Choosing an E-Reader: What's Right for You?

Amazon Kindle

So it’s about that time to get that perfect gift, and you still haven’t decided? There is nothing like staying indoors on a cold winter day with a great cup of coffee while reading a great book. Eureka! Why not give the gift that keeps on giving…an e-reader!  But which one to choose? 


The Kindle Voyage is the summit of “Mount Amazon." It's the company's lightest touchscreen model ever with the best resolution and contrast to date, better built-in lighting, a flush glass front, and page-turn buttons. The downside is the high price which starts at $199.

One floor down is the Kindle Paperwhite, which has been improved from last year's model. It now has a faster processor, more responsive touch screen, and a better integrated light that's brighter and whiter and displays more evenly across the screen. Pages refresh less frequently which means it makes it easier on the eyes. The price has not been improved, though, as it is still $119.

Last, but surely not least, we come to the reliable classic Kindle which is the most affordable e-ink reader model. It has wi-fi that sports a touchscreen and offers access to Amazon's best-in-class e-book collection in a simple, clean-looking package. Capacity has been doubled to 4GB, and the processor is a bit faster, too.  It remains at an affordable $79.

For more info:

Nook GlowLight

On the other hand, we have Barnes & Noble's second-generation Nook GlowLight. It has a lighter design than the Kindle Paperwhite, an improved lighting scheme, text is at a better resolution, and this year’s model eliminated  page flashing. You get 4GB of internal memory, and there's a ring of silicone rubber around the frame to help protect against falls when you’re reading a suspense novel!  Ringing in at $99, this is a pretty attractive e-reader.

For more info:

Kobo Glo

The Kobo Glo is lightweight, wi-fi-enabled, and has a great front-lit, high resolution display with a touch-screen interface. It also has an expansion slot for additional memory. A notable feature is that it supports EPUB files and is compatible with any e-book store that uses the Adobe DRM format. On the downside, Kobo's selection of e-books is not as vast as Amazon's or Barnes & Noble's. Also, loading library loaners and third-party e-book purchases requires tethering to a PC. Nevertheless, at $129, the Kobo Glo is an excellent Kindle alternative, especially for readers seeking EPUB compatibility and international options.

For more info:

Honestly speaking, you can’t go wrong with any of these. So if you’ve been saving your pennies all year round, you may wish to go with one of the higher end models. On the other hand, if you’re like me and on a budget something on the lower end of the spectrum will always please.

Written by: Aaron G. at HPL Central Branch

Check out previous posts in our Holiday Blog Series:
To E-Read or Not: An Introduction
Know Your E-Reader: Classic Vs. Internet-Based
Beyond the Library: Best Free E-Book Sites


will any of them read it to you ,my wife is lrgally blind.

Hi Stanley, Based on what I can find, it looks like the most basic Kindle model (Kindle Touch) does have a Text-to-Speech feature. The newer models don't include this feature. However, if you have a tablet like the Kindle Fire, iPad, or Samsung Galaxy Tab, you can listen to audiobooks. I hope this helps!

I got a nook glowlight for Christmas and cannot figure out how to sync it up to the Houston public library system so I can check out books. is there someone at HPL I can take my nook to and get help?

Hi Sherri. Both the McGovern-Stella Link and Kendall Library locations have regularly-scheduled classes that are geared towards helping our customers learn to use their e-readers. Stella Link's classes are on Wednesdays at 12 PM and again at 6 PM. Kendall's classes appear to be the first Tuesday of the month at 12:30 PM (their programs are only entered through February, so you may want to call 832-393-1880 to verify). This page may also be helpful: We're working on getting more detailed guides on our website, but in the meantime, here is another that should help:

Thank you for this info. I am going to attend one of the classes!

That's great! Enjoy your Nook, and if you have any more questions feel free to call 832-393-1313, via chat, or through our e-mail reference form.

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