ZAGREB , CROATIA - 30 DECEMBER 2015 - Amazon Kindle e book reader on the pile of books, product shot

dean bertoncelj /

When computers became household essentials, it seemed like book reading might become a thing of the past. Now thanks to E-books, it’s very much a thing of the present. For those who have been living in the library for the last decade or so, Ebooks are electronic books. E-book readers are the devices used to read them on (not the people who read them – the lingo can be a bit confusing).  When buying those devices, you have options ranging far beyond paperback and hardcover. These include screen types and size, wi-fi connections, and a bunch of other things that Shakespeare certainly never envisioned when he was writing “Hamlet.”

However, these E-books have many advantages. They never go out of print, they never go out of stock, they’re more affordable than printed media, they’re portable, and you don’t have to worry about reading “Fifty Shades of Grey” on the subway. Of course, you do need a device to read them on, but there are many affordable and less affordable (but much fancier) options out there. Here’s a little bit of what you should know before you buy your e-book reader.

The E-Book Edge

Cuddling up with a good book is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Cuddling up with a good e-book – not so much. If you’re looking for a good book a rainy day type of thing, the e-book is not the ideal companion. E-books are less about comfort and more about convenience. They’re good for:

  • Capacity: You can carry more than 200 books without heavy lifting
  • Language learning: E-books have integrated dictionaries so you can find definitions of words just by clicking on them
  • Saving your place: The E-book saves your place by storing it in memory – no bookmarking pages
  • Taking Notes: E-books let you export your notes and gives you a personalized resume at the end of each book
  • Saving you trips to the bookstore and the library (Small tear)
  • Saving you money on overdue books
  • Saving space: The new book is the megabyte. It takes up much less space than an encyclopedia collection.
  • The Environment: E-books don’t use paper and are more environmentally friendly than traditional books.

The E-Book Evolution

Once upon a time, Ebooks were commonly read on PCs and Tablets, and that was ok, as long as you didn’t mind a bit of eye strain. These tablets used backlit LCD screens, which made reading a bit uncomfortable.  Luckily, the technological world and the literary world came together to create a kindler gentler solution.

That solution was the E-book. It used E-Ink screens rather than LCD screens to create a more authentic feel. They weren’t backlit, (which meant they relied on an outside light source), were mostly matte-textured, and most E-book owners agreed they made an excellent substitution for paper.

However, as the tastes of E-Book readers began to differ, so too did the features. Less expensive models still offered LCD screens, some began to offer edge lighting, so you could read in the dark, plus you were able to vary the brightness of the screen considerably. If you used the lowest setting, you can even read without waking your partner. (It kind of gives new meaning to the phrase light sleeper).

What to Look for In An E-book Reader

Reading using e-book reader

The most popular? Undoubtedly? The most reliable? Maybe? The only? Hardly. Believe it or not, there is more to life than the Amazon Kindle. Finding the right E-book for you should not be decided by a popularity contest. It’s about the features you value the most. Here are some things you should look for in an E-book reader besides the name Amazon Kindle.

1) Screening Screens

The first thing you should ask yourself when screening screens is whether you feel comfortable using an LCD screen or if its E-Ink all the way. E ink is easier on the eyes and the E-book’s battery (longer battery life).  LCD displays color and usually comes with touch screen capabilities. Hybrid readers, such as the Barnes and Noble Nook and the E Ink Kindle offer both electronic displays and touchscreen capabilities. And like all things in life, some do it better than others. Compare screens for the best contrast and resolution.

2) Size and Weight

You’ve always been told to never ask a woman about her size or weight. But when it comes to E-book readers it’s an extremely appropriate question. If you’re looking for portability, you want something small and light, but if you’re looking to invest in some large screen real estate, try the Apple Ipad on for size.

3) Interface

Interface refers to the way you communicate with your E-book. Some do it through buttons, others have touchscreens, and others offer a combination of both. The buttons require less power and tend to be more accurate than touchscreens, but they can be more cumbersome to use. Touchscreens are more intuitive but can be sluggish battery draining, and a little too fingerprint friendly for some. 

4) Battery Life

It’s the height of the book’s action. The girl is ready to make a choice between the man that she loves and an airplane trip to parts unknown. She’s right about to step on (or off) the plane when it happens. The battery on your E-book dies. Don’t let this happen to you. If you use your E-book reader primarily on the go, long battery life is essential. Basic E-book readers with less extra features have longer battery lives. Web browsing and Wi-Fi sucks up more battery power and have shorter operating times.

5) Price

Prices for E-book readers are dropping like they’re hot. Whereas years ago, you could expect to pay up to $400 for these devices, now $200 is at the high end. According to analysts, the magic price point is $99.99 for a wide range of E-book user acceptance and today you can find many options within that cost range.

