Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Look at Nook, Kindle, Based on Twitter Chat? Libraries lending Kindles - UPDATE2


Today, a strange piece of research by Crimson Hexagon on the relative frequency of chatter about various ereaders on Twitter gets stories by Daemon' Books, CNet, and others.

The Nook and Nookcolor, the Kindle, and Twitter
 The study focuses on the effect of the entrance of the Nook and the NookColor this last year and looks at the amount of interest in it vs other readers based on Twitter conversations.  Yes, really.  While it emphasizes that there is much more conversation on the Kindle  (UK: K3)  than on the Nook and other e-readers See the right-hand reference column), the Kindle has been around longer and the Kindle 3 has delighted many with its clarity, lightness, and very smooth functioning of features.  The Nook monochrome and Sony have been popular with those who prize ePub e-book format and the ability to use the public library lending feature of Overdrive.

Crimson Hexagon's summary
' It’s worth noting that while the Nook readers have certainly established a solid and growing position in the e-reader market during 2010, our analysis also revealed that Amazon’s Kindle is still by far the most popular e-reader on the basis of total conversation volume on Twitter.

  Looking at the daily volume of relevant Twitter conversation for each of the devices, we see that conversation about the Kindle far outpaces the Nook and Nook Color, consistently adding up to more Tweets-per-day than both Nook devices combined (an average of about 1,000 Tweets per day for Kindle vs. just under 500 per day for Nook).
  Conversation volume for the iPad is also much lower (120 per day), though this is due to our analysis of the iPad being limited to conversations about using the device as an e-reader.  Although the Kindle continues to leverage its first-mover advantage and enjoys a dominant position in the e-reader market, consumer opinion expressed online shows the Nook is making up for lost time and quickly gaining ground and market share. '

The NookColor
I have the NookColor, as a matter of fact, and enjoy it very much as a secondary reader for books with color illustrations, magazines, and fast web browsing on a ultra-portable device, and I think that the functioning of it received a lot of thought when it was designed.  It's a lot of fun to use although I can't read longer books on the LCD screen with much comfort as I can on the e-Ink screen of the Kindle, so I don't.  But National Geographic is just amazing on it.

  Not so much the books with illustrations, it turns out, as one cannot ZOOM an image (in a book) on the NookColor, to my extreme surprise (the Kindle can).  So, while I have the color, I lose the detail that is often in illustrations used.  Nor can I rotate books to see an image larger that way.  Nevertheless I really enjoy magazines on it.  And the (easily-portable, light) web access.

More on Nook (monochrome), comparison of e-Ink model features next ...

The Nook (monochrome)
  The Nook (monochrome) is altogether another story, with an e-Ink screen manipulated by using the color strip below it as if it were a remote control and it feels like it.  Everything has a slight delay and the not-reliable touchscreen below makes it stranger that the top portion (the e-book screen) is not a touchscreen.  Those not familiar with the Kindle won't likely feel these are problems though.

Comparison of e-Ink model features
  I really prize a few things that can be done on a good e-reader (one designed with regard for how some avid readers use study tools or features, some in connection with their book club discussions).

  The weaknesses of the Nook have been the out-of-sight dictionary, the many menu-steps involved in getting to it, the highlighting and notes that are hard to find once you've made them, and the awkward and hard to find Search routines (I often search past-appearances of a character in the book).  Mainly, it's that there are multiple menu-steps for just about everything I would like to do.

  With the Kindle, the dictionary's summary-definition of a word is right there (bottom or top) for the word your cursor is on, the Search is started by merely starting to type a word or phrase, and the Results as well as Highlighting and Notes are shown, in context, in rows, rather than our having to go from one to the other slowly, and they're linked for fast access.

