I own the iPad and I love reading books on the iPad. E-books are a big thing for me especially when the iPad is around. It is the most dominant form of usage when I’m using the iPad.
I mainly use the Amazon Kindle to buy and read my books. Currently I have a lot of books in my collection on the Amazon Kindle. Lately however, I have started using the Nook as well. I have 2 books that I bought through the BN store. Here, I will compare the differences between these two apps that kinds of services they offer within the app itself.
Visual presentation of the E-books.
Kindle offers a very minimalistic presentation of the texts within the E-book. There are very limited settings in which you can choose to change the way the texts are presented. You can choose to read behind a white background, a sepia background or a black background with white fonts. You can change the overall brightness level that would overwrite the brightness level of the iPad at least while the app is active and when you are reading. This is convenient so that you can set the brightness setting on the go without leaving the app for optimal reading. There are several font sizes you can choose from as well. However that is all the features that they have. For the Amazon Kindle, that is basically it when it comes to changing how the text are presented to you while reading.
Nook is vastly more versatile. Aside from the usual settings that you can change just like the Amazon Kindle, you have a greater range of background colors to choose from while reading the text. You can even change the fonts that is presented so that you get to choose the fonts that is most comfortable for you while reading. In Amazon Kindle, you are stuck with one font and one font only. That can get a little boring at times, since its like reading a book from the same publisher using the same printing press or machine to make the books. In Nook, you can change constantly and it keeps that presentation of the books fresh. You can even change the spacing between the lines. Some prefer to have more spacing for easier reading, while others like to cram the lines together so that they may not have to go to the next page often. Justification can also be adjusted for personal preferences. This versatility makes the Nook an attractive e-book reader for the iPad.
Stability and Speed of App
Kindle is a fast app. All the books are there and ready to read when you open the app. Opening the books themselves are blazingly fast with little to no load times at all. When jumping from a certain area within the book, its super fast as well. I have yet to experience any crashes from the app itself. When browsing the book by “authors”, scrolling through the list is fast and smooth.
Nook is also fast. However, when opening a book, there is a longer loading time compared to the Amazon Kindle. When jumping to another section of a book, a loading sign is also present. But these are minor and they are not that long to be consciously aware that you are waiting for half a minute or so. Initially I had a few problems with the Nook App. It crashes occasionally, but after several updates, I think the Nook is as stable as the Amazon Kindle. Both Nook and Amazon page turnings are smooth and super fast.
Amazon has a number of social features that I particular enjoy. Firstly, Amazon Kindle has several social features; that is the ability to share certain passages and quotes from the books to your twitter or facebook account. And its really easy. Just tag your facebook or twitter account to the Amazon Kindle. When you have a quote, sentence or passage to share while reading, simply highlight that section and click “share”. That passage will appear on your facebook wall or twitter account. It allows your friends to know what you are reading and the ability for you to share memorable passages from your favorite books that you are currently reading. Secondly if you don’t wish to share, you can highlight sections of the book, and these highlighted portions are saved in the Cloud for future references. This ensures that all your highlights are properly stored for later access wherever you are 24/7. Thirdly, speaking of Cloud, Amazon Kindle has a couple of web-based features for you to enjoy while reading. For one, you can go to https://kindle.amazon.com/your_reading. This keeps track of all your kindle books, your progress in your reading, your reviews, your ratings and even the highlighted sections of the books that you made. It even has a few features that would aid in remembering the things that you read by giving you snippets in the book for recall and memory, so that the things you read are not easily forgotten.
Amazon also has a web-based and offline reading. You simply need a browser, go to www.read.amazon.com, log in to your Amazon account and you will have access to all your books in your collection. This is especially useful if you are using a laptop or other public computer terminal and you wish to read your books anyway at anytime. All you need is a simple internet access and you can read it immediately from any computer.
Nook is very sparse in this department, which is unfortunate, since implementing all these that Amazon already has, would really bring the reading experience to a whole new level. Apart from the usual dictionary lookup, note-taking and highlighting of certain passages of interests from within the book, there is no way for you to share what you have read. I hope that Nook would improve on this department.
Ease of Purchase and Price of E-Books
It appears that if you are living outside US shores, you are (by right) unable to purchase kindle books. It seems that you need both a US account with US credit card and address to buy Kindle books. However, due to some fluke, I had no problems using my local credit card. All I have to do is to have a valid US address, and it will recognize that I am living in USA. Buying Kindle books are region specific, but due to some fortunate circumstances, I have been spared from this geographical barrier when it comes to buying books from them.
Price wise, I think that Kindle and Nook E-books are largely the same. The price are mostly set by the publisher themselves and there is very little control from Barnes&Nobles or Amazon to compete for a better pricing structure when it comes to E-books. However, I do notice that Amazon may have a better advantage when setting prices. If the time is right you might be able to get discounts on special occasions for special books that Nook may not have the privilege of doing so. So sometimes, a little research helps, if costs are a concern for you.
I did not have much luck with Nook. Despite entering a US address, I couldn’t buy books from them as they recognise my IP address as non-US based. However, using a simple VPN bypass, such as Hotspot Shield, which is a free VPN service, would then allow me to buy the books with my local credit card without and hitches. An additional step in purchasing those books from the store, but is a non-issue in my opinion.
I must admit that I have very little time spent on the Nook, and facts presented here may be bias a little or a little inaccurate. Nonetheless, any new insights or developments through the use of those apps will be addressed as and when I see fit to address them. These are at based just my personal opinions on two excellent but very different reading apps on the iPad.