How To Choose The Right E-Reader

Sales of e-book readers, also known as e-readers, are way up and prices are dropping. Consumer Reports has tested a wide variety and has advice if you’re in the market for an ebook reader.

Read Consumer Reports’ complete coverage of e-books over at ConsumerReports.org

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  1. danmac says:

    I love my Kindle so hard…the e-ink is so much better than reading from an LCD. Also, thanks for not including the ipad here.

    • zegota says:

      +1 for this. The new Kindle is relatively cheap, and just, really, really sexy. I enjoy it immensely.

      • Michaela says:

        I just got the new kindle for my birthday (and when I say “just got,” I mean three days ago). I never wanted one, but now that I have one, I don’t know how I read without it. I read outside, so it is nice to not have to worry about my pages flipping in the wind!

        Also, I still don’t understand why color (or lack of it) is an issue to people. Most books I read don’t have color, so why would I need it on my e-reader?

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          but… but… but… you don’t understand… it’s color.

          Says the former PDA-reading e-book addict.

          • Archergal says:

            +1
            I’ve decided I don’t like e-ink. I miss being able to read at night with the lights out. I still have an old Palm device that I use for that.

          • Michaela says:

            So…get color to read black words on a white background?

            I guess I just don’t get it. Maybe it comes in handy if you want to read little Timmy a picture book on your e-reader?

        • Bort says:

          what software do you use, i’m still trying to find a good one

          • Michaela says:

            Software? I guess whatever comes on the Kindle 3…honestly, I just purchase books off amazon.com and smile as they pop up on the device.

    • Magspie says:

      I love my Kindle too. And I love that my husband and I can share an account and share books.

    • fantomesq says:

      The e-ink versus LCD debate is not the problem that Kindle fanatics make it out to be. I love my iPad and I’ll gladly take the larger screen, ability to display color and FAR greater functionality anyday. The world is moving towards multifunction devices and away from dedicated ones…

      • Woofer says:

        There is no problem. Neither is functionality. An e-book reader is meant to let you read books, and it’s very good at doing that one thing. An iPad/tablet/netbook/whathaveyou is meant to be a multi-function device that can, among other things, let you read books. I’ve got a multitude of portable multi-function devices, but none are as good for simply reading a book as an e-reader. I can go weeks without charging thanks to e-ink, there’s no perceptible heat other than the warmth transferred from my hands, and the screen is both sharp and glare-free. An iPad/tablet/laptop/netbook can claim none of those three value points.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        Just so. I used a Palm PDA as an e-book reader literally for YEARS before the dedicated e-book readers came out. To me, the PDA is still superior to the e-book devices in readability and functionality. I prefer a backlit screen; it’s not like I’m going to read much while cross-country skiing, for god’s sake… reading at the bus stop was no hardship, either. And color… how I do miss my color screens. And all the programs I used to put on the PDA to keep myself organized, honest, and medicated… when you think about it, we lost so much functionality moving to ebook readers just to save some battery life.

        I’m not impressed with the hyperphones everyone’s carrying around, though. I don’t want my e-book reader to be a phone until my Kindle can use Google Phone. I have a phone and it’s just a phone and that is how I like it. Diversification. If I lose it, I still have a netbook for Internet and Google Phone, except I have to pay for access then. If I lose my Kindle, I have an Aztec Pocket Pro (a nice little machine and I bet it is not reviewed at CR) with all of my books backed up on it, even if it can’t read the specifically Kindle-formatted ones. If I have a phone that does everything, and I lose that, then I become the functional equivalent of a Martian plunked down naked in Times Square.

      • danmac says:

        That’s your opinion, and you’re more than entitled to it. However, saying that there is no real debate is just ignoring the issue. There are pros to e-ink (less harsh, little battery usage, etc.), and there are pros to LCD (color, can read in the dark, etc.), and it’s a personal preference issue, but there are distinct differences between the two media.

        Personally, I like having a screen that does not remind me of the monitor that I have to stare at all day in my working life. I also happen to like going weeks between charges, having a smaller device (for portability/convenience purposes), not having to pay a fee to access the 3G network, giving my money to a company I support (Amazon) rather than one I personally dislike (Apple), etc.

        Also, I’m more than happy to use my netbook for mobile productivity and my Kindle for reading, both of which fit easily in my suitcase.

