- Kindle offers a range of devices at varying price points, with some premium models. Meanwhile, Nook has a more limited range of e-readers.
- The Kindle Paperwhite offers a larger screen with adaptive front light and wireless charging, while the Nook GlowLight has a 6-inch screen with two storage options.
- Kindles tend to have a longer battery life and support audiobook playback, while the Nook GlowLight Plus allows audiobook playback, but other Nook models do not.
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. But should you choose an Amazon Kindle or a Barnes & Noble Nook reader? We compare the two brands to help you choose.
Nook vs. Kindle: Price
Let’s be honest; the majority of all our buying decisions boil down to one thing: price. So, which brand is the most affordable? Barnes & Noble (which makes the Nook) and Amazon (which makes the Kindle) offer various models under the same brand name.
Amazon offers different devices at varying price points:
- Kindle: From $99.99
- Kindle Paperwhite: From $139.99
- Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition: From $189.99
- Kindle Oasis: From $249.99
- Kindle Scribe: From $339.99
The Kindle serves as Amazon’s most affordable base model with basic features and 4 LEDs. The Kindle Paperwhite offer users a larger display with 17 LEDs and a waterproof design. The Signature Edition differentiates itself from the Paperwhite by featuring auto-adjusting lighting and wireless charging.
Amazon offers customers more features through the Kindle Oasis and the Kindle Scribe. The Oasis allows Kindle users to enjoy 25 LEDs, automatic page rotation, and physical page turn buttons, all in a waterproof device.
In contrast, the Kindle Scribe, which is not waterproof, is ideal for those who wish to write or doodle in the margins of their eBooks. A battery-free pen is also included in the purchase price.
For families, it is important to note that Amazon also offers two Kindle options for kids. 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.
Similarly, there are several Nook products at different price points. However, only three of them—the Nook GlowLight 4, Nook GlowLight 4e, and the Nook GlowLight 4 Plus—are true e-readers.
The other devices are all Android tablets, akin to Amazon’s Fire tablets. You can use them to read eBooks, but the brighter screen and shorter battery life make them less optimal options for committed bookworms.
Barnes and Noble’s e-readers are available at the following price points:
- Nook GlowLight 4e: $99.99
- Nook GlowLight 4: $149.99
- Nook GlowLight 4 Plus: $199.99
So, in terms of pricing, the brands are very similar depending on the exact device you choose. However, some Kindle products are priced much higher than Nook products.
Nook vs. Kindle: Specifications
Given that the two most direct competitors are the Nook GlowLight and the Kindle 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 whether 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 very similar 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. It also has 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.
This physical button addition allows for Nooks to not only turn by page but also chapter jump. This can be done by pressing one of the page-turning buttons twice. This feature, which is not available on the Kindle, could be an unexpected benefit for Nook users.
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, 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
If you’re the type of person who spends all day reading eBooks, it’s easy to argue that 6-inch devices, such as the Nook GlowLight 4 and GlowLight 4e, 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. All Kindle devices provide a screen resolution of 300ppi and a glare-free front surface for easier reading.
At 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 and has an affordable price.
The design of the Nook includes a thicker border around the usable portion of the screen. For those who prefer a slimmer appearance, the Kindle or one of the Kindle Paperwhites may be a better option.
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 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.
For practical usage, the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite seems to provide a slightly longer charge than its Nook counterpart.
Nook vs. Kindle: 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 4 and GlowLight 4e do not allow audiobook playback. However, the Nook GlowLight Plus 4 comes equipped with both Bluetooth and a headphone jack that allow you to listen to audiobooks.
Nook vs. Kindle: Supported Ebook Formats
There are many ebook formats, so compatibility is important.
The Kindle supports AZW3, AZW, JPEG, GIF, PNG, PDF, DOCX, TXT, and HTML DOC. It also supports Audible’s audio format, AAX.
Nook devices support EPUB, PNG, JPG, GIF, BMP, and PDF 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: eBook Catalog
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 from Barnes & Noble.
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.
For readers of traditionally published content, the Nook is a good choice. However, if you would like access to more self-published or lesser-known author’s works, an Amazon device is the best choice.
Nook vs. Kindle: Other Features
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.
Kindles supports a connection with the Libby library app, which allows users to borrow eBooks from their local library and download them directly to their e-reader.
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 a 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 good 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, or connect with your local library and save a few dollars.