Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To Kindle or Not to Kindle: Is B&N’s Nook Device Going to Take Over the Market?

The answer is a resounding "yes"! My geeky little mind was thrilled to see the advertisement for the Nook ebook reader on the homepage of the Barnes & Noble website. I made a silent "ooooh" and immediately clicked on the link to read more about this cool little device.

Before I start in on what I learned about the Nook, I have to admit that when Amazon announced the Kindle a few years back I wasn't jumping up and down. I'm definitely the type of person that loves to have a hard copy of a book in my hands. I love the smell of a new book and the feel of the crisp pages. I love to be able to take it anywhere (the beach, the couch, and yes, even some other places where you just need a private moment). So I reserved judgement on the Kindle until I've observed its progress and sales. A member of my writers' critique group bought one and love it, but it was still not enough. I mean, $259? Think how many books I could buy with that money! Anyway, the Kindle was black and white and a little ugly compared to other electronic devices like the iphone.

So imagine my delight at seeing the beautiful Nook--its got two color touch-screens, wi-fi, a 3G network, and its the same price as a Kindle. Additionally, it supports the ebook format (Kindle only supports Kindle files and pdf) and allows you to lend a book you've purchased to a friend for up to 14 days. You can walk into any Barnes & Noble and try one out. They've announced that over one million titles will be available for purchase on the Nook, plus free newspaper subscriptions and 17,000 free titles.

It's still a little pricey, but as with any new technology, the price will go down eventually. Barnes & Noble will start shipping them at the end of November.

The remaining fun question is this--how will the Nook impact the publishing marketplace? Since current top titles sell for around $10 per download, hopefully the ebook market will boost author and publisher profits dramatically. At virtually no cost to the publisher, ebooks are a cash cow. Authors should get a higher percentage of sales (at least 15%) while publishers still make out like bandits. So buy a Nook for your significant other, your parents or just for yourself this holiday season and give the publishing industry a much needed boost.

Tiffany Dominguez
Freelance Writer, Young Adult Fiction

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