The E Ink screen used by both the Kindle and the Nook gets pretty close to paper. But that also means that you need some sort of light to read it in the dark. Rumors have been flying left and right about a new Kindle design that solves this, but Barnes and Noble has stolen the thunder and beat Amazon to the punch with an updated version of its Nook.
The "Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight," as its called, uses a "patent pending" technology that has LEDs placed around its bezel coupled with an anti-glare surface that helps with uniform lighting. The lighting does affect the battery life negatively, but this shouldn't come as a surprise. With the LEDs on, it cuts the rated life by half down to one month for 30 minutes a day.
The battery life remains unchanged if the LEDs are off. This reduced battery life shouldn't be of much concern to many people. It's still a heck of a lot longer than any iPad or smartphone! The new version is available for pre-orders for $139. The original remains priced at $99. The new version is also about a half an ounce lighter.