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Kindle Paperwhite vs Nook GlowLight. What are the differences, and which one is better?
We’ve chatted about the debate between paperbacks and ebooks several times. There are some who are solidly on one “side” or the other, and there are some (like me) who are hybrid readers. We read everything we can get our hands on! Today I’d like to help those who may be considering purchasing an e-reader but feel overwhelmed by the details of the decision.
I personally own both a Kindle Paperwhite and a Nook GlowLight. I have had my Paperwhite longer, but I did not purchase the GlowLight to replace it. Occasionally I receive an ePub to review, so having a GlowLight would make that easier. (But honestly, between you and me, that was mostly an excuse to get one so I could compare the two!) I have had the GlowLight for a couple of years now, so hopefully I can help as you try to decide which is best for you.
We are not going to cover tablets here. I do not read on a tablet because I don’t like the backlight for extended reading. If you spend much time on the computer or phone, when you sit down to read, your eyes may need a break from the screen. The Paperwhite and GlowLight are both side-lit, which means the light doesn’t shine up into your eyes. That’s what causes the fatigue with computer screens and tablets. If you want a tablet that can do more than just display books, that’s a different discussion. We’re going to talk about dedicated e-readers!
What’s similar: Kindle Paperwhite vs Nook GlowLight
Let’s start with the technical aspects that are the same for both the Kindle Paperwhite and the Nook GlowLight. Both have:
6”x 3 5/8” high-resolution display, with 300ppi/dpi anti-glare screen
Built-in light which can be turned on/off
Variety of covers/cases
Sync with Kindle/BN app on phone or tablet to read on multiple devices
Comparable book prices (generally)
The two devices are not entirely the same, though.
Available in black or white
$119.99 currently, with special offers (ads); $139.99 without special offers
3G option (for additional cost)
My thoughts on the Paperwhite:
When using the devices side-by-side, I could tell the pages turn slightly faster on the Paperwhite. If you haven’t used either, it may not be a big deal. But if you have used a Paperwhite, you’ll notice the delay on the GlowLight. (This has apparently been improved on the GlowLight Plus, which is the version currently available. So this may not be an issue.)
Access the settings/options by touching the top of the screen. Having this at the top of the page means you’re less likely to accidentally touch that spot while turning pages.
The Kindle Paperwhite allows you to create Collections. You can create the categories easily, and then you can add titles as you go. (Touch/hold the image, then select “add to collection” from the menu that pops up, then select the collection(s) you want that title to be added to.) This makes it easy to group books by genre, or to filter out books you’ve read but don’t want to remove from your device, etc.
Amazon limits book purchases to their own website. You can send unprotected .mobi files or select text/image files to your reader, but other retail sites are not allowed to sell Kindle formatted e-books.
There is a wider selection of titles available through Amazon, especially of independently published books.
Amazon also offers the Kindle Unlimited program, which allows you to access any of the books that are part of the program without having to buy them. Perhaps the best comparison would be a membership to an exclusive library. If you aren’t familiar with Kindle Unlimited, you can click below to start a free month’s trial, which would allow you to see how it works and what kinds of books are available.
Waterproof (GlowLight Plus feature)
My thoughts on the GlowLight:
The pages load with a stutter. (I should clarify here that I have the GlowLight, and this may have been fixed in the GlowLight Plus that is currently being offered.)
Access the settings/options menu by touching anywhere along a vertical strip down the center of the screen. If you start with a GlowLight, perhaps your training will teach you early on not to touch there to turn pages. However, since I used a Paperwhite for a while (two years?) before purchasing my GlowLight… I did not realize how often I touch near the center of the screen when turning pages. (The Paperwhite’s division is 1/3 of the screen on the left to turn back, and 2/3 of the screen on the right to turn forward. The GlowLight has 1/3 of the screen on the left to turn back, 1/3 of the screen on the right to turn forward, and 1/3 in the center to access your settings.)
The GlowLight offers shelves to organize your books. These are similar to collections, and you can add shelves easily. However, to add titles, you have to edit the shelf and then scroll through all your titles to add the one you want. As your collection grows, this will become tedious!
The GlowLight uses an ePub format, which allows you to make purchases from Barnes & Noble, CBD.com, and other retailers.
The Paperwhite’s smoother page turns and fewer misclicks lead to a more pleasant user experience. The assurance of a larger selection of titles is also a benefit.
The GlowLight’s epub format allows readers to support CBD and other retailers.
So the question is, if I didn’t have either device and wanted to buy one now (and knew what I know about each), which would I choose?
While I wish the Kindle didn’t lock me into Amazon’s monopoly, the benefits the Nook offers aren’t enough to offset the smoother, more user-friendly operation of the Kindle. Amazon has taken the lead in the e-reader world for a reason. That said, if not being locked into purchasing through Amazon was important to me (as I know it is to some!) or if I needed a waterproof device, then the Nook certainly gives the Kindle a good run for its money and would be a strong alternative.
Want to check them out yourself?
(This post was not sponsored by either company. The thoughts expressed here are entirely my own.)