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Android Handhelds Media Hardware

B&N Nook Tablet vs. Amazon Kindle Fire 138

Posted by timothy
from the when-books-compete-you-win dept.
DeviceGuru writes with this excerpt: "Barnes & Noble is expected to announce a 7-inch color tablet on November 7th, positioning it head-to-head with Amazon's recently announced Kindle Fire. B&N's Nook Tablet is rumored to have a slightly faster processor, twice the RAM and flash, and a $50 price premium relative to Amazon's tablet, among other differences. The quick-reference table in this article compares key features and specs of the two 7-inch Android tablets, based on a combination of leaked data published at Engadget.com plus some additional data from B&N's existing Nook Color specs, which seems to have much in common with this new, higher-end Nook model."
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B&N Nook Tablet vs. Amazon Kindle Fire

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  • I've been following the announcements of the Kindle Fire [amazon.com] and I'm sort of wondering if Amazon is abandoning what was so good about the platform, namely electronic ink. One has always been able to read a book off the LCD screen of one's smartphone or notebook, but the Kindle was a pleasurable experience because e-ink really is easier on the eyes. If the Kindle is going LCD, then it's just like any other tablet out there.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 05, 2011 @08:32AM (#37957346)

      Abandoning e-ink by introducing new e-ink Kindle Touches? Really?

    • by yelvington (8169) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @08:36AM (#37957368) Homepage

      I I'm sort of wondering if Amazon is abandoning what was so good about the platform, namely electronic ink.

      Five E-Ink Kindles vs one video-capable tablet doesn't quite add up to abandonment.

    • by gl4ss (559668) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @08:36AM (#37957370) Homepage Journal

      if they had stopped selling and coming up with new models of them, then sure, you would have a point.

      but there's plenty of stuff the eink displays suck for.

      • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @08:50AM (#37957438)
        But I think what people were hoping for with this generation of kindle was a kindle with just a tad more improvements. Basically, the kindle fire isn't a kindle. The Kindles they did come out with are identical to the last kindle with the exception of a touch screen that's nothing more than a gimmick. I think what everyone was expecting was COLOR e-ink first of all... then maybe a decent web browser... better PDF support or at least a way to convert PDFs into something readable. Maybe some tools, a calculator, calendar, I dunno, something to add some utility.
        • Perhaps what you are hoping for just isn't possible with eink?

          I'm sure if amazon could use eink for colour and *responsive* web browsing they would have done so. The fact that they have moved to LCD in order to cater to the people who do want exactly what you say you want should tell you something about the capabilities of the different screen techs and whether they see eink as ever doing well for web browsing and colour or interactive media.

          Also, the addition of a touch screen to the normal kindle definitely is not a small step- it's a huge change in the way you interact with the device. If it weren't for the fire everyone would be more interested in it. If the fire does well I imagine they'll move all their eink readers to android too (hence the new touchscreen) so there's no point them developing lots of apps for an older kindle platform at this point. The kindle as a separate software platform from android will probably die off at some point, so really the fire is closer to future kindles than the kindle.

        • by fafaforza (248976) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @12:32PM (#37959158)

          Amazon doesn't create the eInk displays, so if a color eInk display isn't available, how will they make a color eInk Kindle? The Fire is just another device, likely for Amazon to sell and sell subscriptions to streaming/downloadable media, in addition to ebooks.

          And touch isn't a gimmick. Double tapping a word to get the definition or selecting a paragraph for highlighting beats the pants off of doing the same with a d-pad.

        • Kindle is a "content consumption device" that targets a very narrow niche - books - but does it extremely well. It's a good thing for what it does, and many people are happy with it, but a lot more people want something that can handle more than books.

          Kindle Fire is a "content consumption device" that targets music, video and online shopping in addition to books, and directed at those people for whom Kindle is not enough. It makes sense for Amazon to go ahead with this, now that they have confirmed that the business model of making a device as cheap as possible, and making money off purchases made with that device, is viable for them.

