Gadget PR: Kindle Fire Vs. Nook Color

Nook Color Kindle Fire

There’s a great PR lesson to be learned from the marketing strategy around B&N’s Nook Color: if you cannot beat your competitors in terms of quality, at least be “trendy.” The trendy proposition, in fact, is already a constant in the ways companies are doing business online today. For example, it doesn’t matter what you say, how smart you or what values you can bring along, if you are not on Twitter you are apparently worthless as a communicator… But that’s a different story.

Today, focus on Nook Color for a change, a product that took a small fortune to be developed, and according to some, still behind Amazon’s Kindle in terms of quality and usability. There are a few who say that Nook Color’s screen will not perform under direct sunlight, whereas Amazon’s Kindle will. Also, a price comparison is still in support of the new Kindle Wireless Reading Device, Wi-Fi, 6, while Barnes & Noble Nook Color only gets kudos for its trendy color display.

It is too early to say whether Barnes & Noble has a winner, but they do win the short-term PR war. They managed to have everybody talking about the device in a relatively short term – more that Amazon managed when they first released Kindle.The strategies were not always fair – “a now you see it, now you don’t” link on their website engaged the media into a guessing game. Then the link vanished, to leave way to an announcement focused on children instead. There are companies applying similar strategies, like Apple with their mysterious events… In advertising, this has been for years a common practice.

Is it fair? Everything is fair in love and war… and considering that this is a PR war… Barnes & Noble is a winner.


  1. Mihaela Lica-Butler says

    Again, it is not about Nook’s qualities at all. It is about a PR strategy. I do prefer to read outside, there’s nothing better in fact, than reading a good book in the park. But I don’t expect the skeptics to be romantics. Besides, like you, I prefer the paper items. As an aside, with an iPad in my hand, I couldn’t care less about Kindle and Nook.

  2. Carl Caldwell says

    I’m kinda new to e readers but a long time enjoy-er of laptop computers. I confess I don’t understand the fascination that reviewers have with the ability to use an e reader outside. I’m sure it is an important consideration for those who do want to read outside but I dare say even they, most likely, do more reading inside than out. I sort of get the impression that is is a big NO-NO to even consider using an e reader for any other task than reading a book. To me the ultimate device would be one that would allow me to read books, (I prefer to read inside), perform as a personal computer, perform as a voice and data transceiver, play and record HD movies and be a good quality Camera. (maybe even more tasks that I haven’t thought of). Such a device is in our future! Perhaps much of the animosity that has appeared so rapidly against the Nook color is because it is a small step in this direction and many reviewers seem to resist change of any kind. How can you say the Kindle is a better quality device than the Nook color when you haven’t even seen a real Nook color yet? Usability? Stating that the Kindle is ahead in this category is akin to saying we should all still be watching black and white TV instead of color because a monochrome system potentially has better resolution. Come on reviewers! Ease on into the 21st century. It doesn’t hurt at all.

  3. Mihaela Lica-Butler says

    @Dave, this article was not about Nook Color’s features. And to answer your question: I want to read when I go to the beach. I know, I am one of the few who like to spend time reading outdoors, with my children, who both love to read as well… I guess we are a strange family, who prefers literature instead of TV. But since we are not here to discuss people’s preferences, I really don’t get your anger. Haven’t we decided already that B&N won the PR war? ‘Cos, if I recall correctly, this is what I was writing about.

  4. dave says

    so WHAT if it doesn’t show up well in direct sunlight?? How about you mention that you can’t read a Kindle in very dim or no light????? How many people, when they go to the beach or pool, want to read? How about enjoying the sun and/or their kids?? However, everyone spends a LOT MORE TIME indoors, in dim or no light, where an LCD screen works GREAT.

  5. coolio says

    The Nook Color will not run apps straight out of the Android Market, but that does not mean it cannot run them. In fact, they have done a lot of tests on apps from standard Android smartphones and they pretty much run on Nook Color, which has Android 2.1 under the hood. (The Nook native interface and apps are just standard Android application layers.) Barnes & Noble special Nook SDK runs on top of the standard Android one and gives developers access to exclusive extensions and APIs for the Nook and its interface. So porting Android apps is not difficult. B&N says it is more like optimising them for Nook than porting them. Nook Color screen is supposed to be better (less reflective) for reading than iPad as it’s using a new LG screen with anti-reflection coating.
    It allows to play video, listen to the music, view Office documents and PDF’s.
    If you prefer eInk screen, original Nook is still available.

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