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Kindle v. Nook v. Skiff: They All Are Going To Lead Me To Spending More Money

Kindle v. Nook v. Skiff: They All Are Going To Lead Me To Spending More Money

Kindle 2

I’ve been thinking about getting a Kindle (or something like it) lately. To be honest, it has nothing to do with the technology and everything to do with the desire to be able to have books without going to a book store or waiting a few days for a book to get here from Amazon. I have always read a lot, and really the only thing that changes is what I’m reading. For the past year or so, it’s mostly been blogs, but I’m kind of in an anti-blog phase right now, irony and all, and I’ve been wanting to get back into reading books more often. The problem is, I’ll read about a book and I want to start reading it right then, this is what the internet has done to me, created this insatiable desire to consume content and a ridiculous impatience for the manner in which that content is relayed to me. Honestly, sometimes I’m only reading blogs because they are quicker and easier than dealing with a book.

Yes, I realize I am a blogger. Nevertheless.

So basically, what I want is a way of getting something to read NOW, not two days from now when it arrives from Amazon (or ten days, if I buy the cheaper used version), and not after braving the ninth circle of hell that is Barnes and Noble in order to find it. The last time I was on a plane, I remember being told to shut off my iPhone before takeoff even though it has an airplane mode and I don’t see how it would interfere with their precious flying instruments. And facing the two upcoming trips I have on the horizon (both to Texas, incidentally, where I’ve never been and am a little nervous about going), I want to be able to have something to read that doesn’t require me taking a four hundred pound bag full of magazines on the plane.

So the question is: Kindle or Nook or Skiff? The reality is, I’ll buy a Kindle because it’s the closest thing to ubiquity that is available. With ubiquity comes ease, and I am lazy: iTunes is only the best because it’s what everyone uses. As is the case with the iPod/iTunes arrangements, there will no doubt be some annoying things about Amazon and Kindle, particularly concerning proprietary stuff, and I’m sure I’ll complain at length about these things later. But they have the most connections, the most availability, and the most users, and with that comes power. With that comes the best chance for being able to get a Kindle version of the book I want, when I want it, with the least amount of friction. As I’ve been trying things out on my iPhone with the Kindle application, I’m finding that I’m reading more, wanting to read more, and excited at the prospect of all the books I can now read with such ease. That means I’m going to be reading more books, which means more money for the publishing industry, that means more money I’m going to spend (unfortunately), and that means good things for Amazon. Publishing ompanies, authors, and other content-creators and managers need to get on this digital train sooner rather than later, if you ask me. There’s a fortune to be made.

Comments (16)

  1. I’m still having a hard time making the transition to the e-book exchange. I have a very strong attachment to holding a book, flipping through the pages, even having the smell of the paper around me I can’t explain it. But I think at some point I’m going to have to make this leap, because it does seem like it’s how things are going & the ease of downloading a book is highly valuable to people.

  2. Jan 13, 2010

    I’m living this daily in my real-world life–I work for a smallish publisher who is owned by a giant company and it is THE thing that is driving our company right now. I think publishers are still trying to figure out the new digital world, (and are losing money hand over fist while they figure it out) but they all know it’s got to be a part of their future. I know there are a lot of things on the horizon that could make this happen faster–rumors of the Apple tablet, some applications that allow for color and pretty formatting instead of just b/w text, true interactivity w/in text, etc–but it’s consumers like you who at the end of the day are going to be driving the market.
    My only problem with the current marketplace (be it Kindle/Amazon, or Nook/BN) is that you buy one device and can only buy books through that retailer, and can’t share between devices (the Kindle app on the iphone is the only workaround that I know of for that). That seems crappy to me as a consumer.

  3. Jan 13, 2010

    I just got a Kindle for Christmas. I was sort of anti electronic reader—until this showed up on my doorstep. I hate to admit it, but I love it. It’s easy to use, Amazon makes it idiot-proof to buy and download books, they have a larger selection than the other readers, the books considerably cheaper to download than paper versions, and I can read my crappy, cheesy chick lit in public without anyone knowing! I can be sitting in Starbucks, finish a book and immediately have another one to read. I do wish you could share between devices because my husband and I like to read some of the same things (except the chick lit, of course), but other than that, I love it.