    • by goombah99 (560566) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @08:46AM (#37957420)

      The amazon tablet, as opposed to the amazon readers, is just another tablet. What is special about it and why it will win is Silk backed by the Amazon cloud. Now you have awesome power in a cheap tablet. B&N is trying to compete on specs at the low end and there's almost no amount of minot spec improvement that will rival the added power of the cloud. Amazons silk web pages will almost always open faster. Amazon can add a Siri like personal assistant. B&N can't add those things. some third party might do it for them but it won't be as integrated.

      • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris@@@beau...org> on Saturday November 05, 2011 @02:26PM (#37960014)

        > The amazon tablet, as opposed to the amazon readers, is just another tablet.

        Nope, the Amazon product is, like all Kindles, totally tied to Amazon. No memory slot because you are supposed to keep everything in Amazon't cloud. No standard Android because you are supposed to depend on Amazon for everything. In other words it is a total loss leader to drive sales of other Amazon services.

        Compare to the Kobo for $199 and the B&N for $249 that are actual Android tablets with the things you would expect in one. The amazing thing is Goggle wouldn't allow either of them access to the Market or Android 3.x.

        It really is time for someone to ask Google some hard questions as to just what the hell sort of game they are playing. They SAY they only wanted to keep cheap crap out by imposing a minimum standard, to keep 3.x off of phones where it wouldn't work well, etc. But the Kobo is apparently good hardware and B&N certainly isn't a fly by night Chinese vendor, right? But neither could get Android 3.x and being tablets 2.3 seems to be an automatic exclusion from the Marketplace. If the Kobo & B&N had the 3.x and the Marketplace (and thus a high probability of quickly getting 4.0) the fight with Amazon would be over before it began.

    • by hey! (33014) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @09:48AM (#37957840) Homepage Journal

      Amazon is hardly abandoning e-ink, because you can still buy a Kindle with e-ink -- at lower prices than ever if you can accept their screensaver advertisement scheme.

      As far as whether LCD or e-ink is better, I happen to have both a Kindle and a rooted Nook Color with the Kindle Reader software installed. So I always have a choice when I want to read a Kindle book of reading it on e-ink or LCD. There are some situations where e-ink wins hands down (reading in bright ambient light), others were LCD wins (photos; diagrams of almost any kind; reading in darkened rooms or in bed), and others where it is the touchscreen that makes the difference (highlighting text and entering notes).

      So given a free choice of reading a book on a e-ink Kindle or an LCD tablet, most of the time I choose the LCD. With a larger, higher resolution touchscreen e-ink display, it might be about even. There's no question that e-ink in bright ambient light is the best for reading text, but I find the UI on the second generation Kindle irritating even after owning it for a couple of years. The semantics of "back" seems to be a bugbear in many UI designs; touchscreen reader UIs tend to use screen gestures to flip pages and buttons to back out of books. I find this works well, so the Kindle Touch probably brings the Kindle up to parity with reading a Kindle book on an Android tablet in the UI department.

      Reading a Kindle book on my wife's iPad is even better, because the iPad's rendering is better -- at least if you read books with lots of math in them like I do. The Kindle mangles equations and makes tables a pain in the neck to read. The iPad reader also allows you to zoom in to photos, which as yet neither the nook reader nor the Amazon reader software for Android allow. Sometimes I keep an iPod touch handy when reading on the Nook or Kindle in case the formatting is messed up or I need to get a good look at a photograph or diagram.

      As much as I hate to say this, it seems the bet choice in terms of convenience and user experience is using Amazon and Barnes and Noble's reader software on an Apple device.

      • by fafaforza (248976) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @12:40PM (#37959228)

        Well, you're comparing apples to oranges really. eInk readers are meant for one thing: reading. They are book readers. Tablets are tough-based computers. Different technologies, and obviously the LCD will allow you to display PDFs better, allow for zooming in, etc. eInk is just not for that, and I don't know why people have a hard time keeping that in mind. As far as math equations, they'd render finr on eInk if they were published in ePub for eInk devices, but they aren't. Blame the publishers, not the device.

