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November 18, 2011 1:14 PM   Subscribe

Should my next eReader be a kindle touch or a nook touch?

I've happily been a nook classic owner for over a year now, but I'm sick of having to recharge frequently so I'm thinking of buying a new eInk reader.

I'm not sure whether I should buy the new nook or the kindle, though. The devices are nearly identical, at around the same price point, but there are several mitigating factors:
  • I have a large library of nook DRMed epubs. Like, several hundred books. I'm pretty certain those could be converted, but I imagine it would be a bit of a pain, right?
  • I'm a book reviewer, and I frequently receive books for review in .epub format. Would owning a kindle make reading these onerous/annoying?
  • I have an amazon prime account. The new lending option sounds dang good.
  • I also really liked my 3g on my nook classic. It's no longer available with the new nook. It is available for a bit more money on the kindle. Buying books on long car rides was nice.
I'm a bit unsure of how to weigh all of the above. Anyone here have experience dealing with converting epubs for kindle, or converting a nook library, or would just generally be able to offer some guidance?

(iPad etc is not an option. I want an eInk device with a really long battery life.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi to Shopping (30 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have a large library of nook DRMed epubs. Like, several hundred books. I'm pretty certain those could be converted, but I imagine it would be a bit of a pain, right?

Probably a substantial pain. The DRM-stripping code is in violation of the DMCA so it has to skulk in corners and, so far as I know, no one has tried to make it slick and easy.

I'm a book reviewer, and I frequently receive books for review in .epub format. Would owning a kindle make reading these onerous/annoying?

If they're DRM-free epubs, then it's not really a problem -- converting to mobi is straightforward.
posted by Zed at 1:23 PM on November 18, 2011


If they're DRM-free epubs, then it's not really a problem -- converting to mobi is straightforward.

Sorry, they're DRM'd with an expiration date. (Tricky publishers.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:24 PM on November 18, 2011


Well, one piece of advice I can give you: don't make the Kindle Owner's Lending Library a factor in your decision. It's only one book a month, and there are only 5K books to choose from (which might sound like a lot but there's a lot of dreck in that 5K), and there is so much blowback from authors and publishers that I would not be surprised if the selection actually gets even worse.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 1:26 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Normally I'd say "I use Calibre for all my conversion-to-mobi needs". Although I've never had an .epub with DRM on it I hear that there are plugins to remove .epub DRM. Apparently it's easy, just frowned upon.

However, your statement about a frequently flood of .epubs with expiration dates would make me hesitate. My suggestion would be this:

Try to find a .epub DRM stripper and if you can successfully strip a file and get it into .mobi format using < n steps (where n is the number of steps that makes you pull out your hair) then it'll be something to consider. Bonus points if it works through Calibre as that program has great batch processing options.

Otherwise, no, the constant incoming .epubs would be enough to convince me to stay with the Nook if I were in your position. Also, I would like to second what rabbitrabbit said about the lending library for Prime members.
posted by komara at 1:30 PM on November 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I could be wrong, but it's my understanding that the touch screen is the primary reason why the nook battery drains much quicker than the standard kindle. If that is correct, then I would imagine that the battery charge on a new kindle touch would be closer to that of a nook than a standard (non-touch screen) kindle.

Secondly, have you looked at the kindle books available for lending with the Amazon Prime deal? I went through 40 pages of kindle titles and found one book that semi-interested me. It tends toward cheap mass market fiction and a hell of a lot of craft/hobby books. I'm testing out a one month "free" prime for the lending and I'm going to cancel because I'm not finding the selection to be worth it AT ALL.

Unless they are not DRM protected, converting your epubs to azm or mobi for the kindle could get complicated.

Don't get me wrong, I have a kindle 3 3g. Got it as a Christmas present last year and I enjoy it, but I'm not sure if the kindle touch is going to fulfill some or your requirements or if the Amazon Prime lending thing is going to be as sweet a deal as you might think.
posted by kaybdc at 1:31 PM on November 18, 2011


I'm a happy Nook classic owner, as well, and it seems to me that your existing attachment to the nonproprietary epub format should weight heavily in your decision.

Just a couple of other points:

- The Kindle touch has no physical page-turn buttons, which you've probably gotten used to with your nook. The nook touch does have physical page-turn buttons.

