How to choose the best ereader in 7 Simple Steps: Buying Guide

how to choose the best ereader

In this buying guide, I’m going to teach you How to choose the best ereader. I’ll answer all the important questions like, how to choose the right e-reader, what features should it have, pros and cons of owning one, and so on.

Many people are in search of e-book readers because these are not only fun to have, but they allow you to read faster and keep your entire library of books with you wherever you go.

1. Know-How to choose the best ereader in 7 simple steps.

There are many different features you should look at when searching for the best e-reader to buy.

Here is a list of the important considerations to check out and think about when shopping for an eBook reader, no matter the model.

1. Screen/Display.

  • Screen Should Be Around 6 Inches Or More.
  • Do You Prefer The “Real” Book Experience, And Reading In Sunlight? Choose e-Ink.
  • Would You Rather Have Greater Functionality And Color Images? Choose A Color LCD Screen.

2.Memory and Storage.

  • Look For At Least 2GB Included Memory For Storing eBooks.
  • If You’re Planning On Storing Videos and Audio Files, Look For An SD Card Slot For Expansion.
  • Check Whether You Get Cloud Storage Included, Kindle Color Fire Reader has cloud storage.

3.What navigation type do you preffer?

  • Do You Prefer Physical Buttons And A Keyboard.
  • Or Touchscreens?

4.Reader Functions and Features.

  • Check Reading Functions e.g. Onboard Dictionary, Text-To-Speech, Highlights, Notes, Font Sizes etc.
  • Check Extra Features Such As Web Browser, Music Player, Games, Apps Etc.

5.Buying Books.

  • Check Which Bookstores You Can Buy From.
  • Do They Have A Good Selection Of Free And Paid Books?
  • Does The Reader Use ePub Format To Make It Easier To Buy From Other Sources, ie: Kindle only compatible with Kindle books at the Kindle store.
  • Is There Software Available To Convert Book Files If You Want To Buy From Other Stores?
  • Is There A Good Selection Of Magazines, Blogs and Newspapers Available If You Want Them?

6.Battery Life.

  • Battery Life – How Long Do You Want It To Last?
  • e-Ink Screens Should Last At Least 1 Month (With Wi-Fi Switched Off) – Kindle Models last up to 2 months with Wifi off, so do Nook models.
  • Color Screens Will Last A Lot Less (8 Hours Average).

7.Requirements For Using The eBook Reader.

  • Do You Need A Computer In Order To Use The Device?
  • Can You Manage Files On The Device Itself Or Do You Need To Connect Up To USB?

Specs And Features To Consider When Buying Ebook Readers:

1.The Design.

Most E-readers will be comfortable and easy to hold. They are lightweight, weighing less than paper books. They are controlled with either small buttons at the side or bottom of the reader, a keyboard or a touchscreen in the models that support it.

2.Screen Type.

All readers either have an e-Ink or Color LCD display. The particular size of the screen will depend on whether the reader has a physical keyboard or a touchscreen. Generally, most readers will use most of their space for the display. The main distinction with ebook readers will be e-Ink versus color LCD.

The evident drawback to e-Ink readers is that they cannot display in color, however, the e-Ink technology has its own perks like great battery life and reading in bright sun without glare or eyestrain, reads like real paper.

An essential decision is to decide on an e-Ink black and white display or a color screen. e-Ink is the most popular with true reading lovers because it is most like paper.

Pros of e-Ink:

  • 1.E-Ink is closest to real paper, and is grain free so it’s even better than paper.
  • 2.Read in bright sun, No Glare, No Eyestrain.
  • 3.Very long battery life versus LCD screens of color readers.

Cons of e-Ink:

  • 1.Sometimes can be slow to navigate.
  • 2.Sometimes when pages are turned there will be a quick flash of the screen.
  • 3.Color Screens.