        Also, for reading in bed, there are many covers out that have LED lights. You can buy a clipon LED light for $7. And they work great. They illuminate the text perfectly and evenly. Really, it comes down to one's preference and what type of reading they do. If I stare at an LCD all day, I'll likely choose an eInk display for a novel. If I want to read a service manual for my car, I'll use an LDC based device, even a laptop, over eInk (even though reading that manual would be fine on my Sony PRS-650, if I knew which pages I wanted for reference, but simply browsing and flipping from page to page is more arduous.)

        • by CastrTroy (595695) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @07:52PM (#37962356) Homepage
          One thing that bothers me about e-ink displays is the page turn speed. If they are all about the reading, then this is the one area where they fail. Changing the page takes way too long, and the fact that it goes to all black and then the letters appear is really annoying. That is one think that needs to be fixed before I will get an e-ink device. LCD has the advantage that the page can change instantly, and without jarring your eyes, whereas e-ink is terrible. Also, once higher resolution "retina" displays get cheaper, there will be no resolution difference between the LCD and e-ink displays
          • Page turn speed is subjective; I see a few people complaining about it, but, in truth, it's much faster on modern "pearl" eInk displays than it used to be 2-3 years ago, and most seem to be perfectly content with it. I've read several dozen books from my Kindle 3 by now, and it never annoyed me.

            Resolution-wise, though, eInk does not have any advantages, even today. Kindle has a 6" 600x800 screen - there are many LCD devices that can beat that already.

        • by shmlco (594907) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @11:44PM (#37963302) Homepage

          "Also, for reading in bed, there are many covers out that have LED lights. You can buy a clipon LED light for $7. And they work great. They illuminate the text perfectly and evenly."

          So in order for my $200 device to work correctly I need to clip a cheap-ass light to it? Wonderful.

          As to "Apples" to oranges, they both have screens, the both have Kindle apps, they both allow reading ebooks. You may think they're different, but in many cases they can do the same thing. The only really advantage an e-ink Kindle has is reading in direct sunlight, battery life, and cost.

          And with several improvements coming in regard to dual-mode LCD displays and improved power management, the e-ink advantage is fading quickly.

      • by zippthorne (748122) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @01:23PM (#37959560) Journal

        Might want to give the touch-screen e-ink nook a try, then. The touch screen accepts swipe gestures, touching sides or middle, and there are two buttons on the side for flipping pages. You don't leave the book itself without touching the n button which is located in a place that you are not likely to hit accidentally across a number of different ways of holding the device. Also, the buttons on the sides can be flipped as to whether the top advances or the bottom advances, to allow the most comfortable holding position.

        It actually has fewer features than the first gen nook, but the features it has are pretty well thought out. Also, it accepts ePub natively, which Amazon has yet to allow without wonky conversions for some reason...

        And using the software on an iPad, B&N syncs your last page across the devices for purchased books.

        \end{shill}

    • by artor3 (1344997) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @11:05AM (#37958404)

      Amazon is offering a wide array of products to meet the needs of different market segments, which is a perfectly normal thing for companies to do.

      Want a cheap e-reader? The entry level model is just $80.
      Want easier text entry? Choose between the touchscreen version or the keyboard, both at $100.
      Want to access the internet away from WiFi? Pay $40 extra for Whispersync.
      Want a big screen for reading PDFs without pan & zoom, and have money to burn? Get the DX for $380.
      Want to watch videos and play games and browse the web? Get the Fire at $200.

      Here's your car analogy of the day: Chevy offers the electric Volt now, but that doesn't mean that they're going to pull all their gas-engine cars from the market.

    • by dadioflex (854298) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @03:32PM (#37960444)
      E-ink is fine in sunlight or bright indoor lighting, but a backlit screen has many valid advantages as an e-book reader screen. A crappy analogy is that some shoes are designed for indoor use and some for outdoor use. You can use either wherever you like, because they all cover your feet, but you'll be making compromises.

