Thursday, January 5, 2012

Apples & Oranges

I was ready for a barrage of Kindle Fire owners dissing my post which said that the reason the Fire is so popular is that the media mention it, but not the Nook Tablet.  I was specifically presenting the proposition that it is not necessarily a product's  merit that determines it success.  It is how frequently that  a product is mentioned in supposedly unbiased news stories. Some companies are considered newsworthy.  Others aren't.  The ones that are get mentioned in the media if they so much as hiccup.
It seems to me, in terms of logical argumentation that (1) a commenter would have to be able to show that the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet received equal or nearly equal media coverage.  Or, (2)they could, if they've used both devices, refute my contention that the Kindle Fire wasn't as good as the Nook Tablet, although, thanks to the media blitz, the Fire is outselling the Nook.

When one comments on a proposition, one does not bring in extraneous information. In other words, one doesn't compare apples with oranges.  Apparently that basic rule of reasoning is not so basic as I thought.  Before proceeding, I have to lay out what my post was   about.

First, I was specifically talking about 7" color Tablets with dedicated eReaders built in to them.  These display 16,000,000 colors and a plethora of pixels,  thus  displaying awesome, brilliant  pictures. They also have  web browsers in them, emails, a variety of Apps including those that stream movies,  music players, games, and, in the Nook Tablets, photos and movies  downloaded from one's computer.  Amazon allows you to email documents to the Fire rather than directly downloading them via a USB cable as the Nook does..  Apparently, either of these methods of transferring files is satisfactory. 

These 7" color tablets range in price from $144-$249.  The lowest price is the upgraded NOOKcolor bought with a Barnes and Noble membership.  The $249 is the 16 gig Nook Tablet without the $25 members discount.  The Fire and the Nook Tablet (8gig) are both $199, although Barnes and Noble has "deals" in which, if you buy a subscription to the NY Times, they lower their prices dramatically.
I was specifically not talking about  Amazon's 3 Kindles or the first 3 Nook readers. None of these are tablets.  None of those display pictures.  They all use what is known as Ink technology. They are far lighter than the Tablets and can do nothing except display text and look up definitions.  If you prefer one of these devices, and there are good reasons to, that is fine,  but it has nothing to do with the media blitz that Amazon was given gratis for its Fire tablet.  My husband prefers his  Kindle Touch and  Nook Touch,  because they are simple and very light. But this is beside the point of my posting.  Not everyone wants a Tablet .  Some prefer the simpler eReaders.  However, I was talking about Tablets and the people who are buying them and why they're buying the ones they are
One reader responded with the information that she bought a Nook, but not the "fancy" ones, then went on to say she wished she'd bought the Kindle because it had more books that she liked than Barnes and Noble did,  that Amazon books are cheaper, and you don't have to pay sales tax on them. That's fine, but it had nothing to do with my post.   First, she didn't buy a Tablet, so she wasn't addressing the relative merits of the Fire or the Nook Tablet.  Second, no media reports have claimed that either vendor surpassed the other in book selection, nor did I mention that as it has no bearing on the issue of the media's role in sales.

Barnes and Noble claims over 2,500,000 eBooks for sale, plus 1,000.000 free eBooks.   Amazon boasts of over 1,000,000 eBooks, and also has free ones.  I don't doubt that a given book might not be available in one or the other format, but how often this occurs, no media outlet that I could find says.  Moreover, none of the media reports hawking the Amazon Fire mentioned the numbers of books available, much less the genres of books or their prices. Personally, I buy both Kindle and Nook books. They're usually the same price.   Both Amazon and Barnes and Noble have websites which list all the books and all the genres of books which each has for sale. Before investing in any eReader, it seems to me one should visit these web sites and search for the kinds of books one wants. That is a sensible reason to invest in one or the other.

However, book selection and prices are not germane to my post.  That was about the media giving free publicity to Amazon and the concomitant fact that this publicity, in itself, sells. We think we are free agents when we buy things, but we aren't.  People, in the main, buy what the media touts.  The media makes certain brands familiar and, because they've been singled out for mention, the unconscious feeling is that they must be good.  And they may be good, but my point is that whether or not they are, if they're  hyped in the media, they will sell.  After all, companies spend millions of dollars on advertising because if people hear about and see a product, they're more likely to buy it.  Free media reports of a product have the same effect.

To me, how an eReader performs is of most importance in a tablet.  I willingly pay the sales tax on Nook books for the joy of reading on Nook Tablets.  In evaluating each tablet, I did consider its eReader.  That is pertinent to my discussion of media  mention and product success because the eReader in the Fire is greatly inferior to both  Nook Tablets. That argued to the merit of each tablet.

The media emphasizes  that the Fire is only $199, and they tout it as competition to the 10" iPad, which it is not.  Neither are the Nook Tablets.  They are 7" color tablets with no phones or cameras and can't get iPad's apps.   Rather, they have Android apps. The 7" tablets can't access iTunes, but they can get music.  With an iPad, you can have both a Kindle App and a Nook app.  Also, there are far more apps for the iPad than for the Fire or the Nook.  An iPad costs between $500 and $800. The tablets under discussion range from $144 to $249.  Obviously, the iPad has more than either the Fire or the Nooks. To imply that the Fire is an alternative to the iPad, as many articles have, is, to me, deceptive.

