Nook vs. Kindle – An e-reader smackdown

Whether you’ve got an e-readers at the top of your holiday list, or you’re shopping for one as a gift for someone else like I am, with so many to choose from it can be…well, hard to choose. So we decided to compare two of the hottest e-readers – the Nook and the Kindle – in a good old fashioned mom-moderated smackdown.

We’ve found that comparing these two e-readers, the newest of which both have wi-fi (and 3G for more money), are sort of like comparing apples and oranges; the best choice really depends on your own personal preference and how you’re going to use your e-reader. Both the Nook and the Kindle use e-ink technology which is easy on the eyes. But here’s a quick rundown on what’s cool about each, so you can decide which one is the
perfect one for you.

KindleThe Kindle

It seems like there are a ton of versions of Amazon’s Kindle, with the newest one starting at $139 and even an oversized version now. But even folks with the old version seem very happy with its performance.

You’ll find no shortage (as in, millions and millions) of e-books from Amazon, that you can download right from the website, as well as from other sources. You can also download books, pdfs, whatever, from remote locations, no computer necessary. At least with a special email address. So for a few cents you can send the download from your phone, and it pops up right in your Kindle. So convenient for frequent travelers.

Another benefit to the Kindle is the physical keyboard, which many folks prefer over the touch-screen kind. While both e-readers might take a second or two to respond, at least with the physical keyboard you know you touched it, so it’s less likely that you’ll keep tapping away until you realize that you just moved your book forward about 10 pages accidentally.

And if you have an iPhone and the Kindle app, your books will sync up, so you can read an e-book from your
phone and then start right back where you left off on your Kindle when you’ve got it in hand.

That’s a huge convenience right when you’re on the last chapter of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and you realize you left your Kindle at home.

Nook ColorThe Nook

The nook is Barnes and Nobles’ wi-fi enabled e-reader which features a touch-screen LCD keyboard, and starts at $149 for the black and white version, or $249 for the new Nook color.

Color is phenomenal when you’re reading magazines, or particularly children’s picture books, but be warned that because the screen is backlit, it can be a little tough on the eyes after awhile.

Similar to the Kindle, you’ll have access to over 2 million Nook titles at Barnes & Noble. There have been a few Nook exclusives, but for the most part, the selection is fairly equal.

One benefit that’s exclusive to the Nook: It allows you to borrow books from the library. And if you happen to frequent Barnes & Noble stores, you can browse in person and download books while you’re there, and even score special deals. Last week, our Associate Editor Delilah flashed her Nook at the barista and got a free Frappuccino.

Due to the color display at the bottom of the Nook, even on the black+ white version, the battery life may not be as great as the Kindle. But it definitely is a nice way to view your book covers and browse titles. Just know that you will have to plug your Nook to a computer to download books that aren’t purchased at Barnes & Noble, which can be a bit of an inconvenience if you’re traveling and want something fast. – CMT staff, with contributions from Cool Dad and e-reader expert, Bill Gookin

So tell us – which one do you have and why do you love it?

You can purchase the Kindle onine at our affiliate and the Nook and new Nook Color at Barnes & Noble, or try them both out in person at your local Best Buy, a current CMT sponsor, and compare to see what’s really right for you.

Cool Mom Staff

We spend our time looking for cool stuff so you don't have to. Hope this one fits the bill.


  • Reply December 18, 2010


    I am leading towards the nook bc it has internet access and android. You can access facebook email twitter etc in addition to its being an ereader. Sort of a mini tablet

  • Reply December 19, 2010


    I purchased a nook original (with gift cards) to save money on books. I use my local library for online borrowing and I purchased an out of state membership to the philadelphia free library for $15. Basically I have an unlimited supply on online books, even new releases. Its worked out really week for me. I love reading on the e-ink too, is just like a normal book.

  • Reply December 19, 2010

    Lisa G

    I bought the Nook Color for hubby for Xmas for those same reasons, but also because 1) it uses the ePub format so I can borrow his books on my iPhone, 2) it can access free library content, and 3) there are big plans to add huge amounts of apps for Android in the first half of 2011, which can be purchased for the Nook Color.

  • Reply January 2, 2011


    I’ve got the following: Kindle 2, Kindle 3, Pandigital Novel, and Nook Color.

    Nook Color wins hands-down in my book. My wife uses the Kindle 3, our son now uses my Kindle 2, and I have my Pandigital Novel to my mother. We read.

    There’s no mini-tablet about it. Once rooted, the Nook Color can out perform the Samsung Galaxy Tab. This won’t kill an iPad, but it’s certainly the next best thing at this time, and if you’re looking for a real tablet, you can not beat this price.

  • Reply January 4, 2011


    I’ve had a Kindle for about 18 months now, and I love it. It’s extremely easy to use and is very light (reading one-handed while nursing is SO nice!). I love being able to sit on the beach and change my mind about what to read without having to lug multiple books around. And with the the Kindle App on my iPhone, I can read my book even when I “forgot” it! I love that I don’t have to connect to a computer, ever. Since I live in the middle of nowhere and we don’t have a bookstore, I’ve gotten TONS of use out of it and saved $$ doing so! Do wish I could borrow library books on it, though — hint, hint, Amazon. And the color would be really nice for children’s books.

  • Reply February 17, 2011


    I think I prefer the Kindle. I like having actual buttons to push. Still, there’s something about the newspaper experience that I enjoy.

  • Reply April 23, 2011


    After reading the review here and checking out the poll at, it seems like everyone is gravitating towards the Nook Color. From comments I have read on several blogs, several ereader owners say they would have purchased the Nook color if available when they purchased their unit, while others said they preferred the Nook Color, but could or wouldn’t pay the additional $100.

    I for one, am not convinced whether the color is worth the additional $100.

    Just my $0.02 worth.

  • Reply May 6, 2011


    NOOKColor all the way! I scratch my head at the idea of a ‘book’ requiring a full keyboard.

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