The Best E-Book Readers

Behind every good E-book reader is another E-book reader. If you’re an E-book reader searching for the E-book reader to back you up, there are a lot of options. Here are some of the Best E-book on the market. Your choices will depend on what you’re in the market for.

Amazon Kindle Oasis: Best High End

If you’ve got brains and a bikini body, you’ve met your match. The Amazon Kindle Oasis has looks, intuition and it’s waterproof as well. Whether you’re a beach blanket intellectual, or simply a really dedicated bookworm on the go, The Amazon Kindle Oasis keeps up with the competition, specifically Kobo, by offering a bigger screen than previous Kindles and access to one of the most popular E-Book libraries.

All that and more, the Oasis certainly is. Read “all that” as in just the right size,  light weight, and excellent screen.  Read more as its flush to front screen with physical turn buttons and battery that bumps out lie a handle for you to grip. Also, read more as the price. Although this Amazon Kindle Oasis is less expensive than its forerunner, it’s still quite pricey. Check it out on Amazon here.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite: Best Value

Got brains, a bikini body, but not enough money to afford the Oasis? Never fear, there’s an E-book match for you too! The Kindle Paperwhite is the least expensive water-proof Kindle on the market. Not only does its new flat front design makes it ideal for book reading on the beach. Its audiobook support makes it ideal for book listening as well.

Kindle paperwhite


The sound of crashing waves, the caw of the seagulls and the sound of basic French emitting from your Paperwhite? Seems like reason enough to buy it. However, it doesn’t stop there. The Paperwhite has a matte black finish which works really well in direct sunlight and is operated entirely by touch- if you want the physical turn buttons you’ll have to “shell” out the extra bucks for the Oasis.

However, it does have its own set of pretty sweet features, including long battery life, as in lasts weeks, not hours, twice the storage of the last model, an adjustable light that lets you read indoors, outdoors, day or night. Check it out here on Amazon.

Kobo Clara: Best Library Selection

Let’s move it off the beach now. The Kobo Clara is not waterproof, and it’s not an Amazon Kindle either. But that in no way makes it a lesser E-book reader. Kobo is the company that’s keeping Amazon on its feet, and at times, knocking Amazon off them. The Kobo Clara is one of the newer members of the Kobo family and its taking E-book reading into overdrive, literally.

With the Clara’s latest software update, it has the best interface for borrowing and reading books from US-based libraries that use Overdrive Software.

Never a borrower or lender be? That’s ok, too. Even if you don’t like to borrow from libraries, the Kobo Clara is pure joy. It has all the features to satisfy the E-book readers basic needs – specifically, long battery life, a sharp screen and easy to hold body, and a comforting, warm-toned screen.

Weighing in at 5.9 ounces and standing (or reclining) at 6×4, it’s smaller and lighter-weight than the Paperwhite, with the same sharp resolution (300 ppi). Check it out here from Walmart.

Amazon Kindle 2019: Best Money Saver

A little sun and a little less fun? The Amazon Kindle is the basic model, so it doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles the other models do- waterproofing included. Still, with the reliable quality of the Kindle name and friendly price tag, it does earn a place on our A-list. 

If you’re the large-type type of Kindle readers, this e-book reader is your clear choice. It has a front light, so you can read in the dark. But, if you’re the small-type type, you might want to consider the Paperwhite, which has better resolution and contrast.

The newest addition to the latest edition is the front light. The white (with a hint of blue) light uses four LEDs and casts a warmer light than the Paperwhite all around. If your present Kindle is over five years old, you’ll notice the difference immediately. And as for the other features, you can find all the old ones present and accounted for. The Kindle still integrates with Goodreads, has a dictionary, Wikipedia access, X-ray search, and a wide range of fonts and styles. Check it out here on Amazon.

Barnes and Noble Nook GlowLight 3: Best E-Books for Geeks

Ah, reading around the warm glow of the Barnes and Noble GlowLight 3. The color changing front light, shifting from a cool blue to an amber based on the devices internal clock or the reader’s chosen settings. The press the button flip-the-page ease of the physical page turn buttons. A nice piece of hardware at any price.

If you’re looking for the best e-book for the gadget lover, this has all the buttons and bows; if you’re looking for a big library selection, you may be best off with an Amazon Kindle. Nothing against B and N- a shout out to the old brick and mortar, but they are falling behind Amazon when it comes to book selection. Seems like now that Amazon is a major publisher, they’re not offering E-books in a non – Kindle form.

The last of a dying breed? Maybe. But if a big library is not the main priority, the Nook GlowLight is worth it for the psychedelic light show alone. Check it out here.