      I do about three quarters of my reading on Kindle and a quarter on a Palm TX - yeah, I'm in need of an upgrade but it's an ideal adjunct to my cross trainer. And don't tell me backlit screens are bad for your eyes - it's like claiming music is bad for your ears when you have the volume turned up to eleven. Read gray text off a dark background with brightness at minimum and you have a display with similar contrast to e-ink that you can read in bed with the lights out. I swear so many people who claim to hate reading off a backlit screen have used some pretty program that attempts to emulate a bright white page and slapped it across their face like Geordi's visor.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 05, 2011 @08:46AM (#37957416)

    Why the fuck are e-books so expensive? Many of them are just slightly less than the actual book! Why the hell am I going to spend almost as much money buying the e-book, but not actually get anything physical out of the deal?

    It was one thing when it came to buying digital music. You could spend $1 to get the song that you wanted, rather than paying $25 to get a CD with the song that you wanted. That's a big enough price difference to make it worthwhile. But with e-books, it's just stupid to spend $15 on a e-book, while the actual book is only $17.

    There's no excuse for e-book prices to be that high. While authors and editors do deserve to get paid, e-books reduce the manufacturing and distribution costs to almost nothing. I just don't buy that the $2 more spent on a real book will cover the costs of harvesting of the trees used to make the paper, the manufacturing of the paper itself, the shipping of the massive paper rolls to the publisher, the cost and setup of the publishing equipment, the ink used to print the book, the typesetting, the creation of the cover art, the printing of the cover (especially for hardcover books), the cutting of the paper, the binding of the book, the packing of the finished books, the shipping to the publisher's and/or distributor's warehouses, the storage costs at these warehouses, the shipping to the individual bookstores, and the salaries of the many people involved with all of this.

    I will not buy an e-book as long as it's clear that I'm getting blatantly ripped off.

    • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @08:55AM (#37957472)

      You also dont get the option to loan your book to friends. That crap system they call loaning is nothing of the sort. So we are expected to pay more for less.

    • by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @09:13AM (#37957604)

      Why the fuck are e-books so expensive? Many of them are just slightly less than the actual book! Why the hell am I going to spend almost as much money buying the e-book, but not actually get anything physical out of the deal?

      This is my thoughts on the matter, as well. I just can't see the justification for what most of the big publishers price their eBooks at.

      It seems like they are saving a metric shit-ton of production costs but not passing any of those savings along to the consumer whatsoever. Plus, with eBooks, there's no paperback you can wait for...

      Yeah, I think I'll wait until I'm being charged a price for a product more in line with the actual cost of producing and distributing it...

    • by Serious Callers Only (1022605) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @09:20AM (#37957644)

      Origination costs (including cover art, typesetting etc) are by far the highest costs when producing paper books. Then there are publicity & promotions etc. None of those costs go away when publishing online. Publishers don't typically make a lot of money from books (paper or not) unless they happen to publish someone like Dan Brown,and their costs for digital publishing are not significantly lower, but they are obviously slightly lower. Probably the biggest bonus is not having to deal with storage, shipping and warehousing.

      It's interesting that you mention hardback books as a fair markup as typically the extra cost to produce those is negligible - they are simple a way of making money from early buyers who want the book badly. The markup on them is nowhere near proportional to the costs of production.

    • by reub2000 (705806) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @09:21AM (#37957648)

      Even more puzzling is that B&N tries to charge $1 for books in the public domain. There is no content to pay for, the author has been long dead.

    • by peragrin (659227) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @09:25AM (#37957668)

      The same reason why music companies wanted $2 a single song download.

      They don't want digital disbrution cutting into their existing models so they are pricing them out of the park.

      unfortunately there is no apple for ebooks who will stand up and say this is the price suck it up.

      Also the difference between a ebook and real book is the printing, binding, and distbution costs. Since every ebook still needs to be typesetted for the given format. (pdf, epub, etc)

    • by walterbyrd (182728) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @09:35AM (#37957736)

      There are decent tablets out there for under $200 - such as the Vizio 8" ($189 at Costco). Or the Lenovo Ideapad A1 ($199 on Amazon, and includes GPS, cameras, and many other features).

