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What is the Best eReader for Your Child? iPad, Nook, or Kindle

Buyers Beware: Do NOT buy a NOOK!

Buyers Beware: Do NOT buy a NOOK!

Last year for Christmas, my daughter (then eight-years-0ld) received an eReader from her grandparents.  At first, I was not sure how I felt about ebook readers in general, but my daughter, who had been an avid reader up until this point, had been lagging in the literacy department.  Her grandmother thought an eReader would be a great idea, and it was.  It was just what she needed to spark her interest in reading again.  In the course of a year, my daughter read over 100 books on her eReader, that is, until it died this weekend.  This post is motivated by that experience.

Barnes and Noble NOOK eBook Reader DO NOT BUY!

The Nook is the eReader my daughter was given.  From the get go, this eReader has been nothing but trouble.  It required registration at a Barnes and Noble store in order to be used, which is a 2.5 hour drive for us (B & N has since corrected this problem).  It repeatedly got stuck and had to be restored to factory defaults.  Quite often, books purchased on the Nook would not open and had to be sideloaded. This is a work around Nook users have come to think of as normal, if you read the forums, but I still find unacceptable.

After eight months, our Nook developed a crack in the outer bevel plastic.  This was a known issue to B & N, so they replaced our Nook with ease.  Our replacement Nook lasted only five months before the e-ink screen failed.  It is now useless, and B & N refuses to replace the device because the one year warranty on the originally purchased Nook has expired (not even by a month).  As you can I imagine, I am livid!

I find the Nook (when it works) to be very awkward to use. The response time is really slow, especially if you are used to a gadget that actually works, like an iPhone, iPad, or iPod.  It is clunky in its slowness.

If we had had a smooth experience with both of our Nooks, I would think our e-ink failure was just a fluke; however, reading on B & N’s forums, we are not the only one with this problem.  Our Nook has never been dropped; never been abused in anyway.  I expect a device to last longer than five months!   I could not get the technical support supervisor to agree to this statement.  Also, the wait time when you call technical support is usually an hour.  I will no longer support Barnes and Noble.

Ironically, the Nook app for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch is great!  Thankfully we can still access our eBooks purchased from B & N on these trustworthy devices.

Apple iPad

Due to my six-year-old son’s special needs, his school got him an iPad.  This device is so easy to use.  There are so many wonderful learning apps, and it is so intuitive to use the touch screen that even toddlers can figure it out.  Of course, the iPad is more expensive than just a dedicated eReader, and we have yet to really use ours as such.

If the point of getting an eReader for your child is to encourage reading, then the iPad may be more of a distraction.  If you want a device that can do just about everything, than the iPad is definitely the one to buy!

Another thing to consider is the iPad is the only device that is backlit. This may be a good thing if you plan to use it a lot in low light conditions for reading; however, it will cause greater eye strain than e-ink readers.

I have nothing but praise to say about the iPad, and I look forward to the iPad 2 coming out next year, which is rumored to be cheaper than the current models.  It is reliable, and you can not beat Apple’s customer service!

Kindle Wireless Reading Device

We’ve decided to replace my daughter’s Nook with a Kindle.  Since we already have an iPad, it seems best to get a dedicated eReader for her, so she is not distracted by the other apps.  We know several people with Kindles, and no one has expressed any concerns or had any problems.  The Kindle has been out now for four years, so I feel there is not the risk we took with buying the Nook.

I do no have personal experience using the Kindle yet, but I will update this post after we have given it a good run through.  After our experience with the Nook, anything would seem better!

eReaders have been touted as environmentally-friendly because of the paper saved by reading books digitally. That may be true, but if a device lasts only a year, then it certainly is not worth all of the materials and energy used in its production.  Buyer’s beware: Do NOT buy NOOK!


