Welcome to the Good e-Reader 2010 Buyers guide for E-Readers! As you may or may not be aware E-Readers in the last year have really taken the world by storm and have embedded themselves into the public consciousness like never before. Although e-readers have been around for 3 or 4 years now, they have firmly entrenched themselves into popular culture, with commercials, magazine spreads and more.
What you may not know, is there is around 150 different e-readers being sold on the market today! You can buy them at big box stores, such as Target, Bestbuy, and Future Shop. Even Book stores have gotten into the game, and you can purchase them at Chapters/Indigo and Barnes and Noble.
With so many E-Readers on the market place, and so much choice, we have put together a viable list of what we feel are the best ones to invest in. We took into account such facets as; Customer Support, eBook Selection, User Experience, Firmware Updates, Page Turning, and extra features such as Games, Web Browser and more! Many of these e-readers we talk about can be easily found online, or at our new retail partner Shop E-Readers.
Our Top 3 Picks of 2010
The Amazon Kindle Graphite Edition
Amazon was one of the first companies in the game to release an e-reader 3 or 4 years ago and continue to lead the way in innovation with their new 6 inch Amazon Kindle Graphite WI-FI ($139, Amazon Kindle Graphite WI-FI/3G ($189.00) and 9 inch Kindle DX Graphite WI-FI/3G ($299)
The current line of Amazon Kindle E-Readers come mostly in black and have some of the fastest page turns and contrast resolution out of any of the current generation of e-readers. They are also the lightest Kindles to date, which weigh practically nothing compared to bulk of some of their competition.
The battery life in this unit has been jacked up to the max, you can seriously never turn it off and do constant reading for a month and not run out of juice! Great for holidays, and if you are someone like me, and forget to turn a device off. The one nice thing about this device, is that it is bundled with some great little features such as a web-browser so you can check email on services like Yahoo or Gmail.
Recent firmware updates on the Amazon Kindles allow you to share select passages via popular social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. Amazon also has a ton of apps on all platforms, including Google Android, Apple, Blackberry and more! You can even read a few chapters on your phone, then when you get home and turn on your Kindle, the current page you left off on, on your phone, will be displayed on your Kindle!
If you go the Kindle route, you will only be able to shop for ebooks primarily on the Amazon Book Store, which is one of the largest on the internet, as well as the most substantiated. This is mainly due to the fact that Amazon currently controls 60% of the entire ebook market. When you purchase an ebook from Amazon, they are delivered via your Kindle via wireless or an AT&T 3G connection.
Speaking of ebooks, the Kindle will read, ePub, PRC, AMZ, MOBI and a few other formats, PDFS do not display that well on the 6 inch screens, but if you pay the extra money and go with the Kindle DX, PDFS often look better on 9 inch screens, due to the way they are constructed.
The Amazon Kindle has great visability in the market place, you can buy them at Bestbuy, Online, Staples, and others.
The Barnes and Noble Nook
Barnes and Noble is one of Americas largest physical bookstores and this year they got into the e-reader game with the Nook WI-FI ($149) and still their NookWI-FI/3G Version ($189.00)
Barnes and Noble is a late bloomer to the E-Reader scene and have already commanded a very large market share of E-Reader buyers.
Little devices that are focused on making a big impact on the way you read books, read E-Book Readers. They are small enough to fit your pocket and large enough to carry the whole library. You have set your mind on getting yourself this sleek device but you are somewhat undecided about which way to go. With quite a few big names fighting for shelf-space, I would suggest you zero in on the Barnes and Noble Nook and you will not have to look further.
Designed with the consumer in mind, the Nook is the king of connectivity and content. The Nook is the first electronic book-reader to be based on the Google Android platform. The 6 inch E-Ink display gives the screen the look of a traditional book, with no glare or back-light. The 2 inch color multi-touch screen allows you to navigate content and browse books in a cover-flow style. This screen doubles up as a virtual keyboard.
Giving you the opportunity to go through a million titles, with a 2GB memory, it can hold up to 1500 e-books. This memory can be increased with the Micro SD expansion slot. You will no longer need an oversized backpack for all the books you need while traveling and you will never be caught without your favorite book. Nook has access to the online store of Barnes and Noble. Also while visiting this favorite store of yours, you can read entire e-books for free.
The feature which clinches the deal for the Nook is its ‘Lend Me’ capability. It has the local city library feature where you can lend purchased e-books to your friends for a period of two weeks. Your friend need not own a Nook; an iPhone or an iPod Touch using Barnes and Noble software application will suffice. This lending feature can be put to use only with the publisher’s approval and you will not be able to access it for those two weeks.
