Paper book or e-reader?

e-reader vs books When reading there are few things better than holding a physical book. I read the occasional magazine and was never a huge fan of newspapers but a (hardback) book is by far my favorite. Up to this point I have held off the urge to try an e-reader, or specifically a Nook or Kindle. When I travel I default to reading magazines because I don't want to lug a book in my bag. For example, I am currently reading the Steve Jobs biography and it is over 600 pages. The weight isn't as much as an issues as is the thickness with all the other crap I have to bring. I also like the idea that when I am reading around the house my children see that I am reading a physical book and not a device. This has has been reinforced as my son (almost 3 years old) will grab one of his books and sit down next to me and "read" as well. I am  however starting to get pulled toward the direction of an e-reader because I have really started increasing the amount of time I am reading, the ease of having it when I travel and just out of pure tech curiosity.

If one were to buy an "e-reader", which is best?

This decision breaks down into two different segments. The first being a classic e-reader with e-ink that is most like a book, or the new tablets that can double as a reader. In this case that would be a Kindle Fire, or Nook Tablet and even an iPad. I already own an iPad 2 but my children have adopted the device and I don't see it as often. The second decision point is which brand, Kindle or Nook?

Classic e-reader or Tablet?

Being the tech snob that I am, this is not really a tough choice. It is hard not to go for one of the more advanced tablets that have (a few) apps, a browser and integration with the respective content stores (Amazon and Barnes & Noble). The table versions are so cheap that it is hard not to spend the money for the extra features compared to a traditional e-reader. The one feature that might be a concern is the screen. People rave about the e-ink screens being very close to paper and less stress on the eyes.

The comparison of the Nook and Kindle to the iPad seem a bit far fetched. In the reviews, the book store tablets often fall short to the iPad, but when you compare purpose (in this case I want an e-reader), content, and cost, it is not close. Also, Apple's iBook app/store does not have near the list of titles as Kindle or Nook. It is possible to get both the Kindle and Nook stores on the iPad as the services go far beyond their devices.

In the end I am leaning toward the new tablet devices instead of the classic e-reader with e-ink.

Kindle or Nook?

Now that a tablet is the preferred device, there are two options, the Nook Tablet or the Kindle Fire. I read a ton of reviews and would say that overall there is a slight lean toward th Nook. Both tablets have 7-inch screens, a handful of apps and carry many of the same books. The Fire is a slightly smaller package but weighs a bit more. The Nook has twice as much memory and 3 more hours of battery life. The cost are rather close with the Nook at $249 and the Fire at a cool $199.

The Nook is a bit deeper when it comes to hardware but the content available makes all the difference. Overall they are very close but the power of the parent companies are showing opposite directions. Amazon continues to grow, took the e-reader industry mainstream with the original Kindle and is very healthy. On the other side, Barnes & Noble is looking to sell their publishing arm and spin off the Nook business as the company had bigger losses in the fiscal year than anticipated.

While I don't believe that the Nook is going anywhere soon, the recent B&N issues and being a fan of Amazon for years has me leaning toward the industry leader Kindle.

The Winner: Kindle Fire

After all is considered I am leaning toward the Kindle Fire. Based on what I have been reading online I am in the minority. The most common recommendations are iPad, and old school Kindle (with eInk). I have talked to a few friends about the Fire that have one and the conscience is the size is great but overall underwhelming...compared the iPad. One of the Fire owners even returned it because they were so disappointed and got the original Kindle.

Look for a post in the future with an over impression of the Kindle Fire.

image source: apartmenttherapy.com