      • katarzyna says:

        You’re forgetting battery life. And size, wrt the iPad vs Kindle. I can stuff my Kindle in my purse and take it everywhere. The iPad, not so much.

      • Tallanvor says:

        e-ink versus LCD is a big deal. I just spent 2 weeks in Greece, including a sunny week on the beach in Mykonos. I stuck my Kindle in a ziplock bag to keep out the sand and water, and read for hours at a time. Try doing that with an iPad.

      • marsneedsrabbits says:

        Once you hit your 40’s, it becomes difficult to spend endless hours in front of a LCD screen. Within a few hours, you end up seeing double or you’ll have a headache.

        E-ink, on the other hand, is much easier on the eyes. The iPad is nice, but at the end of the day, regardless of how many other uses it may have, has the same drawback as any other computer screen.

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Sadly, I don’t read enough to justify such an expensive purchase. However, if e-readers drop in price and can work as a multi-functional tools (like the iPad) then I may actually buy one.

    • Alvis says:

      I picked up a 2G Kindle for $150. With its web browser and free 3G, I get essentially free wireless GMail for life. Considering I don’t have email on my phone, that’s a great value right there.

      • GuJiaXian says:

        Huh, I hadn’t thought of that.

      • craptastico says:

        you don’t have to pay for internet service?

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          Nope. That’s what finally sold me on the Kindle, after having been a resister. Sold again when I was in Dallas recently training a group of engineers from Romania. We were out to lunch when one of them asked me a general-knowledge question I didn’t know the answer to. I fired up Wikipedia on the Kindle, switched to Romanian, and blew everyone’s mind.

          • craptastico says:

            that’s great. i’m pretty far behind the technological curve so my phone can’t do anything but make phone calls, i might have to pick one of these up

    • ktetch says:

      They are also not new devices. Palms going back 10 years can function as e-readers. I used a Palm Vx (from 2001) as an e-reader until 2008, when it finally died. Pick one up off ebay, or craiglist or somewhere. The software you need, is AportisDoc

    • onbehalfofthebunnies says:

      …you want them to drop in price, yet have the functionality of one of the most expensive options of a tablet computer that can read an ebook?

      I’m super happy with my $85 Sony Touch (Target clearance on touch and pocket in prep for the new Sony readers B&M only, some Targets have them as low as $45), and that’s the point of this consumer reports review – e-readers, not things that do other stuff and also have the ability to read ebooks.

      Heck for less than half the price of the cheapest iPad (which currently from apple is $500 for the 16gb wi-fi only, most expensive being 64gb wifi+3g $830 plus the data plan) I could get an ereader (at full price Nook, Kindle, or a couple of these clearance Sony’s) and a nice netbook with money left over.

  3. MamaBug says:

    video unavailable :(

  4. vitajex says:

    I’m disappointed. I clicked on this article expecting to learn how to choose the right e-meter

  5. theanalogdivide says:

    Another thing to consider is whether the DRM on an eBook device allows the purchaser to use materials from other resources, such as public libraries. Many organizations subscribe to a service such as Overdrive or Netlibrary. Nooks, Sony Readers, and Kobos all work with library DRM, but the Kindle does not.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      This is at the heart of my debate. I prefer the e-ink of the Kindle and I just flat out love Amazon, but the Kindle doesn’t support ePUB and that’s what my library system uses.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Unfortunately, Consumer Reports does not factor that in to their Buying Guide.

      • Doncosmic says:

        depending on the DRM Stanza can convert ePub files to Kindle files

      • Harrkev says:

        The Nook and the Kindle use the SAME display (this does not include the latest Kindle announced about a month ago). I chose the Nook, and I love it!

      • WagTheDog says:

        There’s an open source download that converts ePub to Kindle format. The whole “Kindle doesn’t do ePub” thing is reaching Urban Legend proportions. sigh. Just Google it and you’ll find the widely available instructions.

        • alSeen says:

          You missed the part where they said that the library uses epub. These are normally drmd and not easily broken. Besides, if you are willing to break the drm on library checkouts, you might as well just go out to torrents or usenet to download the book directly.

    • outis says:

      You just saved me from making a very expensive mistake. Thank you for pointing that out!

