Which Ebook Reader Is Best for You?


Around the world, eBook sales continue to increase at a rapid rate. Because so many of us are turning to digital content, it is more important than ever to make sure your eBook reader meets your needs.

This article will help you decide whether to buy an Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook.

Nook vs. Kindle: Price

Let’s be honest; the majority of all our buying decisions boil down to one thing: price. So, if the cost is a primary concern, which is better, Kindle or Nook? Barnes & Noble (which makes the Nook) and Amazon (which makes the Kindle) offer various models under the same brand name.

The entry-level Kindle is available on Amazon for $99.99, while the midrange Kindle Paperwhite costs $139.99. There’s also the Kindle Paperwhite Signature, retailing for $189.99.

Next in the lineup is the Kindle Oasis, with a starting price of $249.99 for an 8GB device or $279.99 for a 32GB device. The Kindle Scribe, priced at $339.99, is the most expensive of the bunch and allows readers to write or doodle in the margins of their eBooks.

Amazon offers two Kindle options for kids as well. The Amazon Kindle Kids is priced at $119.99, which includes the e-reader as well as a case and a two-year warranty. The second choice for kids is the Kindle Paperwhite Kids, which offers young readers adjustable lighting and waterproof hardware for $159.99.

Unsurprisingly, these devices all have very different spec sheets. We’ll look at them in more detail shortly.

Similarly, there are several Nook products. However, only three of them—the Nook GlowLight 4, Nook GlowLight 4e, and the Nook GlowLight Plus—are true e-readers. The other devices are all Android tablets, akin to Amazon’s Fire tablets. Yes, you can use them to read eBooks, but the brighter screen and shorter battery life make them inappropriate options for committed bookworms.

The Nook GlowLight 4 is available for $149.99, making it slightly more expensive than the Kindle Paperwhite. The Nook GlowLight Plus costs $199.99, making it comparable to the Kindle Paperwhite Signature.

Barnes and Noble’s cheapest e-reader option is the Nook GlowLight 4e which is offered at a price point of $119.99

Nook vs. Kindle: Specs

Given that the two most direct competitors are the GlowLight and the Paperwhite models, let’s analyze how they compare from a specs standpoint.

The GlowLight has a 6-inch screen with a 300dpi resolution, while the Paperwhite offers a 6.8-inch screen with a 300dpi resolution.

The Nook GlowLight is available in an 8GB or 32GB version, depending on if you choose the GlowLight4 or GlowLight 4e. Similarly, the Kindle Paperwhite offers 8GB or 32GB devices, depending on if you get the Paperwhite Signature or not. It’s virtually identical to the original Paperwhite, save for the extra storage.

The other main difference between the two Kindle Paperwhites is that the Signature model has an adaptive front light that adjusts the brightness to your environment and wireless charging. In truth, 8GB should be enough for almost all users, especially considering you can store content in the cloud.

Nook vs. Kindle: Page-Turning Functionality

The most significant difference between Nook and Kindle from a usability perspective is the presence of a physical button on the Nook. When reading with a Nook, you can use the button to turn the pages or tap the screen. When using a Kindle—except for the Kindle Oasis—you swipe on the screen.

Nook vs. Kindle: Water-Resistance

If you worry about wet weather or water-based accidents, set your sights on the Paperwhite models, the Oasis, or the GlowLight Plus. Kindle’s waterproof models are IPX8-rated. You can submerge them for up to one hour in two meters of fresh water or up to 0.25 meters of saltwater for up to three minutes without damaging the tablets.

That’s a massive boon for anyone who likes to read in the bath every night and by a pool or on a beach while on vacation.

The waterproofing details for the GlowLight Plus confirm that the tablet has an IPX7 rating. That allows submersion of up to 3.28 feet of fresh water for a half-hour. However, unlike the Kindle, Barnes & Noble does state that submersion in saltwater or other liquids should be avoided.

Nook vs. Kindle: Screen Size and Resolution

kindle image in hand from unsplash

If you’re the type of person who spends all day reading eBooks, it’s easy to argue that six-inch devices do not provide enough screen real estate.