Pros of Color LCD Screens:

  • 1.LCD color screens can be read in the dark because of the backlight that e-Ink lacks.
  • 2.Images are seen better in color, like for reading magazines.
  • 3.Web surfing is great in color, like with the new Amazon Kindle Fire that offers tv shows and movies and supports picture files.
  • 4.Less of a delay between page turns.

Cons of Color Screens:

  • 1.LCD screens cause eye strain.
  • 2.Cannot be read in bright sunlight.
  • 3.Screen Size – Book reader screens are typically 6″ inches in size, though you may find slightly larger ones, like the Kindle DX that offers the 9.7″ screen and large font reading or even slightly smaller options.
  • 4.Most readers will allow you control fonts and sizes for more comfortable reading.

3.Size and Weight.

Most eReaders are light enough to hold comfortably. Many are lighter than the average paper book. There are a variety of sizes offered, like the Sony’s Pocket Edition that is small enough to fit into a pocket and Nook or Kindle that are a little larger but still very easy to carry around.

4.Control Options For Book Readers.

There’s now more choice than ever before when it comes to the way you can control your eBook reader.

The controls on most models of book readers are made to be simple, this means there will be a forward and backward page turn button, a directional navigation pad, as well as an on/off switch and a physical keyboard. Touch screen models of these devices have even less controls.

  • 1.Keyboard
  • 2.Page Turn Buttons – use less battery
  • 3.Touchscreens – these are the most intuitive

5.Prices Of Ebook Readers.

One of the biggest pros for ebook readers versus other devices that can display digital books, like smartphones is they are much cheaper in price.

Basic Wi-Fi only 6″ e-Ink reader: ranging between 59-100$ With Amazon Kindle Special Offers.
Touchscreen Wi-Fi 6″ e-Ink reader ranges between $90 – $190.
Touchscreen Wi-Fi + 3G 6″ e-Ink reader ranges between $100 – $200.
Color Readers range from $70 – $300 depending on the extra features, Wi-Fi etc, compare all color readers.

If you want to spend less on a book reader then you have the option to choose Kindle models that come with special offers and sponsored screensavers. These are readers on which Amazon will display ads when you are not reading and the Kindle goes to sleep and promise to never interrupt the reading experience.

Otherwise, you may choose the less known models like the Ematic eGlide or the Kobo Reader, both good budget models.

6.Storage Space.

Normally, eBook readers have at least enough memory to store 1,500+ eBooks. Kindle stores 3,500 books and Nook does the same.

Also, ebooks can be stored locally on PC as archives so you do not need to have them all on the reader.

Some readers offer memory expansion with SD card slots. Though most people will never need it. Unless the reader will also store, audiobooks, mp3 files, and picture files that take more space. Also, the new Kindle Fire color reader comes with cloud storage that will store all your data on Amazon’s servers.

7.Reading Functions.

A very important consideration when buying an ebook reader and what may set different ereader models apart is the functions they include as a standard.

Reading functions are made to enhance the reading experience. For instance, you might want to highlight certain passages to refer back to at a later time, annotations, and note-taking within passages. Or, you may want to change font sizes and other such features.

A built-in dictionary that pulls up definitions by clicking on words while reading is important too. Most of the above come on the high-end reader models, like Sony readers, Nook readers, and Amazon’s Kindle models.

Another attractive feature is the text-to-speech that allows the reader to read to you. This is something that not all ereaders have. Kindle has it with the feature “Kindle Reads To You”. Nook and Sony DO NOT have this feature.

8.eBook Stores.

The majority of readers are linked to a particular eBook store. For instance, the Kindle is linked to the Kindle Store on, the Nook by Barnes and Noble allows users to get books from Barnes & Noble, etc. With some readers you are limited to purchasing books in those specific formats that their respective stores sell, but there are ways to get around this. Some readers support the ePub format which is more universal.

9.Extra Features on the e-reader.

Some readers have extra features.