- The Kindle Owner's Lending Library is a bit disappointing, for some people.
posted by General Tonic at 1:32 PM on November 18, 2011


You cannot open DRMd epubs on a Kindle, full stop, nor can you convert them without a lot of hassle and likely unreadable results. Stick with the Nook.
posted by libraryhead at 1:34 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll say that it's possible to strip DRM, and doing so would be a one-time procedure, but usually straightforward enough to where you could automate it for further use. (You're on your own as far as actually finding the means of doing so). You can use Calibre to batch convert (un-DRM'd) ePub to mobi (now officially "Kindle format"), and it even has hooks to forward the results to your Kindle via e-mail.

Personally, I find the Kindle ecosystem (Whispersync, apps on other platforms, etc) far better than the Nook; and while the Nook Touch is improved, I still think the Kindle nailed the actual reading bits.
posted by ConstantineXVI at 1:35 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I could be wrong, but it's my understanding that the touch screen is the primary reason why the nook battery drains much quicker than the standard kindle. If that is correct, then I would imagine that the battery charge on a new kindle touch would be closer to that of a nook than a standard (non-touch screen) kindle.

Strictly, it was the LCD touch screen the Nook1 used for navigation that was the source of the battery drain. Both the Nook2 and Kindle Touch use a IR touch-sensor layer over the same e-ink display; there's no notable battery drain. My Nook2 has roughly the same (excellent) battery life as my K3 did before it's unfortunate car incident.
posted by ConstantineXVI at 1:38 PM on November 18, 2011


I could be wrong, but it's my understanding that the touch screen is the primary reason why the nook battery drains much quicker than the standard kindle.

That's mostly wrong. The original Nook uses a capacitive touch color LCD screen on the bottom. It has a shortish battery life since that's backlit, with all that means. The Nook Touch (a.k.a. Nook Simple Touch) uses an infrared sensor overlaying a normal eInk screen for touch stuff. The new Kindle Touch (and Kobo reader) uses more or less identical technology.

I've had my Nook Touch since June and I've loved every minute of it. The 1.1 software update makes it even better, which I was impressed with. I've gotten 4-6 weeks of reading between charges (and I recharge when it's 20-50% battery life). The lack of 3G really is the only short coming, I'd say, for you if you already have a large library of DRM ePubs. The only other reason to go Kindle is the Kindle store is somewhat bigger, but you can often find books missing from Nook Books in Google Books or similar.
posted by skynxnex at 1:39 PM on November 18, 2011


A very handsome friend of mine tells me that removing DRM from .epubs isn't that difficult at all when you have the right plug-ins for Calibre.

I can say from my own personal experience that converting my SO's non-DRMed .epubs to .mobi is easy as pie, when you use Calibre.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:41 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Since you are stuck with ePub, and are locked into that format for new content, I would go with a Nook.

Otherwise, I would recommend the Kindle over the Nook anyday.
posted by wongcorgi at 1:41 PM on November 18, 2011


Note that the Kindle fire is really expecting that you'll be using cloud storage -- it has less physical memory than the Nook Tablet, (8GB vs 16) , and, unlike the new Nook, won't accept an SD card. I don't know which way you lean, but it'd be a factor in my decision.
posted by tyllwin at 1:46 PM on November 18, 2011


Good to know about the newer touch screens not really affecting battery life; sorry for the outdated info.

However the book selection for Amazon Prime lending, still a steaming pile of shite.
posted by kaybdc at 1:50 PM on November 18, 2011


Well, that was fast. Seems like there's lots of reason to stick with the nook (esp. as 90% of my eReader reading is for review) and none at all, really, to get a kindle, since the prime stuff was the only thing that was really making me reconsider. Thanks, all!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:51 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just came in to nth sticking with Nook. I love my nook touch, the form factor is wonderful and it's great to hold (I would even recommend against a case, I just use a Techee sleeve I got from Etsy for transport). The battery life is very good and for my money, the native ePub support is worth it alone, ESPECIALLY if you have an existing epub library (DRM or not).

As far as converting from epub to mobi, with Calibre it's a non-thing, super easy and the results are good (I have a nook and the mrs. has a kindle).

