Monday, July 4, 2011

Kindle vs Nook Part 1 - Frugal is the New Chic

About two months ago, I was privileged to get an Amazon Kindle e-reader for what basically amounted to free.

You see, Amazon has this nifty Kindle variant called Kindle with Special Offers. It has a slightly lower entry threshold than a regular Kindle--$114 vs $139--with the caveat that you get little advertisements on the screen. Other than that, it's the exact same device.

The ads are only visible as a screen saver and within the menus (thankfully, they do not show up in your books while you're reading) so they're very unobtrusive. But the best part is that the "Special Offers" are for discounts and promotions that are only available if you own this particular Kindle.

Why is this a good thing? Because most of the offers are awesome!

Fifty percent off a $200 gadget is nothing to sneeze at, particularly if it's an electronic gadget I was literally about to buy anyway. So when a friend told me about that Special Offer back in May, the money I saved essentially paid for the Kindle, give or take $14.

Since then I have more than made up for the cost of admission with this bad boy. Among others, there was the $20 Amazon gift card for $10, a $1 MP3 album, the $10 off any video game, the free Amazon HD movie rental ($5 value), and another offer that amounted to buying 1 e-book and getting 2 free.

Granted, some deals (like "get $30 off a Kindle leather case with built-in reading light") are only good because, well, I now have a Kindle. But for the most part, many of the deals have been on stuff my wife and I would be buying regardless. It's like having a digital coupon book, and we all know that frugal is the new chic.

The case I chose for my Kindle has a built-in
light that is perfect for bedtime reading.
As an e-reader, I'm really impressed with the Kindle. It's light-weight, has a wonderfully crisp screen, and is fast and responsive. The case I bought with the built-in light is also great, because one thing I loathed about my Barnes & Noble Nook was the very ugly and unwieldy clip-on light accessory. So reading in bed next to my wife at night is no longer frustrating.

The Kindle is also exceptionally comfortable in my hands, both in size and weight. This gives it a glove-like fit I just can't seem to achieve with the iPad or Nook, and it's probably the reason why, in just a month and a half, I've read 3 rather lengthy books on my Kindle--it's just a pleasure to use.

Amazon seems to have found a nifty niche here by creating discounts and incentives--good ones!--on their own site, and with various corporate sponsors, in order to subsidize the Kindle's entry price. If the ads were all lousy and the offers pathetic, I obviously wouldn't be so enthusiastic. But they're not--they really are a good mix designed to appeal to folks who are inclined to adopt this type of technology already. That could be me, you, your grandma, or your kids. It's very simple to use, and I often find myself checking the Special Offers page just to see if any useful new gems have popped up. I've also heard that Amazon will start to expand and customize the Special Offer experience to make it even more attractive. I almost feel bad for folks who bought a regular Kindle, as they aren't eligible for these little perks.

In short: the Kindle with Special Offers is the colloquial bomb. If you've been wanting an e-reader, this might be the one for you.

"But wait!" you say. "Didn't Barnes & Noble just release a cool new Nook with a touch screen? Is it better than the Kindle?"

Why yes, yes they did. And as a not-always-happy owner of a 1st generation Nook e-reader, I was keen to try out the new Nook Touch to see how it compared to its predecessor, and the Kindle. But that is a story for another post. Check back soon for Kindle vs Nook Part 2 - Dead E-Readers Tell No Tales!


  1. Glad you're enjoying it! I read everything on my iPad now. And I always have enough light.

  2. If the wife didn't have a monopoly on the iPad, I'd probably use that. But I am a fan of the e-readers because of how light they are. The iPad feels so bulky, even compared to my MacBook Air, and especially compared to the Nook Touch (light as a feather, but more on that in my next post). For online newspapers and magazines, tho, iPad all the way. Even the Nook Color feels small by comparison.

  3. I have an accessory business on Amazon and have just introduced a cover with built in light for the Nook Simple Touch. May I post a link? Thanks!

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