    • tbax929 says:

      I loved my Nook. The operative word being “loved”. I am on my third one now, however. Although I can still use it to read, I have side load everything on it because, for some reason, my books don’t download from B&N’s website to it. I can purchase a book via my Nook, but I can’t transfer it to my Nook without plugging my Nook into a computer.

      Customer service has tried to “fix” this problem for me on two previous units. Luckily, they have been helpful with their warranty. But I’m now on my third and am tired of it, so that’s it.

      So I’m giving it to my mom and buying a Sony E-reader. I won’t buy a Kindle because it can’t read epub.

  6. DanRydell says:

    I

  7. framitz says:

    I’m very pleased with my Nook WiFi.
    Having a local Barnes and Noble store a few blocks away and a huge selection with a very large base of _free_ titles is hard to beat. Nook reader is also available for iPad, Android, MAC, and PC as well.
    The Nook also supports side loading of content including PDF which is renders very fast and clearly.

    • smirkette says:

      There are a ton of free titles for *any* ebook reader. Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org/) and ManyBooks (http://manybooks.net/) being my two favorite. (I prefer ManyBooks, as I think their Kindle formatting is better, however both sites allow you to download ebooks in many different formats.

      I’ve never used the Nook before, so maybe it has a unique pool of non-public domain free books?

  8. Torchwood says:

    I wonder what prices will be on black Friday.

    • onbehalfofthebunnies says:

      If you don’t want to wait for BF (as the prices probably won’t drop but instead remain consistent but with bundled extras), Target is pretty much in their final clearance of the older Sony e-readers.

      After waiting and waiting for the prices to finally drop in my area (as they had been elsewhere for months!) the Sony Pocket was at $75 and the Sony Touch was at $85 (grabbed the pocket since it was the only one my closest one had then went to another Target in the area to swap and pay the extra $10 for the Touch).

      There aren’t all that many left around, and it’s B&M only, but some people got the Touch for around $45 the weekend I got mine (no price matching unfortunately, but hey, it’s about half the price of the Nook/Kindle and does what I need it to) so you many have luck in your area too.

  9. Spook Man says:

    I bought a nook (got tired of waiting for the kindle v3) and love it.. I think they’re both great and I’ve ready more in the last couple weeks than I have over the last 3-4 years..

    Got the nook over the kindle because
    1: kindle was still not available until mid/end-september.
    2: nook has suduko on it (I know, sounds funny, but I like playing every now and again)
    3: the kindle example they had at target felt VERY flimsy compared to the nook. Nook feels a little more heavy-duty. Kinda like a MacBook compared to a pc laptop.

    • Alvis says:

      MacBooks are heavy-duty, PCs are flimsy? You realize there’s not one company making every PC laptop, right?

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        I wasn’t sure whether the implication was that MacBooks are flimsy and PCs are strong, or that PCs are flimsy and MacBooks are strong..my circa 2007 MacBook is quite sturdy, but so was my circa 2003 Dell Inspiron (of course, it was 13 pounds).

    • CBenji says:

      I have a 2007 Macbook that has been dropped many times by a kid that is still using it in her college applications & for her Ipod. It is more than sturdy!! I would get a Kindle or Nook as soon as we could get at least half of her school books on it. So far it isn’t even 40% of the books at her university & that is what really sucks. Unfortunately I am sure she will soon drop it later and all the E ink will then disappear & then the whole thing will probably be worthless, but still…

      • colorisnteverything says:

        Plus, it is WAY better for her to actually print out/buy and read the material, making notes as she goes. Yes, I know it sounds “lame” or “old”, but I am a PhD student who TA’s freshman and the ones who listen to me say it helps greatly. Great for reading fun books if that is what makes you happy (I prefer reading library books), but I definitely would stick with the good old way to do this.

  10. digital0verdose says:

    Damn paywalls.

    Can someone tell us which of the e-readers gets the best review?

    • danmac says:

      I’m not sure it’s a good idea we divulge that, considering Consumer Reports is the parent site of the Consumerist. If any of the moderators say it’s okay, I’d be happy to give a quick “insider summary”.

    • LastError says:

      None of them.

      The really marginal video (you’re not missing anything unless you like watching people flap their arms a lot while they talk -I am not kidding) ends up suggesting E-ink over LCD, and a 7-inch screen size. And that’s pretty much all.