Oh, and one more thing, apparently the nook store is about 2x the size of the kindle store.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 1:52 PM on November 18, 2011


I'm a fan of choosing an ebook reader that doesn't commit you to a given publisher store or reader application. For this reason I actually find the ipad and other android based tablets better because you can use the nook or kindle stores on the devices as well as readers that will happily deal with your epubs when DRM stripped.
posted by iamabot at 2:00 PM on November 18, 2011


I'm actually a fan of that, too, iamabot, which is why I went with the nook (which accepts sideloaded epubs) in the first place. However, my mother-in-law got me b&n gift cards for Christmas, so I ended up with a big ol' nook library anyway. :)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:02 PM on November 18, 2011


I'm a fan of choosing an ebook reader that doesn't commit you to a given publisher store or reader application.

The nook doesn't commit you to B&N. You can buy ebooks from any vendor and load them on your nook with no tricks. Except for Amazon, of course.
posted by General Tonic at 2:04 PM on November 18, 2011


I have a book because my library has mostly epub books for loan. I've been incredibly happy with it.
posted by fshgrl at 3:02 PM on November 18, 2011


> The nook doesn't commit you to B&N

And the Kindle doesn't commit you to Amazon.
posted by dgeiser13 at 3:30 PM on November 18, 2011


Are Kobos available in the United States? Because I adore mine, and it has excellent battery life (like 1-2 weeks with heavy use).

They read DRM'd epubs; I've gotten them from Google books and from the Kobo store. I can put books from any source on it - it loads with calibre, with the kobo desktop software, with Adobe software (I had to use that for my DRM'd Google book) or like a harddrive.
posted by jb at 4:16 PM on November 18, 2011


While all this experience is assembled -- will any of the ebook readers y'all have mentioned allow settings for _very_ low brightness?

(my Clie TH55 (Palm OS5), used for reading late at night, does those thanks to a third party dimmer-better app, and MobiPocket settings for yellow-on-black)
posted by hank at 7:04 PM on November 18, 2011


hank: as far as I can tell, the majority of the readers discussed here (with the exception of the Kindle Fire mention) are plain e-ink which means no light emitted from the screen. External light is required.
posted by komara at 7:43 PM on November 18, 2011


Probably a substantial pain. The DRM-stripping code is in violation of the DMCA so it has to skulk in corners and, so far as I know, no one has tried to make it slick and easy.

Calibre and Apprentice Alf's plugins make getting rid of the Nook DRM trivial. I have a Nook Color, buy books from whoever I want (turns out it's mostly B&N anyway), but strip the DRM as I add them to my Calibre libraries. Then I can use whatever reader I want on the Nook to read them.
posted by Runes at 7:47 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


dgeiser13: And the Kindle doesn't commit you to Amazon.

Really? You have to somehow break the DRM on any other vendor, as far as I know, in order to read a non-AZW ebook on a Kindle. That is, unless you use unprotected .mobi, .txt, .doc, .html, etc.

And epub (which Kindle will not read) is the most popular non-proprietary format of ebook. I appreciate that B&N actively supports this open standard.

Am I mistaken?
posted by General Tonic at 8:41 PM on November 18, 2011


I use Calibre to convert DRM'd epubs all the time and it's really easy. For what it's worth, anyway.
posted by Nattie at 9:00 PM on November 18, 2011


"Sorry, they're DRM'd with an expiration date. (Tricky publishers.)"

I don't know about you, but I'd be un-DRMing them with a vengeance just for that reason alone.
posted by barc0001 at 10:28 PM on November 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Am I mistaken?

I had no issues reading un-DRM'ed ebooks from Baen Books via Kindle.
posted by dgeiser13 at 2:46 PM on November 19, 2011


I don't know about you, but I'd be un-DRMing them with a vengeance just for that reason alone.

They're not my books in the same way that purchased ebooks are my books. They're books meant to be read and discarded (I get a lot of cheap paper review copies, too), and because I get to read them up to a year early for review purposes, I have no problem with their impermanence--no more than I would with a library book.

Anyway, nook simple touch purchased and on its way to me. Thanks for the advice, everyone!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:05 AM on November 21, 2011


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