  • 1. Video and photo viewers with color screen models, like Kindle Fire, Skytex Primer Color Reader and Nook Color.
  • 2. MP3 players.
  • 3. Social networking options to share highlights and book passages with friends. Kindle and Nook have this feature.
  • 4. Book sharing and Lend Books To Others – Kindle and Nook have this feature.
  • 5. Free Book Samples, Kindle and Nook have this feature.
  • 6.The new Kindle Touchscreen 3G/Wifi and Wifi Only touchscreen model offers the ability to borrow ebooks from public librariesRIPT>.

10.Internet Connectivity Options on ebook readers.

Most of the high-end readers come with Wi-Fi Internet connections or 3G and some have both. Amazon offers free global 3G on their 3G Kindle Touch Screen Reader and the 3G Keyboard Kindle.
The top models of readers have Internet connection usually in the form of WiFi, 3G, which is the fastest connectivity, or both.

Generally, all Kindle models have Wifi or 3G.
Amazon also offers:

  • 1.Kindle Touchscreen Wifi
  • 2.Touchscreen Kindle with global 3G + Wifi
  • 3.Kindle Keyboard with free 3G and Wifi
  • 4.Basic Kindle With WiFi
  • 5.Nook has a new WiFi model
  • 6.Sony has the Sony Daily Edition 3G
  • 7.and the Pandigital Color Touchscreen with WiFi

Read also: Best ebook readers

11.Web Browsers.

Kindle Fire features the Amazon Silk browser with WiFi.

Most of the web browsers that come with book readers are just okay. The Amazon Silk browser is notable and streams movies, tv shows, and more and is now available on the Kindle Fire.

12.Downloading Books.

WiFi and/or 3G connectivity is important because they let you access official bookstores to buy eBooks directly from the device.

The big players such as the Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble Nook all have this option. Also, have pretty big bookstores to shop with, that also have newspapers, magazines and blogs that can be sent directly to the book-reading device.

13.eBook Availability Considerations When Buying Ebook Readers.

The range of eBooks available is probably the most important factor to consider when deciding which eReader to purchase. At present, the Amazon Kindle Store is the biggest eBook store out there, with many free books as well. However, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and Sony all have decent bookstores too.

Regrettably, deciding on the store that suits you isn’t just a question of the one that has the largest selection because there is no one universal eBook format and each device has its own as described at the beginning of this ebook reader buying guide.

14.Guide to the most common ebook formats

When it comes to your eBook reader comparison and choosing which device is best for your needs, it helps to have an understanding of the different formats available. You should always check the specifications to find out whether your particular model of eBook reader is capable of reading the format you want it to.

1. Amazon Kindle (AZW)

This is the format employed by Amazon to work with their Kindle eReader. As such, AZW files are only displayable on a Kindle device, and they can only be bought from the Amazon Kindle store. Amazon has recently announced that users will soon be able to view AZW files on their PC.

2. ePub

This is a popular format of eBook created by the International Digital Publishing Forum. This format is supported by most of the newest electronic readers, including Kindle, Sony, Nook, and Kobo. This format is also used on particular software for PCs and Macs. A major benefit to this format is that it is ‘reflowable’ meaning that text is not formatted for one specific page size, and lines will flow correctly without odd interruptions in the lines. Any eBook reader comparison should look out for this format!

3. PDF

This format was created by Adobe systems and is popular on the internet due to the variety of systems that can view them. The drawback to use PDF format on electronic book readers is that lines are of a fixed length at the time the eBook was created, meaning if your reader does not match the size of the page when the file was created, lines may not display correctly. PDF is useful as an added extra format in eReaders, so may factor into your eBook reader comparison.

4. Plain Text (TXT)

Plain text eBooks are a very simple form, taking up little space. This format may be included as an extra for your eBook reader, but generally .txt is not the standard for publishing eBooks for electronic readers.

