For Christmas I got a Nook Simple Touch. Now that I've had both a Nook and a Kindle for a few months, I thought it would be useful to compare them. It's not quite like comparing apples to apples, as my Kindle is over a year old (yet weirdly seems like I've had it forever) and is not a touch screen like the Nook is.
It may seem shallow to start with a cover as a selling point, but for me the covers of eReaders really add or subtract to the experience of reading on them. They help me to feel as if I'm reading a paper book, and that's important.
The Kindle covers are awesome--sturdy, comfortable to hold, and very nice-looking. I've had the same Kindle cover for over a year and it looks as nice as the first day I bought it, and I definitely haven't been light-handed with it.
The Nook covers, on the other hand, SUCK. There are lots of choices, but the vast majority of those choices are either ugly or boring. I chose the "Charm" cover, above, because it was one of the few I thought was pretty. It cost $60, which is comparable to the Kindle cover I own; unlike the Kindle cover, however, this one is very cheaply made (the fabric started bubbling up a week after I bought it), flimsy, and not comfortable to hold. You fail me, Barnes & Noble.
With eReaders there's a "flash," or what I like to call the Etch-a-sketch effect. It's a flash of black between turning pages or changing screens before all the words and images reform the way they're supposed to be. Sometimes there's also an afterimage of the previous page or screen saver that appears; this goes away after you change the screen (or should).
The Nook definitely has a shorter flash than the Kindle, and the images are much sharper, so that's a definite plus. Keep in mind I don't know if this would be the case with a new Kindle, and when I'm reading I don't don't notice the flash that much, anyway.
Touch Screen vs Buttons
The main reason I wanted a Nook in the first place was because it had a touch screen. "How convenient!" I thought to myself. I love making notes on Kindle, but the tiny little buttons drive me crazy, and it's a pain to add things like question marks and apostrophes (you all know I hate me some dropped apostrophes). I also thought a Nook would be preferable over a touch-screen Kindle because there are side buttons to turn the page, so I don't HAVE to touch the screen if I have jam on my fingers or something.
The reality is, touch screens are a pain in the ass (unless it's a good touch screen, and only iPad has that right now). The Nook screen is extremely sensitive, but not accurate; I have to fight with it every time I want to highlight anything, as it never seems to follow my fingers. As for the side buttons on the Nook that I wanted, it take a lot of effort to press them, and my thumbs quickly become fatigued. The side buttons on the Kindle are sooo much better.
Ease of Sideloading/Uploading
One of the things I love about Kindle is that I can buy books from my device, or from the webbernets, and immediately have them on my Kindle to read. I can also delete or archive books directly from my Kindle. It's so easy you never even have to think about it.
I wasn't expecting things to be any different with Nook, but they are. For one, it's a bitch trying to get it to connect to our wifi at home. Turns out since December 2011, Nook devices aren't compatible with wireless routers from certain companies. HOW. CONVENIENT. What, shall I traipse over to the nearest Barnes & Noble just to download my effing books? Come on! (My mom's reaction to this news: "I'm done with them." I have to echo that sentiment.)
Plus, I can e-mail myself files to read on Kindle. You can't do that with Nook. Since I download a lot of files from Project Gutenberg and other sites, it seems like I have to sideload onto my Nook a lot--much more than with Kindle. I also can't delete those files from the Nook once I'm done with them; I have to plug it in and delete them from my computer. Another inconvenience, if minor.
Of course, a plus point in Nook's favor is that it allows more formats than Kindle, including the beloved ePub. I was excited by that as well. But you know... with Calibre and de-DRM programs, it's pretty simple to reformat ePubs for my Kindle. Turning mobi files from Amazon into ePubs, on the other hand, is something I haven't puzzled out yet (if someone has any clue, please feel free to share--keep in mind I have a Mac). I've found myself thinking, "Good thing I have a Kindle," a lot lately. Number of times I've thought "Good thing I have a Nook" so far: zero.
Do I like my Nook? Yes, I like certain things about it. And I'm happy to have two eReaders so I have two options to read books on (as well as being grateful and aware that I'm very technology-spoiled). But if I could only have one, I'd chose the Kindle. The Nook gives me headaches that the Kindle has never ever given me; whether those headaches are due mostly to the touch screen, the cover, or the device, is up in the air at the moment. But I definitely feel a fondness for my Kindle that just isn't happening with the Nook.
Do you have an eReader[s]? What are the features you like/dislike?