      With Black Friday coming up, there will probably be even better deals.

      With a tablet, you can read any format. Plus use it for games, etc.

      http://slickdeals.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3500884

    • by hawguy (1600213) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @10:27AM (#37958158)

      Why the fuck are e-books so expensive? Many of them are just slightly less than the actual book! Why the hell am I going to spend almost as much money buying the e-book, but not actually get anything physical out of the deal?

      Agreed - I own a Kindle (and a Nook), but buy 80% of my books as used paper copies because they are cheaper. Often I can even find a *new* book cheaper than the eBook (including shipping costs).

      I'd much rather read an eBook, I find the Kindle to be very convenient (especially when traveling) and I don't end up with a big pile of books that I have to take somewhere to donate after reading. But I'm not going to pay a 20% - 100% price premium to read something that cost practically nothing to deliver to me that I'm reading on a device that I had to purchase.

      • by unrtst (777550) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @11:59AM (#37958890)
        Another nod in this direction. ebook prices are too high.

        One solution I really hope to see come about (which I first saw with O'Reilly books that included a cdrom's with their books) is selling a combo of paperback + ebook, with zero or very very small extra price to get the ebook. That'd still let me loan out the paperback, or resell it, or read it in the tub, or whatever other benefit paper books have, and I'd still get the digital version which I like reading much much more and HAS SEARCH (which is indispensable in tech docs).

        There are lots of parties to blame here too. Lot's of people point to the distributor (ex. Amazon), and many others point to the publisher. While both of those are valid, Apple should also get a lot of the blame. Their app store rules regarding pricing and no in-app purchases are hurting the entire industry (ex. AFAICT, you're not allowed to sell your book on Amazon for less than you sell it on the Apple App Store even though the Apple App Store takes a larger share of the profits, so you either have to raise your prices everywhere, or take a bigger loss on your App Store sales, or avoid the App Store altogether). Regardless of what red tape is in place, ebooks definitely need to find a way to come down in price.

        • ex. AFAICT, you're not allowed to sell your book on Amazon for less than you sell it on the Apple App Store even though the Apple App Store takes a larger share of the profits, so you either have to raise your prices everywhere, or take a bigger loss on your App Store sales, or avoid the App Store altogether

          Amazon was among several other companies that were temporarily excluded from this deal. Once the exclusion expired, they have simply removed link to the store [slashdot.org] from iOS version of the app. More recently, Amazon has made Kindle cloud reader [guardian.co.uk], which comes (among other options) as an iOS-aware HTML5 app, and thus skirts all iOS App Store restrictions. And yes, it can download books to be read offline.

    • by ISoldat53 (977164) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @12:07PM (#37958966)
      Until Amazon makes them change, the library doesn't charge anything for e-books.
    • by misexistentialist (1537887) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @12:40PM (#37959220)
      Apparently it doesn't cost much at all to print a book. Ebooks are just revealing how overpriced books are in general.
    • by catmistake (814204) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @01:48PM (#37959750) Journal
      Considering 70% of the cost of a real book is wrapped up in printing and distribution, costs that are effectively zeroed once digital (not completely, but effectively) you're absolutely right. Its the same thing publishers of newspapers are trying to pull... they want a windfall by desiring to charge the same subscription prices as with physical periodicals. If publishers were even remotely intelligent, they'd be pushing customers away from physical books towards digital by offering massive incentive, namely, drastically reduced prices. Even if ebooks were priced 50% of the retail cost of physical books publishers stand to make much more profits with ebooks. It is indiciative of a fundamental misunderstanding of the profitablity of new technology by old school fossils continuing to promote those broken and dying business models.
      • by shmlco (594907) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @12:03AM (#37963378) Homepage

        "Considering 70% of the cost of a real book is wrapped up in printing and distribution..."

        How about considering numbers other than those pulled out of your *** in order to make your point? Physical costs are about 11% of the MSRP.

