A while ago, I bought a Nook. The e-reader that is/isn’t/is/isn’t being discontinued, if you read the technology news. At the moment, apparently it ISN’T being discontinued, although the basic model is no longer being sold in the USA.
I own a Kindle as well, but until recently I haven’t done much reading on either device. In the last few weeks though, I’ve got back into books a bit, and it reminded me there’s a post I’ve meant to write on here, for ages, that I haven’t got around to until now, about the quite large price differences between the Kindle store and the Nook store.
I’m only going to compare those two, because they’re the two that my e-readers connect and buy directly from without needing a computer. There are other places where you can buy books for the Nook online, but I’m not including anything that involves getting a laptop out, going to a different website, buying something, downloading it, opening it in some Adobe copy-protection software which has the worst interface ever designed (Digital Editions – eugh), plugging the e-reader into the computer with a usb cable, transferring it off, unplugging it again….there’d actually be less steps involved in me getting my mobile out my pocket, buying the paperback version from Amazon and having it posted to me.
So lets see how much some books sell for on the Kindle and Nook. I’ve chosen a few different sorts of books, and a mixture of things that are current bestsellers, have-been bestsellers, and things that I’ve just thought of. For ease, I’ll put the cheapest one of each, in bold (or both, when they match).
1. Nigella Lawson – Nigella Express
Kindle price: 6.99
Nook price: 9.99
Amazon paperback: 12.72
Quite a price difference there.
2. David Allen – Getting Things Done
A book about improving your productivity.
Kindle price: 6.49
Nook price: 6.49
Amazon paperback: 8.37
3. John Gray – Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus
Kindle price: 4.00
Nook price: 6.00
Amazon paperback: 6.29 (not 100% sure this is the right price, as there is so many different editions of this book in physical form.)
4. Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection
(Chosen because it was the first result when I searched for “Mary Berry”. I own several of Mary’s books and bought one a few months ago.)
Kindle price: 6.99
Nook price: 9.99
Amazon hardback: 13.40 (there is a paperback version, but it’s an older edition, and I don’t want to compare apples to oranges.)
(That price disparity seems to continue for Mary Berry’s other books too.
5. “Ultimate Cake Book” is 6.99 on Kindle, 9.99 on Nook (11.89 paperback).
6. “Simple Cakes” is 5.03 on Kindle, or 7.99 on Nook (7.69 paperback).
7. “Baking Bible” is 11.88 on Kindle, 12.99 on Nook (12.50 hardback).
8. “Mary Berry at Home” is only 2 pence cheaper on Kindle (8.03 vs 8.05), but regardless, every single book I tried of hers, is cheaper.) (10.00 hardback)
9. The Atheist’s Guide to Christmas – Ariane Sherine
(I bought it for myself when it was on sale a while ago. And a paper copy as a gift.)
Kindle price: 2.48
Nook price: 2.99
Amazon paperback: 6.29
Nook do seem to be price-matching some best sellers.
10. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is 99p on both.
As I was typing it, I accidentally typed “theif”, then realised, and spelt it correctly. Interestingly though, if you search for “the book theif” on Nook, you get NOTHING. No results for you, if you put the i and e the wrong way around. If you spell it perfectly, the book you’re looking for is on the third page of results.
Not only does the Kindle find it at result no.1 even if you spell it wrong, it also autosuggests as you pick the letters, so you won’t get as far as that word anyway, because “the b” is enough for it to know what you want. (That book is 5.59 as a paperback from Amazon.)
