The Kindle vs. the Nook: Two Models of Social Reading

By J. Richard Stevens.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The increased rate of electronic books (eBooks) adoption made headlines around the world in 2010. As dozens of eBook devices and platforms continue to emerge, many different utilizations of interface and functionality have positioned the construct of “book” in differing modes in regards to the relationship between reader and text and the relationship between multiple readers. This article conducts a user-affordance analysis on Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook, finding that the two devices encourage social reading in different ways. The Kindle utilizes an asynchronous, persistent social presence that focuses on contributions to text, while the Nook encourages a synchronous, ephemeral social presence that draws upon the social networking model. These two models promote competing construction of “book,” representing significantly different contexts of cultural exchange. The author concludes with a discussion of the cultural implications of the Kindle’s more privatized social reading experience versus the Nook’s more interpersonal social reading experience.

Keywords: Space, E-publishing, E-books, Media Consumption and Commerce

The International Journal of the Book, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 759.598KB).

Dr. J. Richard Stevens

Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Colorado-Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA

J. Richard Stevens is an assistant professor in Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Stevens’ research delves into the intersection of ideological formation and media message dissemination. This work comprises studies such as how cultural messages are formed and passed through popular media, how technology infrastructure affects the delivery of media messages, communication technology policy, and related studies in how media and technology platforms are changing American public discourse.


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