      They did disqualify the iPad because it’s a tablet computer, not an e-reader.

      There was absolutely no recommendation of any particular device or book format so this is NOT like a typical CR review where they have some sort of “winner” or best buy -and because of that, it does not contain the sort of information that CR doesn’t like anyone to share or reuse.

      So I am comfy with posting my little critique here. You ain’t missing much.

      • danmac says:

        Um…there’s a link to the Consumer Reports website, where they rate and compare several models in a number of categories. You just need to be a subscriber to view it.

      • legolex says:

        Yeah that video was a waste, I was expecting a comparison of each model.

    • Chris Walters says:

      Back in June, Consumer Reports wrote: “Despite improvement to the rival Barnes & Noble Nook e-book reader and the arrival of Apple’s iPad tablet computer, which offers e-reader capability, Amazon’s Kindle is still the best choice for most consumers.”

      http://pressroom.consumerreports.org/pressroom/2010/06/amazons-kindle-tops-cr-ebook-reader-ratings.html

      Since that comparison, a new Kindle has replaced the model they tested, and Sony has prepped two faster/lighter models (although I’m not sure whether they’re available yet). Since the newest Kindle has been described as an improvement in almost every way over earlier models, I’m guessing it’s still the one to beat.

  11. sam says:

    public library access is the principal reason I got a nook over a kindle. I’ve saved a significant (more than the cost of the nook) amount of money since I got the nook because of this option.

    Sony and Kobo also make readers compatible with the library/overdrive system, it’s really only the kindle, which uses Amazon’s own proprietary format, that won’t read the more “universal” ePub format. The nook can also read books from the Sony and Kobo (Borders) stores, which gives much more variety. Due to updates to the DRM used in the nook however, Sony and Kobo CANNOT read books from B&N (they haven’t updated their systems yet to the new DRM). So the nook is, by far, the best option for someone who wants to use multiple sources for books.

    • Doncosmic says:

      The stanza Desktop application that is in beta for PC and Mac can save non DRM’d ePub and PDF files as Kindle files.

      • Billy says:

        so does calibre.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Are library ebooks non-DRM?

        • sam says:

          No – Library books use Adobe Secure ePub and Adobe Secure PDF DRM as protection – they are also designed to “expire” after a set amount of time so that the license reverts back to the library and they can lend the ebook out to someone else.

          You’re free to violate the DMCA if you want, but I prefer a device that allows me to legally read library books in the first place :)

  12. destruktolux says:

    I love my nook. DRM is a factor, but it seems like for now that’s just an inescapable part of the ebook experience. However, sideloading is easy as pie, and it does epub, which is more than Kindle can say. The on-screen keyboard features are a little finicky, but at the same time, having a secondary color screen for certain things (including web browsing) is actually kind of nice. Nook has a smaller selection than Amazon’s Kindle and the prices feel a bit higher, but I don’t feel like I’m deprived by what Kindle has to offer.

    The only problem I have is that the supposed features of the nook when you’re in an actual Barnes and Noble store aren’t all that interesting. The read in store feature wasn’t working when I went in, and it’s not like you get any particularly special deals out of the thing.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I thought you could get free books through B&N for your nook, and the selection changed if you were in the store.

      • Onesnap says:

        You can read free books on your nook (any book on Google books). Or you can borrow a book from another nook user for free. You can also use an e-Library card and read books for free on your nook (Boston Public Library is one example of a library with a e-Library card for all MA residents). :)

        I’ve been a nook user for 9+ months. I still read regular books too (particularly for my book club to support the small independent bookstore it is held at).

    • Woofer says:

      Calibre calibre calibre. Regardless of the device you choose, Calibre will enable compatbility.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        THANK you. More information about Calibre for those who have only just heard about it… uh, please.

        • Billy says:

          I use Calibre to convert ebooks for Kindle (my cousin just gave me his Kindle2…he likes his iPad better). That said, Calibre so clunky and inelegant. Also, sometimes the conversions don’t work well. Oh, and there’s a bug in the latest version which renders conversion from epub to mobi useless unless you tweak a setting. It doesn’t send all of the books to my Kindle when I ask it to. etc.

          I can’t wait for a viable alternative.