Some more bestselling books (I used a combination of Nook’s and Kindle’s bestseller lists and searched for each on the other) that are the same price, include:
11. Kate Atkinson – Life After Life is 99p on both. (£3.50 paperback)
12. Daniela Sacerdoti – Take Me Home is 69p on both. (£7.19 paperback)
13. Dani Atkins – Fractured – 59p on both. (£5.59 paperback)
14. Nathan Filer – The Shock of the Fall – 99p on both. (£3.85 paperback)
15. Soloman Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave, is an oddity.
On Nook, there’s a “Twelve Years a Slave (film tie in)”, which is 4.99 and a “12 Years a Slave” which is 2.99. AND a “Twelve Years a Slave: A True Story (Collins Classics)” also by Solomon Northup (so not an unofficial alternative as far as I can see) for 99p. What’s the difference between all these? No idea, so I’m going to take the 99p one as the price.
It’s similarly complicated on Kindle, but either way, the version on Kindle that has the highest sales count and the most reviews (presumably the one you would want if you were interested in this story) is currently 37p.
(The paperback version of that edition is 2.50.)
16. Philomena by Martin Sixsmith, is currently:
2.69 on Kindle,
3.59 on Nook.
3.80 on paperback from Amazon.
17. Eric Lomax – The Railway Man
Kindle store: 3.49
Nook store: 4.99
3.80 on paperback from Amazon. £1.19 cheaper than Nook’s digital version.
18. Jordan Belfort – The Wolf of Wall Street
3.80 Amazon paperback.
19. Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Autobiography
Weirder than the price difference there, is that the German-translation version of it on the Nook store is only 4.89. Why would the German version be so much cheaper?
20. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1):
Amazon paperback: 3.80
21. The Hairy Dieters Eat for Life: How to Love Food, Lose Weight, and Keep it Off for Good!
Continuing the theme of cookery books costing quite a lot more on Nook, there.
Amazon paperback: 7.00
22. No Tears for the Clown: The autobiography of Les Dawson?
(Really? That’s a real book? Well, regardless):
Seems to be tricky to get paperback or hardback, but prices start second hand from 2.81 (incl postage which is unavoidable because it’s not stocked by Amazon.)
23. David Jason: My Life
7.00 hardback, paperback 6.99.
The Nook version is over 40% more than the physical hardback edition.
24. Gary: The Definitive Biography of Gary Barlow, by Sean Smith
Hardcover: 5.00 (and the paperback is 6.60, bizarrely – I couldn’t work that out.)
After a lot of searching, I found ONE book that was cheaper on the Nook.
25. Alice Walker – The Color Purple:
Actually I’m having to assume that they’re both the same book. Bizarrely, it’s in the top 10 of the bestseller list on Kindle with 165 reviews, yet doesn’t have a single review on the Nook. Which would seem odd. While the bestseller lists wouldn’t match exactly, surely the 6th best selling Kindle book would have SOME reviews on the Nook?
(Paperback cost: 5.59)
So there you go.
Almost every book is either cheaper or the same price on Kindle. Out of 25 separate books from fiction, self-help, cookery, autobiography, and other categories, it is cheaper or the same price on the Kindle in 24 cases. Well done, Amazon.
While I can imagine there might be a slight price difference, I think it’s too much. Amazon cornered the real world physical book market not just because of the convenience, well designed website, reviews, and the efficient delivery (who hasn’t ordered something from Amazon at 7pm and got it the following morning?), but because they’re cheap.
Also, there’s long since been the argument from consumers that digital books should be cheaper than physical books (and yes, they should, even if only fractionally because of the lower distribution cost), and Amazon appear to be doing this quite well.
You’d have a very eclectic taste if you did, but in case you were interested, if you were to buy all 25 of the above books, the total cost would be:
On Kindle: 102.60
On Nook: 135.32
In the cheapest physical form (whether that be paperback or hardback) from Amazon (or second-hand from Amazon marketplace, in the case of #22, where it appears to be out of print in a physical form): 170.30.
Neither device is perfect I should add. I find clickable indexes and contents pages to be missing from a lot of Amazon’s cheaper/independent books (this seems better on the Nook), and the Nook is better at displaying .pdf files. But I’ve bought quite a few books recently, and they all open and don’t crash on me on the Kindle, unlike the issues I was having with the Nook ones and documented in a previous post.