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The 6 Best E-Readers to Take Your Library With You Everywhere

Nothing can replace the tactile experience of flipping through an actual hardcover or paperback, but e-readers have proven that they’re here to stay for people who want the convenience of carrying multiple books around without the extra bulk. Take a look below at things to keep in mind when buying one, followed by our reviews of the best.

What to Consider

Sure, you could download e-books to your phone or tablet, but e-readers feature anti-glare E Ink screens that are much easier on your eyes than those bright LCDs. Plus, having a device dedicated to reading ensures you won’t be as distracted by apps, and they have more power efficiency, storage space, and special features designed for bookworms.

There are three main brands on the e-book reader market, including Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and Kobo. If you already have one of these e-readers and are looking to upgrade to a new one, we’d generally recommend staying with the same brand to make transferring data easier. However, each have their own unique features, software, and app compatibility that may make it worth making a switch.

How We Selected These E-Readers

To select these e-readers, we consulted reviews from six expert sources like Tech Radar, CNET, and Wirecutter, as well as consumer reviews on retail sites like Amazon. We evaluated the products based on features like brightness and color adjustability, waterproofing, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and overall design for the price. In addition to the devices themselves, we considered complete user experience, including what apps and software are built into the devices, as well as if they’re compatible with library apps—such as OverDrive—to download e-books or audiobooks for free.

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Highly Rated

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

The latest Kindle Paperwhite is now not only thin and lightweight but also waterproof with a rating of IPX8, so you can take it with you to the beach, pool, or bath. With a resolution of 300 pixels per inch (ppi) and five LEDs, the six-inch touchscreen will be easy on the eyes. All of these features make it an especially great option if you’re looking to trade in your old Kindle, which you can do through Amazon to save 20 percent.

We also like that this Kindle is equipped with Bluetooth, so you can pair it with wireless headphones to listen to audiobooks on Audible (though you can also send books to your Kindle to read for free if your local library uses OverDrive). However, keep in mind that there are no hard page-turn buttons, and you have to pay $20 more to get the model without ads.

  • Several color options
  • Waterproof
  • Bluetooth for audiobook connectivity
  • Costs more for non-ad version

Great Value

Kobo Clara HD

If you’re looking for an Amazon alternative, Rakuten’s line of Kobo e-readers is the best option for perusing ebooks as well as digital documents in a huge variety of file formats. It’s also the best for library users, since it has built-in support for OverDrive (you can still send e-books from OverDrive’s Libby to Kindles, just not directly—which means you can’t browse for books right from the device). Unlike most other e-readers, it can also support Pocket, an app for saving and reading articles from the internet. An excellent affordable Kobo is the Clara HD, which compares to the Paperwhite with a six-inch screen, 8GB of storage, 300 ppi, and a 16Hz processor.

  • Affordable price for features
  • Adjustable blue light
  • Most compatible with library e-books

Most Premium

Amazon Kindle Oasis

The Oasis is the most premium Kindle you can buy, starting at $250. Its design is thin and light, with a large seven-inch screen. Like the Paperwhite, it’s waterproof with 8 and 32GB storage options, 300 ppi, and Bluetooth connectivity. However, it has a more powerful screen with 25 LEDs, an adjustable warm light, auto-adjusting brightness sensors, auto rotating, and page turn buttons.

  • Manual buttons for turning pages
  • Waterproof

Great Design

Kobo Libra H2O

Now, if you want a reading experience comparable to the Kindle Oasis, just not at that price, Kobo’s Libra H20 has all of the features you’d want while being more affordable at under $200. Despite its plastic (instead of metal) construction, it boasts a seven-inch screen that can switch to landscape mode, as well as manual page-turn buttons. It’s also waterproof rated at IPX8, and it comes with all of the same benefits as the Kobo Clara HD in terms of library app compatibility.

  • Affordable for its premium design
  • 7-inch HD screen with landscape mode and buttons
  • Waterproof

Large Screen

Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight Plus

barnesandnoble.com

$199.99

We recommend those dedicated to the Barnes & Noble brand opt for the Nook GlowLight Plus. It’s certainly not cheap at $200, but it does have some features that justify its cost—mainly, the large 7.8-inch screen, a waterproof rating of IPX7, page-turn buttons, and Bluetooth and 3.5mm audio jack connections. Its brightness capabilities is also more comparable to Amazon’s premium Kindle Oasis. However, PC Mag describes some of its software as buggy, resulting in poor appearance of PDF and EPUB documents. And it doesn’t have wireless support for downloading books from your library—so it’s probably only worthwhile for readers who want to stick with Barnes & Noble e-books.

  • Bluetooth and audio jack
  • Waterproof

Kid-friendly

Amazon Kindle Kids Edition

If you want to get your kid reading but don’t need the added distraction of yet another multi-purpose screen in their life, consider an e-reader like the Kids Edition of a Kindle. Instead of playing games or watching videos, they can immerse themselves in titles from Amazon Kids+, which you get a free year’s subscription to (it typically costs $2.99 per month). The Parent Dashboard also allows you to adjust age filters, add books to their library, and view their reading progress. Though it’s unfortunate that a device made for kids isn’t waterproof, you’ll at least appreciate the generous two-year warranty to give you some peace of mind.

  • Free year of Amazon Kids+
  • Two-year warranty

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