E-Readers—What’s your favorite and why?

When e-readers first came out, I’ll admit it. I was skeptical, because I love the experience of reading. Holding a book, turning the page, perusing my personal library for which of my favorites I am ready to re-read. Walking into a bookstore is practically a religious experience for me—the smell, the stories, the possibilities. I just knew there was no way some electronic device could possibly duplicate my sacred reading experience.

But while one of the things I love about a book is its heft, that very thing makes traveling with lots of books quite difficult. I am a pretty fast reader, so for a week-long trip I would often need three or four just to get me through the flight time. What finally made me willing to try an e-reader was needing to make a trip to Manila, with transit time of 25 hours one way.  I just couldn’t figure out a way to make the logistics work. How could I possibly carry enough books to entertain me during fifty hours of travel time?? So I sucked it up and bought a Kindle.

I was hooked. That first trip with my Kindle, I was amazed at how light my purse was. No longer full of stacks and stacks of books, it was incredibly easy to lift and carry. Hooray! I’ve been a convert and evangelist ever since.

Since I was a fairly early adopter (not super early, but early enough I guess), people would stop me often, in airports, airplanes, restaurants, wherever, to ask me how I like it. The honest answer is that I love it. Instead of replacing my beloved books, it is an addition to my library. I will still buy books on occasion, but I’m more discerning about which ones. I buy random paperbacks or things I want to read over and over on the Kindle, and special things in book-form. It makes travel so, so much easier. No longer do I have to plan out how many books to bring—I just grab my Kindle and I have hundreds at my finger tips. So easy!

Now I’ve had my Kindle for a few years. It is old-school—it’s not in color, and it looks like an actual book when I read it. It’s not back-lit, which means I need a light to read it, but it doesn’t hurt my eyes like a computer screen. So even though I’m mostly pretty happy with it, all these new e-readers are intriguing! Nook, Kindle Fire, pretty color displays…..

So I wanted to ask you guys—which one do you like best and why? Do you think it’s time to get a color e-reader so I can read magazines or go online? Or do you still prefer paper books and magazines?


  1. I read e-books an average of 3-4 hours/day and have become quite picky in how I want the device I’m using to act. My personal combo is an ipad + my smartphone (android operating system) because both make it so easy. On the ipad I use the apps Stanza (super easy to import e-books from any source/format I find them)and Kindle and then I use the Kindle app on my phone as well. Everything syncs, I get roughly 12 solid hours of reading and when I have a charger handy I also can then use Flipboard and GoogleReader apps to really give myself information overload. I held off on using any apple product for a long time but after using the ipad for reading… it’s pretty tits.

  2. I’m still loving my 2nd generation Kindle and have zero intentions of upgrading to a color e-reader. The color e-readers are nice, and back-lit, but they’re not e-Ink – they’re just small computer screens. So if your eyes don’t get fatigued reading a small computer screen, go for it. Personally, I will stay with the e-Ink just because of the headache factor. Also keep in mind that color and backlight also means more battery drain. My Kindle goes for 1-2 months without being charged, most of my friends with Fires, Nooks, iPads are charging theirs every other day or so.

  3. Got to be the 3rd gen Kindle. It has free global 3G. even though the web browser is not the best, free internet is better than nothing;)

  4. I *love* my Kindle Fire. Like you, I value it as an addition to my library, not a replacement. My husband also has one, and they proved to be necessities on our recent trip — since the screen is lit, and adjustable, they worked perfectly when one of us wanted to sleep and the other wanted to read. The soft light is hardly noticeable to the sleeper, unlike every book light we’ve tried.

    And, in terms of the charging time, we’ve found that the charge lasts much, much longer when the wi-fi is turned off — so we mostly keep it turned off during the actual drive or flight.

  5. I have both a 3rdGen 3G Kindle, and a 2nd-gen WiFi Kobo eReader. Got the Kobo dirt cheap when Borders (US) was going out of business. Knew that they could also read other bookstores’ ebooks and that the Kobo bookstore would continue, so was worth the money.

    The Kindle is clearly superior in perceived build quality, and ease of shopping, syncing and the like, especially with the “automagically-connecting” 3G version.

    But overall, I like my cheapo Kobo better. Now I’m not saying I like the Kobobooks.com bookstore better, I don’t. It’s hard to navigate, often not sharply-priced, and overloaded with crappy romance ebooks, though everything else is there hidden somewhere.