Fortunately, many of the models covered here surpass that size. You’ll get larger screen sizes with the 7.8-inch Nook GlowLight Plus, the 7-inch Kindle Oasis, the 6.8-inch Kindle Paperwhite models, or the 10.2-inch Kindle Scribe. The Oasis provides a screen resolution of 300ppi and a glare-free front surface for easier reading, like the Kindle Paperwhite.

On the other end of the scale, you might be happier with a lower resolution, especially if you’re only an occasional reader. In that case, you should consider the entry-level Nook GlowLight4e as it has a 212dpi display. The screen size is still 6 inches.

Nook vs. Kindle: Battery Life

The battery life on a Nook and Kindle is so good that it shouldn’t form a meaningful part of your decision. The GlowLight 4, 4e, and GlowLight Plus offer a battery that Barnes and Noble’s claims lasts for weeks on a single charge. Amazon’s Kindle models claim to last for a range of six to ten weeks, depending on model and reader usage.

Amazon says its Kindle Oasis provides six weeks of battery life if a person reads for a half-hour daily, has the screen light setting at 13, and turns off the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections while reading. If you go for either of the Kindle Paperwhite options, they give up to 10 weeks of battery life per charge in the same situation.

Finally, the original Kindle lets you read for up to six weeks on one charge. Amazon does caution, though, that those figures are just estimates. Certain activities, such as listening to audiobooks on any of the Kindle devices, could alter the average battery life.

Nook vs. Kindle: Which Wins Out With Audiobooks?

Audiobooks have experienced rapid growth in popularity over the last few years. If you’re an audiobook addict trying to decide between a Kindle or Nook, the Kindle is the clear winner. All models of Kindle devices support audiobook playback via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

The Nook GlowLight 3 and GlowLight Plus do not allow audiobook playback. It’s worth noting, however, that the other Android-based tablets in the Nook range can download and play them.

Nook vs. Kindle: Supported Ebook Formats

tablet nook and kindle

There are many ebook formats, so compatibility is important.

The Kindle supports JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PDF, EPUB, DOC, TXT, RFT, and HTML. Historically, Kindle devices have supported MOBI and AZW file formats; however, the Send to Kindle feature ended the ability to send MOBI or AZW files to Kindle devices in 2022.

Nook devices support EPUB, PDF, PNG, JPG, BMP, and GIF file formats.

Despite the differences between Kindle and Nook devices, it is possible to read books on both regardless of format if you’re willing to use one of these eBook converters available online.

Nook vs. Kindle: Online Stores

An eBook reader isn’t much use without some eBooks to put on it. While there are many eBook stores worth using, Kindle owners will do most of their shopping in Amazon’s Kindle Books store. Nook users have access to the Nook Books store.

Of the two competing stores, Amazon’s is more extensive and often cheaper. Both Amazon and Barnes & Noble add digital rights management (DRM) protection to their titles.

Nook vs. Kindle: Other Features

nook tablet

The two devices each come with their own array of additional apps and features.

On a Kindle, users can access in-book dictionary definitions, the Word Wise vocabulary builder, and the X-Ray scanner, which allows readers to quickly skim through a book to find references to characters, events, references, and other information.

Nook devices have a night mode to prevent eyestrain and an automated content discovery program called B&N Readouts.

Both products provide a range of usability settings, such as different fonts, text sizes, and a backlight option. As you’d expect, you can also find plenty of third-party accessories, such as cases and sleeves, for both Kindles and Nooks.

Is a Nook or Kindle Better for You?

So, to come full circle, which is the best e-reader for you? In our mind, there’s only one winner: the Amazon Kindle. The Barnes & Noble Nook has some nice touches, but the Amazon Kindle is faster, easier to use, and has access to a larger store. The different Kindle models also mean there’s a device for everyone.

If you want to do more research before purchasing, there are substantially fewer Nook reviews than Kindle ones, and people generally seem happier with their Amazon e-reader purchases.

Of course, you don’t need to use an eBook store to find content. Once you’ve purchased your e-reader of choice, you can download free eBooks online and save a few dollars.

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