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Nook's Kindle Counterpunch: The Hands-On Approach

Illustration for article titled Nooks Kindle Counterpunch: The Hands-On Approach

The new $140 Wi-Fi Kindle might have been the latest salvo in the ebook reader wars, but it's definitely not the last. The ball's in Barnes and Noble's court, and they're focused on the home field advantage of 720 storefronts.

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B&N's going to be clearing out enough space for 1,000-square foot Nook boutiques in each of its brick-and-mortars, the New York Times reports, that will allow customers to try the Nook out for themselves and and have their questions answered by employees. While Kindle's available in Target, the vast majority are bought online, sight unseen.

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The emphasis on advertising may be an indication that the ebook reader price wars may have temporarily bottomed out. That's fine by Sony, who also responded to the new Kindle by not budging at all on price, according to Forbes:

"Pricing is one consideration in the dedicated reading device marketplace, but Sony won't sacrifice the quality and design we're bringing book lovers to lay claim to the cheapest eReader," said Phil Lubell, Sony Electronics' vice president of digital reading.

A stance that would almost be admirable, if Sony's ebook readers were any good.

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In any case, it's clear that the new Kindle's got people spooked. "Advertise more" and "do nothing" aren't strategies that give the consumer a better product or let them save more money. And however much the personal touch will help for now, in the long run everyone who's not Amazon still has a lot of catching up to do. [NY Times, Forbes]

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DISCUSSION

eReading is in its infancy. The tech is progressing so fast that buying anything right now is a mistake.

Bought an iPad? How silly are you going to feel when they bring out the Retina display version? My iPhone 4 has nearly the same resolution as the iPad, and provides a similar reading experience. The iPad at 360dpi? Yes, please. Maybe then I'll consider buying. Until then, I'll continue reading in landscape mode on my phone.

The best experience is fragmented across multiple devices right now. iPad has a great reading experience, with the ability to do other things via the app store. eInk has the long battery life and low price. iPhone has supreme portability. Kindle's missing ePub support—their pay-to-email scheme is *laughable*.

Put all these together and you have a great device. It's only a matter of time until someone does. Be wise. Wait.