How to Choose the Best eReader

I am frequently asked which eReader is the best, or which eReader I think a patron should buy. The answer is unsatisfying, but true : you need to understand the different models available and then buy the eReader that is the best fit for YOU. Just like there are many different genres, there are many different brands and models of eReaders. Readers must understand their own reading habits and budget, and then explore the different options in the eReader market. And the market changes constantly and rapidly.

Elements of eReader Choices

Compatibility Does the device work with the public library software? Wisconsin libraries use the Overdrive media vendor. You can see if your device is compatible by going to this link:
Readability  Can you easily read the text in different lighting?
Navigation  Are you able to change the screen orientation? Can you easily go to different pages in the book? Can you place bookmarks or notes in the text?
Battery Life How long does the battery last before you must plug it in to recharge? Keep in mind that color screens consume more energy and may need to be plugged in more often.
Size & Weight How heavy is too heavy for you? Do your wrists easily get tired? Do you want a larger screen to play games? Most eReaders weigh between 5.9 oz – 19 oz. Screen range in size from 5.9 – 6 inches.
Cost How much are you willing to spend? Costs range from $80 – $200.

There are more factors that can weigh in on eReader selection, but I feel that these are the most important ones.

According to Consumer Reports, as of December 2011, the most recommended eReader is the Nook Simple Touch eReader, and the next highest rated eReaders are the different Kindle Keyboard versions. To read the full Consumer Report, click on this permalink; you will be asked to login with your library card number.

You should also be aware of the differences between eReaders and Tablet computers. Read on for a brief summary of their differences.

eReader vs. Tablet

An eReader is a stand alone device that focuses on the action of reading, but often has additional perks such as simple games and a basic web browser.

  • Examples: Kindle, Nook, Kobo, Sony
  • Lower price (than Tablets)
  • Portable
  • Long battery life
  • Easier reading in bright light

A Tablet is a computer-like device offers much more in addition to reading. It also contains a full web browser and games and other apps.

  • Examples: iPad, Kindle Fire, Nook Color, Nook Tablet
  • Bigger screen
  • Touch screen navigation
  • Color screen

About shortlibrarian

I am a woman working in the Twin Cities as a programming Librarian.
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