  4. Jan 13, 2010

    Beth, I was too. Then I started reading this book on my iPhone and I’m liking it a lot more than I thought I would. I like how you don’t always have to shift position to accommodate the book like you do with paper books. I also like the immediacy. I don’t think it will replace paper books altogether but it will be good for quick access, etc. Books will become more like artifacts for specific purposes, or memorabilia. Like how you can still buy vinyl some places, and some people prefer that. Like a niche market. This is my theory, anyway.

  5. Jan 13, 2010

    Ginger, yes they’re going to have to work it out with the multiple devices, etc., and working out deals between different publishers. It’s like with watching movies straight through my DVR, they need to just get over themselves and band together, or else the person with the most money/power/already-built-infrastructure will win. This is really the only reason I chose Kindle: they have done the most so far, so if anyone is going to take over the market like the iPhone did for eReaders, I think it will be Kindle. Future versions will probably have better graphics, etc., but it’s going to be like with iPhone/iPod: you use the hardware for a few years or so and then upgrade anyway.

  6. Jan 13, 2010

    Mo, this is exactly how I felt reading on the iPhone this week, and I cannot wait until my Kindle gets here because I’m sure I’m going to like it even more with the e-Ink screen. The only thing I don’t like about the iPhone version is the brightness of it, I really thing that’s more difficult on your eyes than other stuff. But yeah, I was pretty against this whole idea but I’m discovering I like it a lot more than I thought I would.

  7. Jan 14, 2010

    Actually, you can buy books for nook from a variety of different retailers, including Kobo, eReader, and Fictionwise. It supports the open ePub format, as do most of the non-Amazon readers.

    Amazon will continue to use proprietary formats and DRM conventions until the market opens wider. There are some solid competitors on the horizon. Interesting times ahead.

    Good luck with your eReader choices.

  8. Jan 14, 2010

    I admit that I am often the only person who feels this way, but why not the library? I love the library. They have more wonderful books than I will ever, ever read and they are all free. They want to give me the books. For free.

    It’s so weird to me that in this whole Kindle-or-not discussion that seems to be happening all around me, people forget that there is an option that doesn’t charge you a bloody thing to read books. Good books. And it works! And it’s pretty instant gratification! (Okay, not if you are the type who must read something the day it comes out, but otherwise…)

    It’s just so perplexing.

  9. Jan 14, 2010

    I think e-readers are so damned cool, especially for traveling. My husband and I flew from Canada to Tanzania last spring, and he actually got searched several times because there were so many books crammed into his backpack that the X-ray machines couldn’t see through it. Would have been so much more convenient – and easier on our backs! – if we’d had a couple of e-readers.

    That being said, I’m suspicious of the Kindle. Apparently after you purchase and download a book, Amazon still has the power to reach into your Kindle and yank it back out. I read a news article a while back about a certain book – I believe it was an Edgar Allen Poe collection – that spontaneously disappeared from everybody’s Kindles because Amazon had had some sort of copyright problem with it. Not sure if the people got refunds or not. That kind of thing makes me nervous and makes me determined not to buy a Kindle, no matter how much more convenient it is than the other models.

  10. Jan 14, 2010

    That’s a really good question. There is only one good explanation that I can think of: when I want a book that is new I cannot tolerate the waiting list thing. I am very impatient. If I were better with my frugal efforts I would get over this, but it hasn’t happened yet, unfortunately.

    I’m really not sure why I’ve never liked libraries. There is some issue with “ownership” or something, or being able to get comfortable in bed. I read in bed, and quality paperbacks are better for that, which you cannot get at libraries. I thought ereaders wouldn’t be good for bed reading but as it turns out they are BETTER than quality paperbacks.

    I’m going to go now because I’m starting to sound like a freak.

