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Nook vs. Kindle Fire


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The Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet
The Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet
Courtesy Barnes & Noble

Customers who purchase a Kindle Fire get a month-long trial of Amazon's preferred customer program called Amazon Prime. Amazon Prime members enjoy perks like free two-day shipping on orders from Amazon's warehouses. They also have access to digital assets like Amazon Prime videos, which include TV shows and movies that may not be found on other streaming services. If you're a Netflix or Hulu Plus customer, you can download apps to access those services on a Kindle Fire as well. After the month-long trial, customers will have to pay a $79 fee to keep their Prime memberships valid.

The Nook Tablet also supports apps from services like Hulu Plus and Netflix. But Barnes & Noble doesn't have a service comparable to Amazon Prime. The company does offer free trials with several providers, including video and audio services. Ultimately, you'll have to pay up to keep your access to the programming.

Another benefit to being an Amazon Prime member is access to a digital lending library. Amazon has more than 140,000 titles in its lending library that you can access for free. And with this library, you don't have to worry about late fees -- you can keep a title for as long as it's available within the library, assuming you maintain your Amazon Prime membership. Amazon carries around 1 million electronic books in its Kindle book store for purchase [source: Amazon].

Barnes & Noble offers more than twice as many electronic books as Amazon. According to the company, there are more than 2.5 million titles in its electronic bookshop [source: Barnes & Noble]. While there's no lending library feature on the Nook Tablet, Barnes & Noble does offer some titles for free every Friday. If you plan on using your tablet primarily to read books, the advantage may swing firmly to the Nook Tablet.

That's what your choice boils down to -- how you'll use your tablet. If you want to watch a lot of video and you enjoy online shopping, it's hard to argue against the Kindle Fire with its wide choice for media options and Amazon Prime perks. If you're an electronic bookworm, the Nook Tablet will give you access to the world's largest electronic bookstore. If you just want an inexpensive Android tablet with all the bells and whistles, you could avoid the question entirely and order a Nexus 7 tablet instead. Which features do you find to be the most important?