College Applications: Nook Vs. Kindle

Photo by Ethan McElvaney (Demo)

Even though our textbooks are now provided for free with our school tuition, the novelty of reading a book for fun or a PDF from class on your phone is hard to resist. The two most popular apps in this space are Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, so finding out the best fit for your reading style can be very important.

Both apps function very similarly; each one has menus where readers can glance at their entire book collection, discover new stories, create reading lists, and alter the app’s settings.

Kindle and Nook also have libraries that are around the same size, with a quick look on both of their stores showing that Nook has around 4 million books, 1.7 million e-books short of Kindle’s 5.7 million e-books. This gap is shortened by the fact that no one has the time to read that many titles.

The fonts that readers can choose from are also very similar, with Kindle only having slightly more fonts than Nook does. All of these fonts are very similar looking serif and sans serif fonts that are all legible, so this does not majorly impact the reading experience.

This is where the majority of the differences between these two e-reading apps start: minor customization differences that are not necessarily deal-breakers. For example, Nook has 7 page color options whereas Amazon has only 3.

Kindle’s three colors are more readable and aesthetically pleasing whereas some of Nook’s colors pair dark pages with slightly less dark text or lightly colored text with lightly colored pages, but it would be foolish to dismiss either one just because Nook offers orange pages or Kindle’s sepia-tone colors are easier to read.

The more major contrasts start with the speed of these reading apps. In most functions, Nook feels faster and cleaner than Kindle does, with page turns automatically set at a higher speed than Kindle’s page turns.

However, Nook’s speed comes at the cost of features. The easiest issue to notice is the fact that on the Library menu of the Nook app, books do not show how far one gets into the book, whereas Kindle shows this information on every book cover.

The way that Nook’s user interface is structured while one reads a book inherently hides many features that Kindle’s interface makes visible. Kindle’s note-taking feature is one of the first things the reader can see once they press their thumb on the page, yet in Nook, one would have to highlight a line of text to find this anywhere in the app.

Also, the Kindle app has audio book integration thanks to Amazon owning Audible, whereas Nook has no such feature. Another feature Nook lacks is a streaming service for e-books, unlike Kindle which makes thousands of audiobooks and above 1 million e-books available to members through Kindle Unlimited for $9.99 a month according to Amazon.

Lastly, Amazon lets Kindle users transfer PDFs and other document files from anywhere on one’s phone, send documents from a desktop browser via a plugin, or send a document to Kindle via e-mail. Nook only lets users do this by plugging one’s phone into the computer and manually transferring the file, a more inefficient process.

While Barnes & Noble’s Nook is a rather strong reading app, Amazon’s Kindle still comes out as the victor. While one cannot go wrong with either platform, Kindle simply offers more advantages over Nook and with a larger library, Amazon’s offering is hard to beat.

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