  Some extra features of the Kindle -- Text to Speech, which can be useful when you're cooking, washing dishes or driving; the Audible Books feature; and larger built-in storage -- are all nice to have.  There IS a music listening feature but it's limited.  And then there's the 3G cellular network access to the web that is free of web-data charges and which doesn't require finding a hotspot.
  Also, there's the private, password-protected Annotations webpage that we all have, if we allow backup of annotations.
  UPDATE - I forgot to add that the Nook is sold only in the U.S. and that e-books for it cannot be bought from Barnes and Noble outside the U.S. even by a U.S. resident who's just traveling.  As most know, the Kindle operates with 3G downloading in 100+ countries and allows free web-browsing in about 60 countries.

An unusually popular customer review of the Kindle
As far as comparisons go, however, I've been fascinated by watching the reactions to the leading customer review of the Kindle, which is unusual in that it compares the Kindle with the Nook, feature by feature, as the customer has both in his home.

  It currently has a count of 17,083 people who bothered to click Yes on the "Was this review helpful to you?" question.  The customer, Ron Cronovich, responds to questions there, as do some Kindle owners who usually have older Kindles and are interested in the Kindle 3 or who are used to helping on the various Kindle forums.
  But it's Cronovich who does the heavy lifting there, with a lot of patience, good will, and very little bias that I can see except that he's bought both e-readers and prefers the Kindle.  Cronovich gives the pros and cons of both, and the readers' responses show that he has been clearer than most reviews or reports that those browsing have read in the past.  The review has had 1,221 responses.  Really an amazing review-thread.

 The review with the next highest number of recommendations has 5,400+ 'helpful' votes and 89 responses.  If you or friends are trying to choose between the two readers, it's a good one to read, just for the detail included.

GalleyCat, which writes on the publishing industry, found that the Top 20 paid bestseller list in the Amazon Kindle store includes six titles with a $5 pricetag.

  So, they asked, over on their eBookNewser pages, "Is the $5.00 eBook the New $9.99 eBook?," pointing out that "Publishers have used the $5.00 eBook like a lure for fiction series, introducing readers to The Hunger Games or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  If successful, the new price point could drive eBook prices even lower."  They ask for reactions and thoughts there and have received some.

  With the low percentage that the larger publishers give authors, lower book pricing won't work that well for authors, the latter write there, as it requires more books to be sold to make the same amount, at a low percentage royalty, as at $10, but the reality is that paperbacks have always come down to $5 to $7 also, after the initial run.  The $5 books here tend to be for books no longer debuting.  Never mind that e-book pricing now tends to be higher than paperback pricing too often for a product you can't re-sell or give to a friend.   You CAN lend it once, if the publisher "allows" you to.  That will have to change.

  If an author is willing to hire editing and marketing help, they can do better, percentage-wise, with Amazon, Smashwords, and others.  Add that they won't be pink-slipped, so they can spend the energy that would be spent on sending the book to one and all, hoping for acceptance, on writing another one :-)
  The gate-keeping and marketing clout of the larger publishers are good for the authors who make it through, except for the reduced percentages in royalties in the last year.

There is a story about the Rowan Public Library in Salisbury, NC, and the 12 Kindles it loans out, each with 80 books loaded, including latest fiction and non-fiction best sellers.  There are other news stories like this, as more and more libraries are lending reading devices, with some keeping on hand an assortment of different types.

  However, a librarian pointed out in a story yesterday that the Kindle allows an e-book to be shared on up to 6 devices, depending on the publisher's authorization.  Those depending on Adobe's ADE digital-rights-protection (Nook Sony, Kobe) present a tougher problem with that.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or highest-rated ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle

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  1. Re image zoom. As far as I can see, only one click zoom on images allowed, unless you are reading a pdf - at least on my wireless Kindle 3.

  2. Timecheck,
    Yes, the Kindle has one zoom level for a book's images. It just maximizes their size.

    The NookColor doesn't let you do anything at all to/with an image in a book. The small ones are all you get.

    With magazines, you can pinch-zoom beautifully and with the web, you can double tap to maximize or use the '+' icon to scale up a little at a time.

    But with a book? Nothing. Very strange.


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