If you read books in your spare time, you would be well aware of how expensive books are and how the cost really adds up over time. Until recently, the main ways to save money on books were to buy second hand, borrow from libraries or borrow from friends. Beyond that you were pretty much out of luck.
Now the new trend in saving money on books is purchasing an eReader. Not only do eReaders save you money on books, but they are also much more portable and lightweight. In fact, you can carry around your entire book collection with ease. There is a small investment upfront, but then the more books you read, the more you save. You can even get a lot of ebooks completely free.
While I have only had direct experience with the older Kindle model and the Kobo, I have done some research to help you choose an affordable eReader. If you are considering buying an eReader, I highly recommend it. Before making the purchase, read my comparison research below. Please note: these are entry level eReaders. If you want features such as a color screen or audio playback, be prepared to spend about $200. Or you can get a full tablet computer for $300+.
Amazon Kindle 4
The Kindle has been the leader in the eReader market ever since they released their first Kindle model. Between that original model and the Kindle 4, they have made a lot of improvements. They’ve made it lighter, smaller and faster. To do that they did remove extra features such as audio capability, but most people would not be looking for those kind of features in an entry level eReader.
The majority of people gave this eReader 5 star ratings. One complaint was the ads included, but that is only in the discounted $79 version and not in the $109 version. The lack of a touchscreen may be annoying if you need to type much. Overall it is a great choice.
Price: $109 US from Amazon
Weight: 5.98 ounces (170 grams)
Dimensions: 6.5″ x 4.5″ x 0.34″ (166mm x 114mm x 8.7mm)
The Kobo eReader is backed by Indigo Books/Chapters, but it falls short of the Kindle & NOOK in both performance and functionality. Between these 3 eReaders, the Kobo is the largest, the heaviest and the most expensive. The difference in these factors is quite minute though. The screen contrast is weak as there are only 8 shades of grey instead of 16. There have been numerous complaints about their customer service too.
Long term, the Kobo is actually likely to save you the most money. This is because it comes stocked with 100 free classics and there are 1.8M free ebooks in the Kobo Store. The price did recently drop from $139.99. So if long term savings is important to you and can live without extra features, you may be happy with the Kobo. Personally I would still opt for the Kindle or NOOK though.
Price: $109.99 US from Kobo.com
Weight: 7.8 ounces (221 grams)
Dimensions: 7.2″ x 4.7″ x 0.4″ (184mm x 120mm x 10mm)
NOOK Simple Touch
It looks like they designed this eReader to compete with and beat the Kindle. While the Kindle does have a touch screen version, it is $40 more expensive than the NOOK Simple Touch. Price isn’t the only area where the NOOK outdoes other entry level eReaders. It claims to be 25% faster than any other eReader. Based on other reviews, it sounds like the navigation and page turning are very well thought out. The design of this eReader was clearly focused on delivering a superior reading experience. The only real drawback is the lack of extra apps or a web browser, but in an eReader that isn’t really necessary. Who would want to browse the web in black and white?
Before starting this comparison, I really expected the Kindle to be the best as it has long been the most popular eReader. I was pleasantly surprised with what others are saying about the NOOK. Most are claiming it is the best budget eReader. The only area where it may be lacking compared to the Kindle 4 is storage space, but do you really need 500+ books on hand? If that is an issue, you can store extra books on a memory card.
Price: $99 US from Barnes & Noble
Weight: 7.48 ounces (212 grams)
Dimensions: 6.5″ x 5″ x 0.47″ (166mm x 127mm x 12mm)
Some people may still prefer the look and feel of a physical book, but the cost savings may change your mind. You don’t necessarily need to invest in a fancy tablet computer, especially if you would primarily use it for book reading. Take a closer look at the eReader models above to see if one if right for you. If I were choosing, I’d probably choose the NOOK Simple Touch. I will keep that in mind for when I finally get through the paperback I’m currently reading.
Do you already own an eReader? If so, which model do you own? Are you satisfied with it? Please share your personal experiences to help others with their decision.