There may have been a new Nook electronic reader announced this week, but it remains to be seen if it's going to help Barnes & Noble make a dent in Amazon's sizable Kindle sales. I see Kindle readers all over the place, and can't remember the last time (if ever) I've seen a Nook reader anywhere. Maybe the head start Amazon got with the early release of the Kindle gave it a jump over the competition. Whatever the reason, a conversation I had in a coffee shop today convinced me that the Kindle has already won the ebook war.
Sitting in the coffee shop I noticed an older gentleman sitting in the comfy chair, raptly reading a book on a Kindle ereader. It's not unusual to see Kindles in these places, but usually in the hands of younger patrons.
I worked away, occasionally glancing over at this guy enjoying what was obviously a good book. After a while the gentleman went and ordered a coffee, and when he sat back down I approached him. I told 'Bernie', not his real name, that I noticed he had a Kindle and asked him how he liked it. I got a long story about how his daughter gave it to him for his birthday a while back, and while he didn't think he'd like reading on a gadget he's finding it to be very good for reading the novels he likes so much.
One of the primary reasons that Bernie took so well to the Kindle was because it is not intimidating. He doesn't feel comfortable with lots of gadgets, but the Kindle is easy and just does what he needs. He admitted he even finds buying books on the device to be simple and a very pleasant experience.
As a certified gadget nut, it was very gratifying to see Bernie get enthusiastic talking about how much he likes his Kindle. It was clear it has become an important part of his life the way he described it. While the process of reading a book is unchanged since Bernie was a kid, the gadgetification of it has made it even more enjoyable in his eyes.
Toward the end of my conversation with Bernie he told me the only thing he doesn't like about the Kindle is that sometimes he finds free time on his hands when he doesn't have the Kindle reader with him. I pointed at his iPhone sitting next to him and mentioned that he doesn't need to always use the Kindle to read Kindle books. I walked him through the simple process of getting the Kindle app installed on the iPhone, and the look on his face when he opened the book he was currently reading was priceless.
"It knows where I am in the book!" Yes, Bernie, and it always will.
Image credit: Flickr user brewbooks