Would Santa wait for a nook?

Would Santa wait for a nook? Santa would likely say, "I didn't pre-order either".

The nook has all the buzz the Nintendo Wii had a few years ago. It's one of the most-wanted gadgets of Christmas 2009, and there aren't enough to go around. This is great news for Amazon! The nook "fever" has gotten a lot of people interested in eReader devices. Many of those people will put a Kindle under the tree since the nook is nowhere to be found. Remember, every Kindle purchased is going to generate eBook sales for years to come for Amazon. All this buzz has to make the folks at Amazon giddy with holiday cheer.

In addition to the Kindle, Sony has some nicely equipped devices that also embrace some of the open eBook standards (ePub) that drives part of the interest in the Barnes & Noble nook. There are several other eReader devices coming soon. Some of them are clearly more technically advanced than the nook. The question is why do you want a nook - is it worth waiting for? I think if you haven't already bought the Amazon or Sony reader and wrapped it under the tree, the answer is "yes!". You wouldn't want buyer's remorse would you?

Obligatory Comparison Chart

Let's start with a short & simple comparison chart.

Feature

Nook

Kindle

Network Access

Cellular & Wi-Fi

Cellular

Operating System

Linux (Android)

Linux (Custom)

Memory

2GB, Expandable with MicroSD (up to 16GB)

2GB, Not Expandable

Book Sharing

Lend books one time up to 14 days. Share an account on multiple nooks.

Share an account on multiple Kindles.

Display

6 inch E-Ink Display + 3.5 inch color touchscreen for navigation

6 inch E-Ink Display, has keyboard for navigation

Audio Support

MP3 Support, no "read to me" or audiobook support

Can turn qualifying eBooks into audiobooks. Audiobook support.

Applications: Browser, Wikipedia, Dictionary

Dictionary

Browser, Wikipedia, Dictionary

Bookstore

1M books (about half are free books, probably from Google Books). Offers $9.99 for best sellers. 10% restocking fee on 14 day returns.

350K books. Offers $9.99 for best sellers and typically has the lowest book prices. 30 day return policy with no re-stocking fee.

eBook Format Support

ePub, PDF, PDB

AZW, MOBI, PRC, PDF, TXT, TPZ

What's really in the nook's favor?

Santa's Advice?

So at the end of the day you can make a safe bet and get a Kindle, or you can bet on the future and hope B&N opens up the nook platform to run applications. Will the Kindle respond to the nook making it a better platform? You bet! They already announced PDF support last week and I'll bet ePub (non-DRM) support is on the way.  It's the Android platform (and potentially an "app store"), wi-fi, color assist screen and better design that will make the difference for the nook.

I hate to speak for Santa, but I have to think he'd advise putting two hundred and fifty-nine crisp one dollar bills in an envelope labeled "Your Next eReader". Wait until mid January and see what the nook can really do. Will B&N open it up to applications? What will happen with B&N's recent claims of lower eBook prices? If you are really into having an eReader you almost have to wait to try the nook at a local B&N store!

If you are leaning toward a nook I'd recommend to pre-order one now, you can always return it to your local B&N store! The date just slipped to January 15th, and it will probably happen again.

Update...

Some of the reviews are in, check them out.