If the father you are giving a gift either travels a lot, does not have access to wireless networks, or simply seems likely to prefer a device that just works anywhere a cell phone will work, this is probably your best option at the moment.
This is what I would consider to be the way to go if you’re having trouble deciding. It’s the best eReader I’ve had the pleasure of using so far. The Kindle WiFi does everything that the Kindle 3G does, it just can’t connect to cellular networks. If the owner has a home wireless network or enough tech savvy to manage their library via the USB cable, it is unlikely they’ll feel the lack. It also has the advantage ofavoiding accidental extreme battery loss when one forgets to kill the wireless connection while reading. I’ve found that the 3G connection tends to waste battery power a lot faster than just the WiFi.
Both of these Kindles are available with Special Offers. Basically, this means that the user will see ads when browsing their library and on the screen when the Kindle is asleep. Normally, I’d say this idea would be a little rude for a gift, but it has some advantages. In addition to the fact that it replaces the impressively unattractive default screensavers, there is a fair chance that some of the ads will be something actually useful. At least once already Amazon has offered a $20 gift card for $10. Sure, it’s an ad that you’re attaching to a gift, but it would also effectively be free money. It isn’t all bad.
The new Nook is the first major touchscreen eReader. There’ve been others, but this is the first on the same level as the Kindle in terms of quality. If the person you’re buying for really likes touchscreen devices, this is a no-brainer. It also ties them to Barnes & Noble rather than Amazon for all their eBook needs. If the father in question is a frequent customer of the brick & mortar chain, this comes with some in-store advantages that they will quite enjoy. Overall very similar to the Kindle offerings with a couple points where it even comes out on top. Definitely something to take a look at.