  13. Gandalf the Grey says:

    I absolutely love my nook. I got the nook because the Kindle 2 didn’t support expandable memory or epubs, but also because the touchscreen is so much more practical than a little keyboard. Honestly, I use the touch keyboard on my nook maybe once a month, why take up all the room at the bottom there for something I hardly use.

    • Michaela says:

      I have found myself using the keyboard rather frequently on my Kindle. However, this is probably because I enjoy playing the free word games offered by amazon.

  14. rubicthecube says:

    I understand the whole ebook craze but for me, I’d much rather have an actual book in my hands. I can drop a book and still read it afterwards, I can pass it down to my grandchildren in the future and not seem like a crazy old cook trying to pass down obsolete technology.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      For me personally, I don’t have the room for every book I want to read. I use the library for most of my reading needs and sometimes a book is so huge (we’re talking a thousand pages) there’s no practical way of taking it with me on the subway or even comfortably reading it at home. I do a lot of reading on my morning and afternoon commutes so an ereader would be extremely helpful to me.

      I’m hoping to get one later in the year when the holidays roll around. I like paper books, but I don’t have the room for them in my home and I don’t want to collect a ton of books (because I won’t have room for them). I’ll buy the physical copy of a book I want to keep for longevity or for collections, but for other books I would get from the library or books that are a thousand pages long, I would rather use an ereader.

      • Woofer says:

        Ditto on this. I’ve got bookshelves of books I refuse to throw out, and no place left to store them. Plenty are boxed up in the basement or forcibly lent to other people. An e-book reader is a convenient way to reduce the sheer volume and mass of a large collection. Many classics are long out of copyright and free for download, so I can finally start donating to offload.

        There is a sacrifice in not reading a tangible book, but you get used to e-ink very quickly. It’s much more comparable to print than an LCD screen is. I can definitely just pick up my Kindle and read whenever I feel like it. If I need to put it down, the device saves my place and locks the screen (no more dogearing) so I can pick up right where I left off. I find it pretty convenient.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          I’ve got the same problem. I have many boxes of books that have been repeatedly moved that are now just getting musty in the basement. There are many classics (and reference materials) that I would always want a paper copy but I think an E-Reader could replace most paperbacks that I borrow from the library or buy with the intention of giving away after reading.

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            Not to mention the cost in time and gas to get to the library during the times it’s open. I’d still have to go to the library because a lot of books still aren’t being offered in the ebook format but I’d rather pick up four books rather than fifteen. And it makes it much easier to remember due dates because the electronic copy immediately returns itself.

      • nbs2 says:

        Just be “that chick.” When reading larger volumes (usually 800-1000 pages), if I can’t find a seat, I use the backs of the Metro seats as a rest. Even though I don’t need that “bookrest”, once a seat becomes available people usually offer it to me first. After a couple days, I became “that guy,” and could reliably get a seat without using the seatback, as long as I had the book out and was reading.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          It’s not so much the reading on the Metro part that is annoying; it’s the carrying of the book that’s the problem. I don’t want to weigh down my purse or bag with a giant book, a pair of shoes, my lunch, and an umbrella (on rainy days). It’s just difficult for me to carry so much weight. I’d rather have an ereader.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        I have 1600+ books on my e-reader. Sure, I’d love to have 1600 physical books in my home instead. But if I did I’d have to pave the floor with them and put my furniture on top. And I’d also have no retirement after paying for them all, unless I bought every last one for a dime each at a rummage sale. (Did I mention that I downloaded 1500 of the books for free from manybooks.net?) And my home is already an Ikea Billy showcase. Jesus.

        I read so much that I can pack away a book a day, sometimes more. I would panic if I came to the last page of something and didn’t have another book following it in the pipeline. I only have one purse, and it has to also carry all my other geek paraphernalia, chargers, gadgetry, keys, Moleskine, tarot cards, expense account receipts, pens, girl biology supplies, mail, passport, TV-B-Gone, etc. etc….

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          You read like I read! That’s another thing with me. I read constantly and it would be impractical to have physical copies everywhere. Plus, the “lines” for ebooks at public libraries are a lot shorter because there are fewer restrictions on copies, given that you don’t have a physical copy you have to move around the library system.

    • Chaosium says:

      “I understand the whole ebook craze but for me, I’d much rather have an actual book in my hands.”

