Recently my parents were contemplating whether to go with B&N (Nook) or Amazon (Kindle). A lot of reviews will focus on the devices but I think that is the wrong place to look. Devices will increasingly be disposable, it is the platform/ecosystem that is how you want to judge it. Amazon and B&N have been trying to get their software readers on everything that that will probably be how increasingly many of us will read, apart from a dedicated device. Two years from now there will not only be IPads available (version 3 by then) but also multiple versions of Android tablets and possibly offerings from HP (WebOS) and Microsoft. Expect both vendors to try to be on all of them in the same way that Netflix attacked the streaming video market. Any of those multi-use tablets will likely have applications available to read EPUB formats which is the one the libraries are using. The newest Nook in fact is a cheap Android tablet already locked down so you can’t load a Kindle app.
I am imagining that Amazon will win this war and that publishing will continue to undergo huge market disruption until there can be some settlement on new models that support content producers. Electronic communication is enormously disruptive and at this point no one knows what new models will shake out. Will everything be direct with Amazon replacing publishing houses?
Amazon has proven themselves to be near perfect at moving through these chaotic changes. B&N is also very savvy and so far have not succumbed to what happened to the record selling businesses, but the shake-out is by no means over. This freewheeling, disruptive market likes monopolies and I expect to see Amazon beat B&N. “Kindle” is nearly to “e-reader” what “Ipod” is to “mp3 player”. I hope that there is enough competition around to keep Amazon more honest than Apple.
Two years from now your kindle/nook device will be recycled or handed down to a friend, spouse or child. What you will be interested in is your collection which is held for you “in the cloud”. Get a Kindle and if you want to read epub books just get an application for your smartphone/tablet/pc. Two years from now you’ll be reading them all on the same device anyway. At that point your Kindle will be a near disposable device that you take with you on a trip or leave in the car when you don’t want to worry about losing your nicer IPad or Xoom.