  11. Jan 14, 2010

    Amanda, yes the whole yanking the book back thing does sound a little disturbing to me. That was a big PR mistake on their parts to do that, and I actually thought that it was Orwell’s 1984 that they did it with, but maybe I’m just making it better in my head by thinking that was the book. But the traveling issue and the anti-clutter thing is a big reason I’m excited about my Kindle (it’s coming today! yay!). Some people like to have lots of books around them — I used to be that way, but not anymore. After graduate school, I’m done with having tons of books collecting dust in my house.

  12. Jan 14, 2010

    No, no. I get it…somewhat. I just read so much that I can’t justify the endless shelling out of money for books that I’m only going to read once, whether that reading be from paper or an electronic device. And I hardly ever am impatient to read something. I’m happy to be on a waiting list, because there’s thousands of other books waiting for me to read them in the meantime.

    I just love libraries so much that I find it perplexing that they never come up as an option in this discussion. So I thought I’d raise it as an option.

  13. julianne
    Jan 15, 2010

    I’ve read a few books using Kindle for iPhone and found it to be pretty handy, especially because I don’t need a nightlight in the middle of the night when i often have bouts of insomnia. Speaking of e-readers and Apple, I wouldn’t commit to anything until Apple makes it’s big announcement later this month. Rumors are that it will be some sort of tablet.

  14. Jan 16, 2010

    Anna-
    I’ve had my Kindle since August and absolutely would recommend it. There are many sources for books besides Amazon, but that’s where you have to go for current, bestseller kind of stuff. Kindle 2 software was recently updated so it can even read PDF docs, but you have no control over font size, it shows a page at a time. If I use the side orientation, then they are readable.
    Many ebook sites offer versions in Kindle format, and all the public domain books are available at Project Gutenberg as well.
    It is especially good for traveling.

  15. Snakey
    Jan 18, 2010

    Kindle slut here! My delicious sister got me the original version… I wouldn’t have paid for it at the initial cost. I love it. I love it that I can fold the cover and the thing stays at the right upright so I can read while I’m in bed, even if I’m on my belly (yes, reading marathons zap your arm strength). I love that I can finish a book at 3am and start on the sequel, with the new book downloading while I go on a pee break. I like it that I could use the rudimentary web browser/email at the airport, when the supposedly free Boingo/Google wifi connection was not actually working and my laptop reverted to dead weight. And I love it that I can download classics for free and have them with me like a proverbial security blanket that fits in a jacket pocket. And you can download bunches of other stuff free, and some of it is crap (so delete it) and some of it is decent (so buy the author’s sequel). Love the battery life. Love that I can clip on a LED light to it and function (some people criticize it because it’s not back-lit). I love that I can adjust the text size and read sans contact lenses. I love that I can guiltlessly read crappy books not worth the paper they would have been printed on.

    I can’t give you any comparison to other devices. If I am doing serious work/writing and using a book reference, I’d want the physical book there because nothing beats a book festooned with post-its or scraps of paper, leading you to what you need (it would suck to try to do this with a kindle, search or no search, and even searching a pdf on a full-screen can be annoying). But for personal/entertainment type of reading, it’s sweet.

    And ditto re: mythical Apple tablet announcement. Wait for that, if nothing else, it may drive a drop in kindle prices.

    And if memory serves, yes, Amazon restored the books they yanked from individual kindles. I’ve heard speculation on a “lending library” option where someone you know can borrow books you’ve purchased, but don’t know if that’s coming or is just a dream. You can still send yourself pdfs to your kindle acct., I doubt they monitor that (again, if memory serves, what they yanked was downloaded through the usual amazon store channels?).

    My focus now is to kindle away and only buy print for books for the pretty pictures or because they are some sort of serious reference or manual. Mentally, it’ s a little like going through your closet and getting rid of everything that doesn’t fit perfectly or looks great.

  16. Aug 10, 2010

    I just bought a Captivate and one of the first apps I downloaded was the Nook for Android. I can already see I’m going to be spending some serious cash there.

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