The Nook WI-FI and 3G version both have an internet browser and a bunch of games you can play. The Nook internet browser, is currently the most robust and well developed out of all of the current generation of e-readers.
The Nook supports ePub and lets you download books from multiple vendors. Unlike say the Amazon Kindle, you are not limited to just the Barnes and Noble store, but you can do business with any company that produces ebooks in the EPUB Format.
The rave reviews of the Nook make it a winner. It sure is a gadget worth being excited about. Giving you a better reading experience, you will agree with me when you treat yourself to one. That is if you can find one, due to the tremendous success of the Barnes and Noble Nook WI-Fi, it is almost impossible to buy one online, and most stores are sold out. If you live outside of the USA, the only way to buy one is on EBAY or Shop E-Readers
The Kobo E-Reader
Another new entrant to the E-Reader market in 2010 was Kobo! This new E-Reader is around $130.00 and is a bare bones e-reader whose sole premise is to provide a comfortable e-reading experience.
Kobo like Amazon has developed a ton of applications with every mobile and computing platform such as Google Android, Apple, Blackberry, PC and more! You can purchase ebooks from Boarders, or the Kobo bookstore on this device.
The Kobo e-reader is a basic e-reader, very barebones, but has tremendous customer support and a loyal following. Although some of their firmware is a bit buggy, certain elements have been fixed in short time, and the developers constantly keep people informed via our Blog.
Kobo is also more accessible to purchase then many other brands, you can buy it from Chapters in Canada, Boarders in the USA and many popular bookstores in Australia and New Zealand.
If you are looking for a cheap e-reader with a large selection of ebooks (kobo has 2 million) then check this one out.
Other Good Buys
Although Sony continues to be a strong brand, their ebook store is lacking compared to the competition. Recently Sony cut prices on most of their e-readers and made themselves a viable alternative to Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo. Sony is also releasing two new e-readers in time for the holidays, you can check out a preview of them HERE.
If you are looking for a Good Sony E-Reader, we recommend the 9 Inch touch Screen Daily Edition for $299 or the Pocket Edition for $149.
One of the great things about Sony, is the availability, you can purchase them from most Sony Style Stores and tech stores such as Bestbuy or Futureshop/Circuit City.
The Acer LumiRead L600 is powered by a Freescale processor i.MX357 with a processor speed of 532 MHz and an integrated unit that provides hardware acceleration for OpenVG 1.1. It also has 128 MB of ram. It has a 6 inch screen with a resolution of 800×600 and is powered by a TFT screen, which uses electrophoresis without backlight, similar to the new ASUS Eee Tablet.
The e-reader has 2 GB of flash storage onboard memory via a MicroSD slot, and allows you to upgrade to a maximum of 32 GB. Although a 3G version is due later on in the year, it does come with a wireless network card with 802.11b / g speeds. Compared to allot of other electronic readers this one is not that heavy, it weighs around 250 Grams, and word has it the 3G version will only weigh 285 Grams.
Now let’s talk E-Reader formats! Having a versatile array of compatible e-books is a large factor in deciding what e-reader is right for you! The Acer L600 reads PDF, ePub, TXT, HTML, MOBI, RTF, and Doc files. Which means you can not only use converted Kindle Books on this device, but you can read any online format, as well as the industry standard ePub.
Price for the Wi-Fi version of the LumiReader has been fixed at €199 while the same with an integrated 3G modem will cost €249 when its ready for release this November.
Shipping this October for $99 the Jetbook Mini will be launched and is a good alternative if price is an object. Currently you can pre-order it online.
The Jetbook mini has a 5 inch TFT screen and it runs on batteries! You will need 4 AAA batteries and will provide about 90 hours of constant use. They are billing this little e-reader as “The Lightest E-Reader to Date” at around 5.8 ounces. If you want to increase the amount of onboard memory you can upgrade to a max of 2 GB SD Card. As for ebook formats they claim support for LIT, MOBI, EPUB, HTML, PRC, RTF, PDB, PDF via Calibre conversion to TXT and FB2.
That about wraps it up for our E-Reader Buyers guide for 2010, although tons of E-Readers are out there, and are viable, most are for specific niche audiences like the Entourage Edge for students or mainly Europeon e-readers that never quite caught on with the North American audience such as iRex, iRiver, Bookeen or Bebook.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.