      So, in other words, you don’t understand the craze very well. All of us would “rather have the book in-hands”, but portability and storage capacity helps a ton.

  15. kinickie says:

    I love my nook, but has anyone else here had a problem with cracking under the page forward button? I treat it like it’s made of glass, but after extended use (about 30 books read since purchase in March) I have small cracks in the plastic bezel under both page forward buttons.

    It seems to be a pretty common problem: http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Resolved-Issues-Archived/Crack-on-page-forward-button/td-p/443923. They mention in the thread that B&N will replace them with a refurb, but from what I’ve heard the refurbs will have the same issue. I’d rather just keep mine since the cracks don’t interfere with use.

    I really wish B&N would actually tweak their materials a bit instead of just handing out refurbs that end up with the same cracks.

    • evilcharity says:

      I am on my second nook (the first froze and completely locked up…I still love it though) and had that problem with my first one. I think what happens is that a crumb or something gets stuck under the buttons on the side and then when you push the button it causes a crack. I’ve been more careful about keeping my new one in it’s case (to keep crumbs out) and haven’t had any cracks.

    • moyawyvern says:

      I just noticed a crack on my right side forward page button. I have a service plan on it, thanks to my mother, but I haven’t used it yet since the nook is still working just fine. I may change my mind towards the end of plan’s term. The crack is annoying, but I put some scotch tape over it, and it seems to be ok. I hope B&N is looking into the design, because something is obviously not quite right there. Other than that, I adore my nook. So great to travel with.

    • selianth says:

      My 6-week old nook was replaced in March for the cracked button, with what I’m pretty sure was a brand new unit. Six months later I replaced it again since the crack was all the way across the bezel, this time bringing it to my local B&N store, and the replacement was a new unit with buttons that feel much different than the old ones. They’ve obviously changed something under there. (Actually, that one that I got at the store froze up completely before I could even register my account on it, so I’m technically on my 4th nook. Hopefully this one holds up better!)

  16. tungstencoil says:

    E-Ink is SO much better than LCD. LCD == staring at a light bulb; E-Ink is not backlit.

    That being said:

    I have both the Sony and the Kindle. Both have their advantages and disadvantages:

    Sony:
    Great interface / look-and-feel
    Better/faster page response (slightly)
    Horrible software to transfer books: every time it requires an “update” – which is often – it won’t let me proceed (to purchase a book) w/o upgrading. Whenever it upgrades, it “forgets” my login and device tether, so I have to reset everything back up. Also, their interface is really just a browser for their site embedded in their software. Needless to say, it works WORSE than a browser. This sole reasons is why I bought my…

    Kindle:

    Interface is chunky. Buttons on the Sony are much more intuitively placed.
    It’s not nearly as pretty.
    Buying books from it is nice (if you’re in a pinch) but mostly unusable – I do it from the web 99.9% of the time anyway. However, it’s just the web / my Amazon account, which is nice.
    Some books/fonts render funky. Not sure if it’s the Kindle or their conversion.
    Idea of removing/putting back on books is awesome and much better than using tether software.
    Built-in dictionary is cool.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      Thanks for the review.

      What are the screens like on both models — how glossy are they?

      • Michaela says:

        The kindle is not gloss at all. It was a bit strange at first (considering that I am used to glossy computer screens), but it makes the kindle very easy to read in sunlight.

    • Syrenia says:

      E-ink is not for everyone.

      I was given a new Kindle recently as a present, but I cannot read it unless I am near a very bright light source. The screen contrast is just insufficient. Adjusting the font, leading, and margins made a noticeable difference, but it was still unusable for me. I returned it to the giver, because I knew that he was planning to get one for himself. (And I felt like a heal, but I would feel worse tossing it in a drawer and letting him spend another $200.)

      I use the Kindle app on my iPhone with the sepia option, and have no difficulty.

    • fuzzy says:

      Yeah, the Sony interface is pretty horrible so I use Calibre instead.

  17. cytoman says:

    I am looking for an ereader for my wife that can display in cyrillic (russian). Does anyone have any thoughts?

  18. evilcharity says:

    I have had a nook since Christmas and I’ve really enjoyed it. It has free 3G and Wifi so I can buy a book anywhere (I don’t care for the “extras” like the web browser…prefer my iPhone for that) and, as others have mentioned, it supports a variety of formats so I can buy my books from B&N or elsewhere and borrow eBooks from the library for free.

