The ebook reader market has pretty well settled down into a contest between Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For a while it was the Kindle versus the Nook. Then it was the Kindle Touch versus the Nook Simple Touch. Just lately, it’s been about the Kindle Paperwhite versus the Nook  Simple Touch with Glowlight.

Amazon seems to be winning hands down – but whether you’re a Kindle or a Nook fan – you do have to give B&N some credit for hanging in there. Unfortunately for B&N, and for many consumers who would prefer to have a choice, they do seem to have shot themselves in the foot again.

When B&N were due to release their annual accounts, there were many rumors that the Nook Division was not doing as well as had been predicted. This wasn’t denied by B&N, in fact, some sources within the company suggested that the Nook Division would be shut down, or sold to an outside buyer. Not a smart move.

When the results actually came out, B&N stated that they would be persevering with their Nook hardware. However, it sounded more than a little half hearted – and the damage had been done by then.

E-readers are a fairly new item on the personal electronics scene. It’s no coincidence that Amazon and Barnes and Noble are the two big players. Consumers inherently feel that, as well established booksellers, companies like this will be in the market for the long term.

That gives them the confidence to buy their e-reader hardware secure in the knowledge that their reader will be supported in future – and that there will be a plentiful supply of e-books for use with their electronic kit. Any suggestion that B&N is even willing to consider getting out of the market can only dent that confidence – which is bound to have an impact on sales.

In reality, there’s not all that much to choose from between the technical specifications of the two main e-readers available on the market – or many of the other, smaller, players for that matter. Anyone who has been pondering whether to choose a Paperwhite or a Nook Glowlight must surely be nudged towards the Amazon offering after B&N’s latest gaffe.

It’s not the first time that B&N has got it wrong. After the 2012 festive season sales results were in, where Amazon was upbeat regarding the sales figures for the Kindle Fire and its siblings, B&N was positively downcast and gloomy about the Nook family’s sales returns. They did try to backtrack and be more positive after the initial announcement – but by then, the damage had been done.

Amazon Paperwhite E-Reader

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Kindle Paperwhite vs Nook Glowlight