        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/01/business/media/01ebooks.html?partner=rss&emc=rss [nytimes.com]

        • by catmistake (814204) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @12:00PM (#37965916) Journal

          On a typical hardcover, the publisher sets a suggested retail price. Let’s say it is $26. The bookseller will generally pay the publisher $13. Out of that gross revenue, the publisher pays about $3.25 to print, store and ship the book, including unsold copies returned to the publisher by booksellers.

          Book prices haven't really been fluctuating much, and the costs of printing, if anything, have temporarily increased. In the last 20 years, the industry has been steadily shrinking, losing its long held post as the largest in the world. In the last 8 years, the industry has enjoyed or suffered (depending who you ask) a massive reduction in competition. While at the same time technology has been increasing efficiency and producing savings — in reducing workforce pre/post-press — it is still the press itself that is the only real profitable asset, one which has seen an increase in cost to produce while at the same time there's not as much call for them (I'm watching ebay for when old Heidelbergs get really cheap... :p ); So the press is still the thing that makes the money, and while tech has been at work here as well, the mechanism for how it makes money is still basically the same, i.e. reproduction. And while logistics makes distribution more efficient as well, the cost of fuel has increased somewhat (heh). The publishers are lying about the printing costs and their motivation for doing this is clear: keeping the prices of ebooks as close as possible to the prices of physical books makes ebooks insanely profitable. Remember last year, when ebooks were 6% of the total number of sales of books [slashdot.org], yet represented about half the profits for any book sold? [citation needed]

          • by shmlco (594907) on Sunday November 06, 2011 @06:55PM (#37969218) Homepage

            Yes, printing prices have increased, but printing and distribution is still not 70% of the cost of a real book. (Your original statement.) Heck, the publisher wholesales the book to the retailer for half the MSRP. If the retailer gets 50%, then printing and distribution, by simple mathematics, can NOT be 70% of the price of a book. (50%+70%=120%, with no profit and no royalties.)

            "Even if ebooks were priced 50% of the retail cost of physical books publishers stand to make much more profits with ebooks."

            As pointed out, most ebooks ARE basically 50% of the price of the hardback's MSRP. You seem to be saying that publishers need to mark down the cost of a book to 25% of the MSRP, in order for the price to be half of some retailer's 40% discount loss-leader price.

            Start over with facts. Retailer's get 50% of the MSRP. Publisher's get 50% of the MSRP. Any discount a retailer makes comes out of his 50%. So when you see a $25 book on Amazon selling for $16, it's Amazon that's discounting the book 36%.

            • by catmistake (814204) on Monday November 07, 2011 @02:08PM (#37976330) Journal

              Printing and distribution. And if the book is printed to begin with, the ebook is done (made from the digital materials used to produce the print version). Printing encompasses design, typesetting, proofing, prepress, pressing and binding. That's a lot of activitiy and labor, but I didn't say that it alone was 70%, and I'd guess it was closer to 35-40%. The rest is distribution - packing, shipping, transportation, delivery, stocking, display - logistics. Publishers appear to be claiming they are spending money producing an eBook, when that product is a side-effect in the ordinary process of producing the physical book. Many mid-sized publishers have recognized this, and for at least a few years have been offerring digital versions for free with purchase of the print version.

              Compare eBooks to debit cards. Banks used to offer incentives to merchants and even pay them to accept debit card purchases from their customers. Once debit cards have become accepted, banks are now attempting, and having some success, at charging for the same thing they were paying for not too long ago. eBooks are following a similar trend. eBooks used to be, technically, a waste product of printed books. If a publisher is printing real books, any talk of the costs of eBooks, other than bandwidth (which is not zero but still negligable compared to the actual printing/distribution), is a fairy tale. eBooks are literally free to *whomever pays for a book to be printed* - who can even then turn around and charge the author, if they wanted, for the eBook. Most publishers —"publishing" is starting to lose meaning, so publishers except for those rare publishers that do not produce physical books — are selling a story about all the hardship and cost of an eBook when it in reality doesn't exist. The eBook is a digital shadow of a printed book... they all have it. Publishers are trying to say there are real costs to a phenomenon that occurs independently of the market for eBooks... even if no one ever wanted an eBook publishers would still be forced to make them.