5. Sony Reader (BbeB/ LRF)

This is a format used by Sony Reader, though Sony Reader devices can also read other formats. Most eBook sources will be supplying ePub formats as standard, rather than BbeB.

15.How to convert ebooks?

Free software programs like Calibre can convert eBook files from one format to another. And for reading on computers all major eBook manufacturers provide computer apps that make their eBooks readable on desktops and Mac computers.

16.Battery Life.

Battery life is an essential issue for any eBook reader and the life of which will greatly depend on the screen and having WiFi off.

e-Ink screens have a superb battery life, 1 month on most and 2 months in the best eBook readers such as the Kindle Touch and Nook Touch with WiFi off.

Color screens have much lower battery life. Color screens require a constant backlight, and this means they are a bigger drain on the battery which means around 5-8 hours of reading with WiFi off.

17.The Need For Computers.

The high-end models, like Kindle and Nook, do not require a computer at all for use. Just take them out of the box and enjoy. Some models do, however, to get books and charge the battery, like the budget Skytex Primer on which you cannot load books onto the reader or organize files without connecting to a computer.

18.Must have ereader Accessories.

1.Reading Lights – Cool lights for readers that attach are great to read the e-Ink models in the dark.
2.Cases and Covers – These are important to help protect the devices from scratches and dirt. Some ebook readers come with them but most do not.

19.Cost of eBooks vs Paper Books.

The question of the price of books is an important factor when buying ebook readers. While ebook readers will cost money upfront for the actual device, thousands of ebooks cost less than the average paperback or hardback for that matter.

The Kindle Store offers over 1.000,000 books at $9.99 or less and the average price of books at Barnes and Noble is $9.99 as well.
Plus with the Kindle, you can read for up to two weeks and return them if you would like.

There are quite a bit of free books available at the Kindle Store and at Barnes and Noble as well, including many of the classics.

However, it is true that some eBooks cost more than paper books, too. The best thing to do is browse the Kindle Store or Barnes and Noble to see the selection and prices before deciding if buying an ebook reader is for you.

One thing to take into account is whether or not it’s advantageous for you personally to get a reader or does reading with paper books meet your needs.

7. How to choose the right ereader ?

While there are many models of ebook readers that each have specific features, there are some key features that the best ebook reader must-have.

  • 1. The first thing to remember when you’re looking for an e-reader is that there are many different types, some of which you may have never heard of. You do not have to buy an expensive brand when you can get the same technology in terms of price. Prices fell to about one-third the prices they were when they were first introduced, and the devices become smarter, faster, and easier to use.
  • 2. Pay close attention to the type of screen the ereaders use. Good readers will have a quality screen that allows you to read in direct sunlight or low light, although almost all readers do not let you read in the dark.
  • 3. Most often you may think you would have more if you pay more for reading electronic books. This is not always the case. Some of the new models that are available are much more versatile than the more expensive ones that were sold just a few years ago and yet these newer ones are much cheaper.
  • 4. There are other features such as built-in dictionaries, which were not included in the original model but you can still use the device to play games, read the morning paper, or make notes and comments in the books you read.
  • 5. When it comes to choosing the ideal reader for you, always have a feeling for the size of the ergonomic device. If it feels good in your hand, then you will be more inclined to spend time reading and you’ll like it more than ever.

8.Final Conclusion.

One of the main benefits of an eBook reader is the wonderful fact of storing huge book libraries in a thing handheld and portable device, that weighs less than one book.

This reduces clutter at home and allows you to choose from a wide variety of material to read when you are waiting at the doctors office, riding on a bus, traveling, on a plane, on the beach, and anywhere else you can imagine.
The book reader with e-Ink offers better than paper reading experiences.

The disadvantage of book readers is of course that they are not $10 items and also they are electronic and can break down. And, some people just love to read the real paper.

Really the decision is yours, but no one can deny that these are cool gadgets and totally modern portable devices and I hope this buying guide helps you to make an informed choice when it comes to buying a book reader.