    I did have an issue with my original nook freezing (to be expected with a first gen device, stuff happens), but B&N provided great support and immediately sent me a new one.

  19. Sir Winston Thriller says:

    I wish you would tell us if any or all of a link is behind a paywall. The Recommended list is. I’m not saying I wouldn’t pay for it, but it feels so much like bait-and-switch not to be told first.

  20. william says:

    In the last month, I went through Sony (last gen), Nook, Kindle(3rd gen), Sony (cur gen)

    my conclusion,

    It’s impossible to find a ereader that fits my need completely. In the end I settled with the sony ereader (cur gen)

  21. TakingItSeriously is a Technopile says:

    I agree with Sir Winston

    Either tell us it’s a paywall OR don’t link it.

    I understand you guys are sponsored by consumer reports, but I don’t buy enough stuff to need a full time membership. I donate when I can, so please please please – just tell us (Link is behind a paywall – sorry)

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      Agreed. But hopefully enough people sign up to make this Consumerist venture profitable, or at least break-even, for CR.

  22. verdegrrl says:

    While I can understand the storage problems some people may experience, I prefer real books. I spend a lot of time flying, and while everyone else has to turn off their devices for takeoff (with occasional long waits on the tarmac) and landing, a book does not have to be stowed during this time.

    To reduce cost for books I might want to keep (vs library), I use various used book exchanges and second hand book stores.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      You do have to turn off the devices, but you don’t have to put them away. For me it’s a minor inconvenience. If I’m away for a week, I require at least three books, even more if it’s a less active vacation (like the beach). I’m a fast reader and the last time I went to the beach, I brought seven books. I would have loved to just bring an ereader.

    • syzygy says:

      Thanks for bringing this up. I got into a discussion with a flight attendant about how, with the wireless off, just sitting there, the Kindle isn’t actually drawing any power, and is effectively “turned off”. However, I realized that it does draw power (a tiny bit, but still) when advancing pages. Some flight attendants do look the other way, I’ve noticed, but I would love to lobby the right people to make them understand that functionally, e-readers are no different from regular books, and to exempt them from the electronic device rule. I can’t imagine how doing so would interfere with the operation of the plane.

      • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

        I wonder how much power one actually draws, especially given how long a charge lasts.

        I can’t imagine a flight attendant making someone take the batteries out of his watch or hearing aid, or completely shutting down a laptop that’s in “sleep” mode.

  23. jpdanzig says:

    Those who claim that LCD’s are unreadable have obviously not tried an Ectaco Jetbook, Jetbook Lite, or the new Jetbook Mini.

    All use a very reflective, non-backlit LCD with faster page turns than e-ink.

    The Jetbooks read very well in all kinds of light (except total darkness) and are very affordable. They also play epub books and B&N books and are now recognized by the Adobe Digital Editions program used by the New York Public Library.

    I also appreciate the fact that Jetbook Lite uses alkaline (or rechargeable) AA batteries, so the unit will never have a problem with its built-in batteries.

    In short, Kindle, Sony, and Nook are far from the only players in the room…

    • MikeVx says:

      I have a JetBook Lite. I’m quite happy with it. There are huge numbers of free books out there on the net, and I don’t have to worry about someone deciding that I’m not allowed to keep my e-book any more.

  24. yellowdragon says:

    I live in Puerto Rico, a territory of the US. Last week I bought a Nook 3G at my local Best Buy (Hato Rey). Tried to set up an account but B&N thinks we’re ‘international’ and won’t allow purchases from a local address.

    A friend of mine has a Kindle and she has no problems whatsoever, Amazon understands our situation and lets Kindle users purchase ebooks. So my Nook is returning today and later tonight I’ll buy a Kindle.

    For some of us is just a matter of where we live, not which is the best one. :-(

  25. ophmarketing says:

    That may have been the single least informative video I’ve ever viewed in my entire life.

    And I’m even including the video of that kid coming back from the dentist in that comparative assessment.

  26. Ce J says:

    I have Ibooks and Kindle installed on my Ipad and I like to read books on it. I like that I can read in the dark after my husband is asleep. I can see the appeal of the Kindle if you don’t want the other functions of the Ipad. I wouldn’t buy the Ipad as a stand-alone reader.
    We use our Ipad every day for all sorts of different things so it was the right device for us.