  1. I have to disagree with the nook review. It sounds like you’ve had a bad experience with your nook, but I’ve had mine for 6+ months and I have had no problems with it. I did a lot of research before i decided between the kindle and nook and my final decision came down to epub books I can download free books and also our local library has epub books. I’m very big on library books and the fact that I could read library books on my nook was a very big selling point for me. Also in looking for books to buy there were more then a few that I found Barns and Nobel that Amazon did not have. I am a big Amazon shopper and do prefer their site to Barns and Nobel but I love my nook and I would make the same decision today.

    • Jennifer Lance says:

      I am glad you are having a good experience, but I also hope you bought the extended warranty! Having had two Nooks fail, I can’t really just chalk it up to bad luck.

  2. I also think you have had a bit of bad luck. My wife and I both have had Nooks for over a year now, and we have had none of those issues. We even bought our daughter one in July and her experience has been nothing but positive. Three different Nooks and no problems. My wife and I are planning on upgrading to Nook Colors.

    • Jennifer Lance says:

      If really all it is is bad luck, then I would expect B & N to replace our replacement Nook, since it only lasted five months. I sure wish we would have bought the extended warranty. To have it expire only a couple of weeks before the e-ink failure sucks!

  3. I really don’t understand the part where u had to drive 2.5hrs to get it registered. Y could u not register it online? I’m kinda clueless. I have a nook for a while now & its flawless, u really had bad luck Jennifer not once but twice. B&N should certainly have replaced it for you. I personally feel the Nook is more flexible to use in comparison with amazon kindle. Although both devices have extensive ebook library so it hardly matters if u have one device or the other. I hope u enjoy ur kindle but i wouldn’t recommend ipad or ipod for reading books as they put a lot of stress on eyes because of their lcd screens. There’s a reason eink technology came in to picture. I can read for hours without my eyes getting tired.

    • Jennifer Lance says:

      We had one of the first Nooks. It was preordered. B & N shipped them without realizing registration had to be done on Sprint 3G not wifi. No 3G around here in the mts. It was the first bug in the system. It is not the case anymore. We were able to register our replacement Nook via wifi at home.

  4. Thanks for your review on the following reading devices. I was also thinking of Nook, some may have good experiences with it, but just to be cautious and not to go to all the troubles that you’ve been through, I’ll go for that Kindle wireless.

    Hope to read more of your blog. Thanks for sharing and wish you a great year ahead of you.

    • And that’s how u make a decision about a electronic device? I am sure u cant go wrong with kindle coz it certainly is a great device but the fact that u decided to go against nook based on someone’s personal blog is just hilarious to me. It’s like i should stop driving on Interstate 80 coz my neighbor met an accident there last week… lol.. Go to the store, pick the device in hand, play with it & then decide if u want Nook or Kindle or nething else for that matter. I think that’s how our brain works, a million +ve reviews wont do as good as 1 -ve would.

      I wonder wat would u do now after reading this article….


  5. Appreciate your review of these products. Also, really enjoy all your posts!

  6. As others said too bad you had problems. However kids handling delicate devices may be more the issue instead of B&N’s Nook. You took a risk when you bought a 1st generation device which usually has to work out the bugs before they become a solid dependable device. I too just took the same risk with color Nook, and am very happy with the features and expanded usability, but I also understand that my nearly $300 purchase (including cover and anti-glare protective film) may fizzle before I get the 2+ years expected life span. Did I buy a extended warranty NO, $300 is not a huge investment, and if the dang thing is a dude I will just move on to something better. You feel you moved on to something better buying the Kindle. What surprises me is how many Kindle user who have owned all the versions of Kindle report they purchased a Nook either classic or color and give rave reviews, indicating that either the classic or color nooks are superior to the Kindle.

    Last point, I like to call it your turn in the barrel, it is the luck of the draw in product reliability/service experience. You, me and everyone will eventually be unfortunate and buy a product that will fail and not provide the expected service life, it happens. Your proclamation that the Nook is a lemon and don’t buy it, may be sound logic for you but actually runs contrary to almost every single professional review, and certainly is the opposite opinion posted by Nook owners on Nook forums, and Amazon poster giving it 4 stars, and the color Nook 4 1/2 stars the same as the Kindle.

