Kindle vs Nook: how Amazon's e-book reader can win the battle

How Amazon's Kindle e-book reader can change to beat the Barnes & Noble Nook Colour

The Amazon Kindle 3.

The Amazon Kindle 3.

The latest Barnes &Noble Nook e-reader is getting a lot of positive buzz, and for good reason. It's thin and light, has a touchscreen interface that's easy to navigate, and is priced the same (US$139, Wi-Fi) as Amazon's industry-leading Kindle.

Not sure which e-reader to buy? Read our comparison of the Amazon Kindle vs. The Barnes & Noble Nook Colour.

Read our reviews of the Nook Colour and Kindle 3G to make a decision on which is best.

PCWorld's Melissa Perenson gave the second-generation Nook (the new one) four out of five stars in her recent review, and Consumer Reports says Barnes & Noble's e-reader is even better than the Kindle.

What's Amazon to do? Well, in my role as armchair pontificator, I feel compelled to offer Amazon a bit of unsolicited advice. Here are five ways that Amazon can regain the competitive edge in the e-reader race.

1) Optional backlight: Barnes and Noble already offers a Nook with a color screen (US$249), and recent reports suggest Amazon will launch an iPad-style color tablet later this year.

But how about an e-Ink reader with a backlight that you can turn on or off? Kindle's E-paper screen is easier to read outdoors than a glossy backlit display--a fact Amazon stressed in a TV ad last year--but it's nearly impossible to read in low-light environments. An optional backlight would be a competitive advantage, even if it makes the Kindle a bit pricier than its competitors.

2) US$99 price: Yes, Kobo is already selling its Wireless eReader for $99.99, but that's a "while supplies last" deal for a closeout model.

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Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
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