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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The skinny on e-readers

Yesterday I decided to join the modern world and purchase an e-reader, but when I went to buy my new toy, my head swam with all the choices, and the desire to throw up my hands and forget the e-reader overcame me. I left the store convinced that I was just an old fashion “books only” girl, until my son came home from school bubbling with excitement and ideas on how to save the environment. One of the ideas his kindergarten class had come up with was for everyone to use e-readers to help save the trees.

What’s a mother to do when your six year old demands you stand up and help save the world’s resources? The only choice, as I saw it, was to do a little research. So if you are like me, easily overwhelmed when too many choices are thrown at you, I’ve created this little comparison of e-readers to help you make your choice.  Here are six features I wanted to know about.  Hopefully, together, our purchase will buy a brighter tomorrow for our kids!

Apple iPad
Price $499-699 3G/WiFi: $629-829
Size .5 inches thick
Weight 1.5 pounds
Screen Size 9.7 inches
Battery Life 11 hours
Storage Expandable 16GB; 32GB; 64GB/No

Amazon Kindle
Price $259
Size 8 x 5.3 x 0.36 inches
Weight 10.2 oz
Screen Size 6 inches
Battery Life 7 days with wireless whisper YNC on
Storage Expandable 2GB/No

Amazon Kindle DX
Price $489
Size 10.4 x 7.2 x 0.38 inches
Weight 18.9 oz
Screen Size 9.7 inches
Battery Life 7 days with wireless whisper YNC on
Storage Expandable 4GB/No

Barnes & Noble Nook
Price $259
Size 7.7 x 4.9 x 0.5 inches
Weight 12.1 oz
Screen Size 6 inches
Battery Life 10 days
Storage Expandable 2GB/Yes (microSD)

Sony Daily Edition
Price $389
Size 8.13 x 4 x 19/32 inches
Weight 12.75 oz
Screen Size 7.1 inches
Battery Life 7 days with wireless on
Storage Expandable 1.6GB/Yes (Memory Stick Duo/SD)

Plastic Logic Que proReader
Price WiFi/4GB: $649 WiFi/3G/8GB: $799
Size 8.13 x 4 x 19/32 inches
Weight 17 oz
Screen Size 10.5 inches
Battery Life NA
Storage Expandable 4GB; 8GB/No

Happy e-reader reading!

Julie Johnstone, Marchioness of Mayhem


  1. I have the sony e-reader and love it! It is great for travel or to put in your purse/bag for spare minutes you can read. I have taken mine with me when my kids have swim lessons and read while they practiced. It is a lot easier to carry around than a big book becuase it is not as bulky and weighs less. The sony takes any pdf document so I have found it useful for reading work related documents as well. It is very easy to use!

  2. ditto Mary. I have a Sony -- have had it for a couple of year -- and I adore it! Lightweight, long battery, couple hundred books... what's not to love? Another big factor in ereader choice is e-ink vs lcd display. As tempted as I am by the iPad, I find the e-ink sooo much easier on my eyes. I'll stick with my Sony until someone puts a color e-ink reader on the market --- soon, I hope!

  3. Great topic, Julie. I have been thinking about buying one for a while too. But I have a hard time keeping straight which ones can read everything and which ones force you to buy from a specific source. Maybe that would be a blog for another day? Thanks.

  4. I haven't gone the e-reader route yet, because of the cost. So far, with my budget, I haven't been able to justify that initial expense. Maybe one of these days. I'll be sure to ask you which one you got and how you like it when I'm ready to buy, Julie.

  5. I have the B&N Nook eReader and I love it. It's very portable and easy to use. I actually prefer holding it to holding books. It lies flat so you can read and eat at the same time (as do all the eReaders). The only problems with the iPad is it isn't a real eReader and has a backlight, which will cause eye strain--and it is not as portable. Also, I have an iPhone and I think the touch screen jams up easily due to grease fingers and junk getting on it.

    I haven't tried the Kindle, but from what I've seen it looks like the Nook and easy to use.

    Nook has the ability to add notes and a PDF converter as well. I blogged about my Nook about a week ago. I didn't think I wanted one and now I can't believe I waited so long to get one.

    Good luck!

  6. I was initially interested in them when they first came out, but I ended up deciding against them for two reasons: The expense is really hard for me to justify, and I always end up flipping around in a book when I am reading. What did the hero say when they first met (flip!)? Wait, who is Archibald (flip!)? It just doesn't seem like it will be convenient to do in the electronic version.
    I will admit, however, that when they came out with the iPad, I was instantly drooling. Now that there is a reader out there that is truly multi purpose, I may soon cough up the cash and get one.
    That being said, I will never stop loving a worn copy of a favorite book in my hands :)

  7. Julie, I already read books on my pc so I've been contemplating getting a Sony reader, as soon as I get a little extra money. Though, I'm like Erin and will never stop loving a worn copy of a book. There's just nothing like curling up with a book on a rainy day.

  8. I've wondered about all of these and I guess my question would be, can you get all books for any of the readers? Amazon has a larger list of titles than B&N so could I read a non B&N on their reader? Just curious and hoping someone can answer. Still not sure I will take the plunge though.

  9. Great post, Julie! I know several people who love their e-readers, whether it be Kindle, Nook or Sony. I personally am an iPad user, though. I LOVE it! BUT, I use it for so many other things. With email and internet built in, I can totally travel with it and leave my laptop at home. Not to mention word processing for my writing. Oh, and don't forget the tens of thousands of Apps you can get for it. And the book reader is exquisite - you can turn the pages like it's a real book, so I totally don't miss holding a "real" book. You can change the font, size, etc...and you can easily bookmark or highlight the pages.

    If you're looking for a multipurpose device, there's really nothing that compares to the iPad. But if it's really only going to be used for reading, well, you may not be able to justify the cost so much.

  10. I have an ancient Rocket Reader that I wouldn't recommend with all the cool new ones out. And I recently won an iPad, which I love. The only problem is that there are still limited books available on it and it is definitely proprietary formatting. I got around that by downloading a PDF/.doc reader and I've been able to read non DRM PDF's (like Sapphire Blue's) on there.

  11. While I would love a dedicated e-reader I'll make do with my HTC phone's ebook capablity. The screen is a bit small but I cant justify the expense ATM. Good luck making a decision though!

  12. My sister bought a Kindle and loves it. I'm not sure about how all the other ones work, but she really likes that you don't have to sync it with your computer since it has WiFi. She also can easily go from reading to having it read to her while she is driving. She says the only con is it is not color.

  13. Oh, as a follow-up to Tina's comments, you can also download several other e-readers in App form on the iPad. We have Kindle for iPad, so anything that's in Kindle, we can read, too. There are others, too, I just don't have/need them :)

  14. I think this article from the Wall Street Journal today does a good job of explaining what is going on in the book industry right now. Barnes & Noble is prominently featured.

    Shortcut to: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704448304575196172206855634.html?ru=yahoo&mod=yahoo_hs