    • Jennifer Lance says:

      I agree there is a risk purchasing a first generation product, especially from a company not known for electronics. As far as my daughter handling the Nook, as I mentioned in the post, my son has a 1st generation iPad. He is six-years-old (three years younger than sis). He takes it back and forth to school everyday. There has never been any problems with it at all! I’ve never even had to reset it, like I have my iphone. My daughter never abused the Nook in anyway. It has it’s own special bag, and she has been so responsible about it. Now she has to finish reading Tom Sawyer for school on her tiny iPod touch using the Nook app. Thanks Barnes and Noble.

      • WHY THE HECK DOSE YOUR 6 YEAR OLD HAVE A IPAD!?!?!?! Im sorry but thats just sad. What is the world comeing to i dont have an ipad, laptop or a smart phone and im a 13 year old girl!! This is just sad

  7. Deanna Herald says:

    I’ve enjoyed your posts in the past and hope you get back to real reviews soon; rather than the venting that this post seems to be. Perhaps there is another more appropriate forum for personal venting, such as twitter or facebook. As for whether you will enjoy the Kindle, I believe that you will find the Kindle to be clunky slow also. The e-ink will be clunky slow on any e-paper device, because of the limitations of the technology.

  8. Hello, Jennifer… been a while since we chatted. I appreciate your review; reading the comments has also been interesting. I disagree with the last post saying you should not “vent” here. I don’t consider what you are doing as venting, but as fully sharing your own experience and conclusions, and even anger or disappointment. No matter what you or any other reviewer states, I would still look at a number of other sources, as well as attempt to try the device in-person.

    One more thing I will add is that we seem to live in a society where too many matters are presented as relative, or “perspective-based”, without a solid statement of values or conclusions. Newspapers, such as the New York Times, often provide the illusion of objectivity which really means they do almost no in-depth investigation, and avoid offending the public by offering only watered-down articles with watered-down insight. I find this kind of misleading “objectivity” to be almost as bad as the outright distortions of the “Fair and Balanced” camp of Fox Corporation. Instead, let each of us do her or his best to determine reality and then voice it, loud and clear. I believe that is what you have done in this case.

    • Jennifer Lance says:

      Thanks David! I think blogs have become more popular in this age of new media because they are more personal, and usually people are not afraid to voice their opinions, including commenters. If I can save even one person from the disappointment we have experienced, then I feel this post was worth it.

      PS: We did check out my neighbor’s kindle before ordering one.

  9. Hi, i have had a kindle. Let me tell you about my exprence with this device. Bought 7 kindle device under one month. All 7 kindle device froze on me. I had to call the company about my exprience. The only thing they told me it was because it was out of date. So i went to best buy because there was were i bought the kindle and told them what had happen to my device. So they went and tray it for another kindle device. So what i did i open the box and buy all the information they ask for. I did it infront of one of the managers of best buy so he could see that i was not doing anything wrong it just froze in front of his eyes. So he call the company and they told him the samething that they told me. About 3 hours trying to figure out what was wrong they offer me the Nook for free and gave me my money back from the kindle device. Let me tell you about it i had the nook about 10 months already and i just love it. I had no major issue with my nook. If i have a question about something I just walk to barns & nobles and they just help me out. Plus every 1st and 3rd monday of the month 7pm to 9pm the employes from barns and nobles offer free class or a group gather and show you how to work and used your Nook device. They are great and i live in houston tx. In christmas my husband bought me the ipad because he shaw that i had bought books from kindle. He also saw that i was upset about it because amazon would not give me a refound so that why he bought me a ipad, so i could download kindle application and i did. When i download the kindle application all my books that i had bought were there.
    I also download the nook application and borders application. Let me tell you about my expreinces it been amazing. Its been a month now that i have my ipad and i have alot of books. I just love my ipad to dead. I also have education application like the tracing ABC and numbers for my 4 yr old twins dauther and this application had help them to improve there handwriting. There teacher are amaze with their handwriting. Now im planning to give my nook to one of my nice because she loves to read and stay with the ipad. I love my nook buy i love more my ipad it is worth the cost.