    But Kobo’s eReader is open. Not DRM-free, but open. Although only Kobobooks.com (or Kobo partner stores like Indigo/Chapters in Canada, or like Borders when it existed) automatically sync, the Kobo is an Adobe DRM/EPUB format ereader. It thus can read any ebook sold by any ebookseller that is not Amazon (or maybe also not Barnes & Noble, another EPUB seller but with customized B&N-only DRM.)

    My Kobo has a bunch of books bought from Google Books and downloaded as .ACSM license files, then loaded into the PC app Adobe Digital Editions and sideloaded via USB onto my Kobo via ADE. Some other books bought direct from indie bookstores like Powell’s City of Books and Brookline Booksmith, which use the Google Books infrastructure but let me support my favorite bookstores. Other EPUB/DRM books bought direct from self-publishers or via Smashwords, Lulu, etc.

    This is impossible on a Kindle dedicated eReader, which is locked to the Amazon ecosystem. It’s hard on a Kindle Fire, because you don’t have full Android Market/Google Play access. Nor can you get the competing apps from the Amazon Android Appstore. Yes, they are in there for Kobo and some other ereaders on the Amazon Appstore – when accessing it from an Android Phone. But unless recently changed, not from a Kindle Fire.

    I’m ignoring rooting a Fire to put on a mod, breaking DRM and using Calibre to change formats, because most normal humans simply don’t do those things.

    Given that, the Kobo e-ink readers are the most open of all of the major brands. Once you side-load a book onto the Kobo via Adobe Digital Editions, it works just like any other book on your Kobo, including those that got there automagically from the Kobobooks.com bookstore. The only thing it doesn’t do is last-page sync and multi-device sync, because Kobobooks.com handles that between Kobos and Kobo apps, and your sideloaded books aren’t on Kobobooks.com. But there’s no on-device difference between them. Unlike, for example on a B&N Nook Color, where you can sideload ADE EPUB books, but they don’t appear with your other books, they are hidden over in “My Files”.

    In e-ink, the Kobo isn’t nearly as “nice” as the Kindle, and has only half the battery life, and is flakier about keeping WiFi sync and WiFi credentials. But my wifes’s and my Kobos have never broken, while we’ve had to send two Kindles back to Amazon for failures. Anecdotal, but between our Kindle unreliabilty experience and the lack of freedom with Kindle, I strongly prefer my Kobo.

  6. Ive got the latest kindle, cheapest version. Very light, small, gets the job done. I was forced to upgrade fom my second gen kindle when it broke, didn’t think it would be a huge upgrade, but the compactness and lightness are amazing, really lightens my purse load) i too am a frequent bus traveler). Also if you have an iPhone I recommend getting the kindle app. It will link to the same account as your kindle, can sync up page numbers, and it’s nice to have as a backup. I have the Kindle app on my iPad as well, also syncs to same account. But battery life on ipad way worse than kindle and kindle is best for outdoors, ie beach or pool reading. I don’t find having a color screen adds much. One thing both kindle and iPad are great for is downloading travel guides like frommers. There it’s a toss up as to whether kindle or iPad is better there.. Kindle better for carrying the guide book around. iPad better for looking at the maps in the hotel. iPhone comes in handy with the guidebooks too, since it’s the smallest of all.

  7. I’ve had my Kindle Touch about 2 months and just love it. It’s light, the e-ink is oh, so easy on the eyes and a battery charge lasts forever. I love that I can get tons of current books for free out of my library (to extend the loan period beyond 2 weeks, don’t turn on the Kindle’s wifi). I love that I can use the “experimental” web browser to check and reply to my email when I’m on the road. The icing on the cake: I got it for free when I bought a set of tires that I was going to buy anyhow.

  8. My first reader was a Sony e-reader. Like you, it was an addition to my library, not a replacement.

    When I bought an iPhone I downloaded the Kindle app as well as the Stanza app. I also downloaded the AcroBible app that included a commentary as well as Hebrew and Greek dictionaries. One app replaced 4 books! In all these cases I’ve been able to adjust the brightness/contrast. BTW, Stanza has access to all the Project Gutenberg books.

    The big thing for me is weight. The iPhone is the lightest and it fits in my pocket. I’m only bringing one device.

  9. I like the Kindle app on my iPad. All the functionality of an iPad with soft reading background of a Kindle.

  10. I have a second generation Kindle, the Kindle app on my iPhone and iPads, and a Kindle Fire. I far prefer reading on my plain old Kindle. The e-ink and lack of light is easier on my eyes than any of the others, plus it’s the easiest to hold when reading in bed. It’s nice and light for traveling too. I was hoping I’d like the Fire more, but it’s too heavy, which makes it harder to hold with one hand like I do my regular Kindle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.