Finally, Barnes and Noble publishes over 1000 Vooks, Enhanced Edition books with embedded audio, video, and animation in them.  They play on both the NOOKcolor Tablet and the Nook Tablet, but not on the Fire.These Vooks the greatest change in the book since Gutenberg. Just think, if I were writing a book on linguistics, I could have audio clips for people to hear dialect differences, and videos of body motion and  in interactions, but only on  Nook Tablets. They're not available on the Fire.

My reader clearly missed the point of my post.  She did what so often people do with a point of contention.  She cited matters that were not germane to the post she was  ostensibly commenting on.  She compared apples with oranges.  I do not quarrel with her choice of eReader. I sympathize with her reasons for wishing she'd bought a Kindle. I think she should buy one, especially since she finds more books on Amazon that she wants to read. If she were to buy a 7" tablet, clearly the Fire should be her choice.  The same is true of Sextant, who usually has witty and trenchant comments.  I'm glad you like your Kindle. I wasn't invalidating anybody's experiences with their eReaders.  I wasn't even talking about the Ink based eReaders like the black and white Kindles or  Nooks.  What pertinence do those personal experiences have to my article on 7" Tablets and the media? 

I know I'm blunt.  I'm open. I love getting comments on what I've written about.  I don't mind negative comments. I thrive on them. However, the comments should be relevant to the posts.


Sextant said...

In defense of those of us who commented, I did not get the impression that we were refuting what you said about the Nook Tablet, vs the Kindle Fire, vs the iPad, but rather simply relating our own experience which in both of our cases happened before you wrote your post. Although I can not speak for the other person who commented. I have no idea how long they have owned their unit, but I doubt they purchased after you wrote your post.

I can not address the availability of books for either device, other than when I was comparing before I bought my Kindle, Amazon had more books that I read at better prices. What the situation is today, I can not say, but it appears that this person could not find the books that they wanted. Your experience is that the books you read are available, but that does not invalidate their experience.

Again, I don't feel that anything we said was refuting your arguments to the superiority of the Nook tablet to the Kindle Fire, I believe we were simply relating our own experience within the overall family of devices.

Evelyn said...

I also think your criticism of the commenters is off the mark. (For the record, there is something strange happening with your blog right now, and (at least for me) no posts between this one and June 20, 2011 are visible, so I cannot see what the post in question and comments were.)

I don't think that people's comments on blog posts are required to address exactly the points in a post. Your post was about one kind of Kindle versus one kind of Nook, and people responded with their reasons for buying one or the other. This is related, although it isn't related to the point you had about media and mentioning that was the larger content of your post. But I don't think most people treat blog posts and comments as a debate where just one topic needs to be addressed and tangentially related material is considered a distraction. I think people see it more as a conversation. If I were in a conversation with you where you mentioned that you thought the Nook Tablet was better than the Kindle Fire, I don't think it would be bizarre for me to say why I had bought my first-generation Nook or Kindle, if I had one. That's how conversations work. I think when you say that the book selection was not germane to your post, you are treating the post as a narrowly-focused debate rather than a conversation.

I know that many of my comments on your blog (and others) have to do with a tiny example you mention, or a slightly related topic, and I have never thought that they were inappropriate, or showed a lack of understanding of the content of the post. It's simply my way of engaging in conversation.

Terry Chase FL said...

You don't need to publish this one. It's for you only.
Not that it matters, but while one CAN email documents to Kindles, they can also upload them via USB cable. The process of emailing is to CONVERT documents that aren't in one of the formats recognized by Kindle to one that is. If it's already a doc, jpg, etc., it can be uploaded directly OR emailed. Several other of your comments about what the Fire can't do are wrong but I'm sure not intentionally so. I think it's because you didn't have the Fire in your possession to explore all that it can do, and POSSIBLY, you were a teeny bit biased in favor of the Tablet as I am in favor of the Fire. A few days side-by-side does not make up for long term usage and discovering all it can do. Personally, I don't have a Tablet, but the Fire is superior to the Color. It's faster, not quirky, has a lighter touch, moves to the internet more easily.... Not that the Color isn't great, it certainly is, and B&N beat the socks off Amazon when they introduced the Color--and I'm sure its shortcomings were addressed in the Tablet. Just that you might want to ask yourself if you were more familiar with the Fire if you would trash is so confidently.
By the way, whether it's the power of mentioning or what, the Tablet sells well. It sells about 2/5 as many as the Fire. It's still doing well, and as you know, B.&N features it in its bookstores whereas, despite all the mentionings, Amazon does not have a successful point-of-purchase place to demonstrate its devices. B&N has attendants to sell and demonstrate its devices. Whether that makes up for mentionings, I don't know, but people who go into bookstores can see, touch, play with the Tablet while the Fire has to be bought on spec.
Love to you, and remember, this is for YOU, not for the postings.