    • cristina says:

      I came across this site searching for reviews for a ereader for my sons birthday. He already loves to read an ereader would make it easier for him to read all the more. I still haven’t decided yet. Thanks for all the reviews and experiences.

  10. Frank JN says:

    Your slamming of the Nook is unfair and outdated. The Nook has issued 2 software updates since your experience. The updates make for faster page turns and worked out initial bugs. My son and I are happy with our Nooks and use them more than our iPads for reading books.

  11. If you are buying a dedicated e-reader for you child than Kindle is the best standard setting eBook reader. Pearl technology and battery life alone suffice to go for Kindle than Nook.

    • Jennifer Lance says:

      I agree completely! We have had not a single problem with the kindle, and the battery lasts so much longer than the Nook. It’s so nice to have a device that works as intended, no matter the age of the user.

    • I dissagree compleatly. I have a nook color and i love it. I am 12. It is the BEST Christmas presant ever. I think the nook is better than the kindle because
      1. Nook lend me feture flawless
      2. More books
      3. I can go to the BandN store any time and get help. Unlike with Amozon
      4. The nook is just planly prettyer. The kindle keybord looks like a old coculater
      Thats why i picked Nook over kindle.

      • I have been trying to decide between the two devices and came across this thread. I generally don’t respond, just read, but felt compelled after reading Kittie’s comment. At twelve, at child should truly be able to spell and write better than this. Especially one who supposedly reads so often. I mean no harm, but my eight year old does better. No wonder our children are so behind in education.

  12. I read that the nook does better than the kindle for reading mathematical texts, I saw that on http://www.topereader.co.uk I am looking for an ebook reader to use at school, I am a physics and mathematics undergraduate. Any recommendations?

  13. I disagree with this person on the Nook, I have a Nook Color and an iPad and use both. The Nook is my perfect companion for my daily commute. I read the Times, Newsweek and other magazines as well as the books I have seamlessly downloaded. Regarding the crack in the shield: to my knowledge I have never had any device that had a crack in its screen, I have heard stories about these things happening but always due to mishandling the device, so I have my doubts on this story. I also use the Nookbook to read stories to my 2 year old and he loves it (dr. Seuss).

  14. Wow! I am SO sorry you had so many issues with your nook. My daughter and her friends, my best friend, and I all have the original nook. My mom has the color. None of us have had any issues at all. And let me tell you, we are pretty rough with our ereaders. We are travelers and hikers and the nook has prevailed though it all. With that in mind, I have seen the ipad in use and it was pretty awesome. If I ever want an ereader for something other then reading, I’m going for that.

  15. eReaders have been touted as environmentally-friendly because of the paper saved by reading books digitally. wholesale eReaders …

  16. Great! Now I have no idea what to get for my 10yr old! Nook gd – bad/ kindle not this, not that, Ipad to expensive!!!! Ahhhh! I just want him to get a reliable travel reader that he can also play games and maybe watch movies on??!

  17. I also disagree with the bad reviews on the Nook. I got my NookColor about 6 months ago, use it daily, my kids use it, and we’ve had no problems whatsoever. We love it.

  18. cool i like to nook on my ipad

  19. I have the same e-ink issue. I am also just outside the 1yr and B&N will not replace it, saying the e-ink screen failure is damage on my part. My nook is in a case and I rarely use the device. I turned it on one day and the screen was done for. Looking on forums, once a nook 1st gen hits the 1yr its 90% likely to have the screen failure. It makes me sad, and worse still a day before my screen went bad I bought a new nook book and B&N refuses to refund me the book…i cant read the book but I guess im not entitled for my $10 or a replacement nook due to an obvious nook defect.

    • Jennifer Lance says:

      That sounds just like our experience. The first generation Nooks were rushed for the Christmas market before they were ready, in my opinion. Our Kindle, we got as a replacement, is so reliable and easy to use.

