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Nook, Kindle, and the e-book war
Can brick-and-mortar giant Barnes and Noble beat Web champion Amazon at the e-reader game?
 

“If you just ordered a Kindle, stop reading now,” said Charlie Sorrel in Wired. Otherwise, Barnes and Noble’s new e-book reader, Nook, will give you a “giant dose of buyer’s remorse.” Not only does the Nook have two screens, one a color touchscreen, it also runs on Google’s Android and has 3G Wi-Fi, an MP3 player, and 2 GB of storage, all for the same $260 as Amazon’s Kindle. It’s wireless book-lending, though, that could make the Nook go “viral.”

The e-book “sharing” feature is certainly “one of Barnes and Noble’s selling points,” said Michelle Richmond in the San Francisco Chronicle. But it’s also why I dislike the Nook. If you can lend out a book ad infinitum, without any added cost, who’s going to buy books? It makes authors like musicians: unable to “protect our intellectual property.”

“Bosh!” said Mitch Ratcliffe in ZDNet. The sharing feature is a “Very Good Thing” for writers. During the 14-day loan period, the e-book owner can’t read the book, so it works like real lending: “the best form of marketing” ever. But other than that, the Nook won’t revolutionize the e-book market, just make it “more interesting.” Right now, I’d put the Kindle and Nook in a “dead heat in competition for customers new to e-readers.”

The Nook “may not be the game-changer that e-book advocates hope,” said Hardy Green in BusinessWeek, but it clearly “raised the standard” set by Amazon. Like the Kindle, though, the Nook is still too expensive—and not “paradigm-shifting” enough—to make the “average commuter” give up “the dog-eared paperback or rumpled newspaper.”

 

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