    That being said, I’m cheap and mostly check out books from the library. I read 2-3 books a week so this is the best choice for me. I buy ebooks when it’s something I want to keep around or its one of the rare books that I’ve got to have as soon as it comes out.

  27. WagTheDog says:

    Is the interviewer unable to speak without waving her arms?

  28. BelleSade says:

    In which one of these can I download books without Wi-Fi (I don’t have Wi-Fi at home), and can read Cyrillic?

  29. BelleSade says:

    In which one of these can I download books without Wi-Fi (I don’t have Wi-Fi at home), and can read Cyrillic?

  30. LastError says:

    My mother just bought an e-reader she saw on QVC. (This is typical of her: she buys a LOT of crap off that channel, and also LL Bean.) I knew something was up when she started suddenly asking what was wifi and whether she had it. This is never a good sign.

    Anyway, the reader she bough was cheap. It’s gotten some good, some bad reviews. But it runs Android so there’s hope.

    The thing is, my mom has awful eyesight, god bless her. She can’t read books now and I am not at all sure she’s going to do any better with e-books. Even if the text can be magnified, the whole device interface probably won’t be.

    And mom is NOT a gadget person whatsoever.

  31. fuzzy says:

    I bought a Sony eReader a couple of weeks ago and I love it.

    I put an eReader app on my phone when I first got it 2 years ago but the novelty wore off after about a day when I realized that the battery would run down after a few hours. I need my phone ready to be a phone. I can’t have it dead at inopportune times because I ran the battery down reading. My eReader’s battery will last weeks.

    I’m a voracious reader but I also stare at a monitor at least 10 hours a day. I don’t need or want a backlit display because staring at a tiny bright object in a dark room causes eye strain and headaches.

    As for the kindle vs. nook vs. eReader vs. kobo:

    I don’t want to be bound to amazon, nooks aren’t available in Canada and kobos have some retarded limitations.

  32. cassiopia1177 says:

    I’ve had my nook for several months. When my trip to my mother-in-law’s house went from a weekend to three weeks due to her health issues, I was able to stay sane sitting at the hospital by buying books through it, and ended up reading about ten books that week. When she got out, and I was able to use my laptop, I side-loaded another dozen or so from Project Gutenberg and kept on reading. If I’d been relying on paper books, I’d have either had to get a second suitcase for all the ones I bought, or have run out of reading material on day 2.

    If you read more than one or two books a week, getting an e-reader, no matter which one, is priceless. If you like to read AND buy books easily, get the nook. (The freebies instore are a bonus – have gotten free coffee, free chocolate, discounts on pretzels and so on…)

  33. vastrightwing says:

    There is no such thing as the right eReader. They only function for one purpose: reading text. They are not good for any other purpose. And even reading text, they aren’t great at that either. Why spend almost $100 for a single purpose device that you have to lug around an additional charger for? Will break when you drop it on the ground? Where content costs the same as a book except that once you pay for the content, it’s value is zero. Zero. You can’t do anything with that content once you pay for it. At least a book has residual value later. Sure eInk is easy to read, and the battery lasts longer than a laptop battery. But I’d much rather carry an eePC around, which I can use for movies, Internet, email, ebooks and much more. Ebook readers make no sense to me. It’s just a phase. It will go away as soon as the publishing industry changes it business model.

  34. rosie1925 says:

    Sigh. I am SO old school. I love my Palm T|X as an ereader. It FITS in my pocket!!!! And no one even considers that these days. If I wanted something I had to carry, I would carry a real paper book!

  35. kennedar says:

    I do not understand the debate between the iPad and the Kindle. They both great devices but for different purposes. I use my Kindle for reading, and my iPhone for any web-related stuff. My husband wants an iPad because he is not a big reader. IMHO, a dedicated e-reader is a must for anyone who is a hard-core reader, like myself. I read 2 books in 2 days last week and the idea of doing that with an LCD screen makes my eyes hurt. But if you are not a hard core reader, then an iPad is probably a better purchase. I have no desire to watch TV or a movie while on a flight or waiting for the bus, I would rather read. My husband would rather watch a movie, so the iPad is better for him. To me the market has room for both and both serve a very different customer base.