  20. I have published six–nearly seven–ebooks for children on Amazon.com, and am always looking for new ways to reach young readers . I was thrilled to see your article about this age group’s use of the ereaders, and would appreciate any advice you might have to offer about marketing.

    I intend to add my books to Barnes and Noble’s list beginning in March when my exclusive 90-day agreement with Amazon expires. What I think I need is a list of internet bulletin boards, parent and/or teacher forums, or the like on which to advertise.

    Any ideas?

  21. WOW! So confused now, too many people are talking about the good/bad features of the Kindle & Nook! I would have to go play with it. Thanks all!

  22. Im sorry but no one has yet convenced me that the nook is a bad product. Or that the kindle is better

    • Rachael says:

      I am completely with you Kittie. I have several friends who have Nooks and they all rave about them. Several have switched from Kindle to Nook and couldn’t be happier…There are ALWAYS those reviews against a product and most the time it comes down to bad luck, I never let those reviews deter me unless there are tons which in this case everyone I know rave about the Nook, Ill be getting my daughter a Nook.

  23. I’m not sure on what is the best, nook,Kindle, or I pads?
    But I do Write children books and The nest that could fly could be purchased for all above. just look up William sawyers Amazon, I Book store, and Barnes & Nobles.
    rated for third grade up to Grand parents.
    great for parents, grandparents, teachers and baby sitters as we’ll.

    I’m helping out local schools in my area from profits from my published books.

  24. I also have a child with special needs. She is nonverbal and i was wanting a device that would read, play music, games, and could also be used as a talking pecs device to help her communicate better out side close family and friends.

  25. I would normally not comment on a blog post from over a year ago but interestingly this post ranks high in Google so others might continue to stumble across it. We own three Nooks, about to buy the new Nook with Glowlight. I can’t say enough good things about them. My 9 year old kids each have a NookColor (we purchased these for their 8th birthday before a long international trip so they’d have the ability to read and play games on 20 hour plane rides). My kids have often used their NookColors without any sort of screen covers or Nook covers and those things have been around the world twice, with nary a scratch or any other problem. Since B&N isn’t international, we do need to load them up before we go but with the exception of one book that wouldn’t load one time on Oahu, I’ve never had any problem with any of them. My husband has an iPad (which he also loves) and he’s able to ready all my Nook library using a Nook for iPad app. B&N is GREAT to work with and have helped troubleshoot the several minor things that have come up on my Nook 1st edition. I did several weeks of reserach and comparative shopping before I bought my Nook and am so happy we went with a trio of Nooks. I highly recommend them to children and grownups alike. I also really enjoy my B&N reader’s community. All in all, very successful for our family.

  26. Hi there,

    I was interested in this blog because it was titled “What is the Best eReader for Your Child?”. Durability, ease of use, cost etc. are all very important but my concern is access to the internet. I did not see any mention of this.

    Isn’t anyone concerned about the internet content your child may have access to? Excuse my ignorance but I bought an e-reader a few years back for nu Godson and his Mom would not let him use it as he needed Wi-Fi access and she did not know how to monitor this on the device.

    My children are ages 10 and 14. I have parental controls on the family computer. Can anyone shed some insight on this aspect of e-readers for kids?

  27. I am researching the affects of an e-reader the health of children. My concern is related to how much exposure to electronic devices is safe and how much is unsafe. I want my kids to read as much as possible, but don’t want to encourage eye strain or other health issues that may be related to long term exposure. Any MD thoughts out there.

  28. My 7 year old son is Autistic. I was looking for something to help him with his reading. He is really struggling. I have a Kindle Fire and LOVE IT! Any suggestions for my son? I don’t have a lot of experience with the Nook, but my son teacher said not to get it. The books and apps are way more expensive then the Kindle.

  29. Thank you for your blog. I am looking into e-readers and found your post informative and helpful. I also think you do not deserve the negative comments you are getting! Keep up the good blogging.


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