              Now, I'm not saying the value of an eBook is nothing... that it indeed took an author, editor, proofreader, typesetting and design... the labor that went into producing the eBook is surely real. What I'm telling you is it is already paid for if they printed anything... even if it never made it to the shelves... and the story they're selling you is either that they had to do it twice or it cost them twice as much. The costs they're trying to introduce would be like banks charging you for, say, transfering $200 from your bank account in NY to your bank in LA, the cost of physically moving a $1 bill 200 times from NY to LA via armoured security, even though it actually takes a clerk a few keystrokes and not an expensive, obscenely fuel-inefficient truck and a million miles of driving by a well-trained and compensated security team.

    • It was one thing when it came to buying digital music. You could spend $1 to get the song that you wanted, rather than paying $25 to get a CD with the song that you wanted. That's a big enough price difference to make it worthwhile. But with e-books, it's just stupid to spend $15 on a e-book, while the actual book is only $17.

      But you're merely haggling over price, as the old joke goes. I don't think digital handcuffs become acceptable at any price because I don't want to be taken advantage of. The physical book confers rights of ownership DRM is designed to take away regardless of how little one pays for the DRM-riddled alternative. As George Hoteling saw first hand years ago, one might not have right of first sale anymore [hotelling.net]. Even ostensible advantages one might imagine come nearly free in digital format aren't necessarily there like they should be as Wil Wheaton saw when he updated his iPod software with Apple software and lost all of his tracks [digitalcitizen.info] only to learn Apple would restore them in what Wheaton called a "one-time only do-over to replace all of your purchased music, free of charge". Magnatune.com [magnatune.com], on the other hand, lets you restore purchased tracks as many time as you want, share tracks with others, and Magnatune always sold its wares DRM-free. Inexpensive digital media doesn't become more attractive with restrictions management.

    • by shmlco (594907) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @11:58PM (#37963364) Homepage

      Publishers already mark down the ebook price to half the price of the hardback. It's not their fault that some retailers discount the hardback retail price 30%-40%, or even 50%-60% as loss leaders.

      And the physical cost of a typical hardback is about $3. Everything else is base costs, marketing, author royalties, publisher profits, and retailer profits. (The store that sells it likes to make money too, you know.)

      All of the other costs you mention would be terrible if they were born by the cost of a single book. But they're printed in batches of thousands at a time, and shipped across the ocean in a single container along with thousands of other containers who are also subsidizing the costs involved. Same for the other trucks, warehouses, and so on. The additional costs, applied to a single book, MIGHT be a buck.

      IOW, you're not being blatantly ripped off.

  • Bah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @08:48AM (#37957432)
    I'm not interested in owning a Nook unless it uses proprietary file formats and locks me into getting ALL my content from Barnes & Noble.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 05, 2011 @09:03AM (#37957532)

    "and a $50 price premium relative to Amazon’s tablet"

    Human beings would say "and is $50 more expensive than Amazon's tablet". You don't have to write in an unnatural way to justify your position as a journalist.

  • by transami (202700) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @09:08AM (#37957564) Homepage

    You can get a Viewsonic g tablet for about the same price and it has more ports:

        http://reviews.cnet.com/tablets/viewsonic-g-tablet/4507-3126_7-34431221.html?tag=mncol;subnav

  • by Lev13than (581686) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @09:10AM (#37957576) Homepage

    Don't forget the Kobo Vox [kobobooks.com] - 7" colour eReader w/ web browser and Android apps for $199. The big advantage of Kobo is that you can run their software on the Kobo, iPad/iPhone, Android, BB, Palm or computer. Each title is fully transportable so you don't need to worry about device lock-in.

  • by slick50 (136573) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @09:11AM (#37957580)

    I wonder what the difference between the "new" one and my existing Nook Color running CyanogenMod?

    • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @10:16AM (#37958086)

      I was wondering why TFS was implying that B&N was introducing a competitor to Amazon Fire, when Amazon Fire was introduced as a competitor to B&N Nook Color. This is just a case of B&N releasing a new product revision to replace their previous model.

      It does look like you get a fair amount for that extra $50. If this leak is to be believed, you get a 1.2ghz dual core processor rather than a 1ghz dual core processor. 1 gig of ram versus 512mb of RAM and 16gb of built in storage versus 8gb. Not to mention slightly more pixels on screen.

      The only two things that Amazon Fire appears to win on are having a stereo head jack and price.

      I would be really tempted to get a B&N Nook Color if these turn out to be correct. Especially if B&N remains so neutral towards jailbreaking their products.

    • by walterbyrd (182728) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @12:53PM (#37959326)

      A few years back, an Android tablet for $249 was a BFD.

      Today, you can get a real Android tablet, with GPS, and cameras, etc., for under $200.

      http://slickdeals.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3500884

      Today, it's silly to fuss with rooting/hacking an ebook reader to get a sub-standard Android tablet. Just buy an Android tablet, it's better, and cheaper.

  • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @09:28AM (#37957696)
    Shouldn't this story run after B&N releases their nook tablet? What's the point of comparing the Kindle Fire to this vapor tablet?
  • by walterbyrd (182728) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @09:30AM (#37957708)

    Why even mess around with something that can only read one format? You can get an 8" Vizio at Costco for $189. Or you can get a Lenovo IdeaPad A1 with GPS for $199.

    Here is my quick-n-dirty review of sub-$300 Android tablets.

    http://slickdeals.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3500884

    • by hedwards (940851) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @10:20AM (#37958104)

      Nook Color is a real Android Table, the only difference is that it's optimized for books. You can install apps like you would on a normal Android tablet. If you really insist upon using stock Android, you can always jailbreak the thing and install it.

      I'm not familiar with the Vizio or IdeaPad, but the build quality on B&N Nooks is quite good. If you look at your list, those cheaper tablets also cut down quite a bit on the specs to do it. Now, I'm sure there are folks that need bluetooth or GPS, but your being a bit obtuse if you don't notice that the cost comes with a significant improvement in performance.

      • by walterbyrd (182728) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @12:39PM (#37959204)

        I have a B&N Color Nook. I have set up to boot from CM7 on a micro-SD chip.

        In some respects, it is an okay tablet. But the performance, especially for web-browser, is not very good. I suspect the the kindle fire is much better for web browsing.

        Also, the B&N Nook Color lacks many features that are common in tablets, such as GPS, or cameras.

        Check the specs, and features, of those cheaper tablets, and compare then to the Nook. You will find the Nook is clearly overpriced.

        The new Nooks at $300 - $350 are a total joke. Spend a little more and get an iPad.

      • by walterbyrd (182728) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @12:55PM (#37959350)

        As I said in a previous post:

        A few years back, an Android tablet for $249 was a BFD.

        Today, you can get a real Android tablet, with GPS, and cameras, etc., for under $200.

        http://slickdeals.net/forums/showthread.php?t=3500884

        Today, it's silly to fuss with rooting/hacking an ebook reader to get a sub-standard Android tablet. Just buy an Android tablet, it's better, and cheaper.

  • by the_humeister (922869) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @09:54AM (#37957896)

    How rootable is the Kindle Fire? It's trivially easy with the Nook Color; that's why I bought one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 05, 2011 @10:34AM (#37958206)

    There is no point in an Australian buying these devices, since it's impossible to download e-books in Australia from either Amaxnone or Barnes&NotNoble.

    How fucked is that?

  • by imunfair (877689) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @10:40AM (#37958244) Homepage

    The deciding factor for me was that the nook was compatible with the library lending systems around here, and the kindle was not. If you pirate your ebooks that isn't an issue obviously, but if you want to check them out online from your local library it's a good thing to look into before purchasing.

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