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Ebook Buyer’s Guide: Know When to Buy an eReader and When...

Updated: April 12, 2012

Mac Rumors has an awesome site that collects rumors around the internet to help people decide whether should buy a Mac product or when they should Wait. I figured we needed one for ebook readers.

The following is a list of the most popular ebook readers on the market with my estimation of whether you should buy an ebook reader or whether you should Wait. I take into account the dates of the past releases and factor in rumors. I don’t guarantee that any of the rumors are true, but rather just providing you my best guess.

You can access this page in the menu bar under “EBooks”.

Kindle Basic $79/$109

Kindle Basic

Recent Rumors

  • None

Recommended: Buy

Features:

  • 6″ Pearl eInk, 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi, 16-level gray scale.
  • WhisperSync
  • Wifi
  • This is the basic Kindle. Use the rocker for letter input.
  • Ad supported products have reduced prices.

Releases:

  • 9/28

Review: Link

Kindle Touch $99-$189

Kindle Touch

Recent Rumors

  • None

Recommended: Buy

Features:

  • 6″ eInk with infrared sensors
  • Touchscreen
  • Free cloud storage for all Amazon purchases
  • WhisperSync
  • 3G or wifi
  • Ad supported products have reduced prices.

Releases:

  • 11/21

Review: Link

Recent Rumors

  • None

Recommended: Buy

Features:

  • 7″ multi-touch display with IPS (in-plane switching) technology and anti-reflective treatment, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution at 169 ppi, 16 million colors.
  • 14.6 ounces
  • WhisperSync for books, movies, and music
  • Free cloud storage for all Amazon purchased content/8GB internal memory
  • Email client and Amazon Silk (special web browser)
  • Wifi
  • USB support. USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)

Releases:

  • 11/15

Review: Comparison Review of the Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire

Recent Rumors

  • None

Recommended: Buy only if you want an attached keyboard

Features:

  • 6″ Pearl eInk
  • WhisperSync
  • 3G or wifi
  • Ad supported products have reduced prices.

Releases:

  • 7/10
  • 2/09 (2G)
  • 11/07 (1G)

Review: Link

Kindle Dx $259

Kindle Dx

Recent Rumors

Recommended: Buy if you want the larger eink screen.

Features:

  • 9.7″ Pearl eInk
  • WhisperSync
  • 3G

Releases:

  • 07/10
  • 05/09 (wh)

Review: Link (gizmodo)

Recent Rumors

  • None

Features:

  • 7″ multi-touch display with IPS (in-plane switching) technology and anti-reflective treatment, 1024 x 600 pixel resolution.
  • 14.1 ounces
  • 16GB internal memory and external MicroSD slot
  • Wifi
  • USB support. USB 2.0 (micro-B connector)

Recommended: Buy

Features:

  • 6″ LCD
  • microSD
  • WiFi

Releases:

  • 11/7

Review: Comparison Review of the Nook Tablet and Kindle Fire

Nook Color $199

nook_color_300

Recent Rumors

  • None

Recommended: Buy

Features:

  • 6″ LCD
  • microSD
  • WiFi

Releases:

  • 3/11 price drop
  • 11/10
  • 6/10 (Original wifi)
  • 10/09 (Original 3G)

Review: Link

Recent Rumors

  • None
Recommended: Buy

Features:

  • Warm light illuminates entire screen evenly
  • 6-inch touchscreen with 16-level grayscale, Resolution: 600×800
  • Adjustable text with 7 font sizes & 6 font styles
  • Wireless connectivity via Wi-Fi® (802.11b/g/n)
  • 2GB Holds up to 1,000 books, Expandable with microSD card up to 32GB
  • MicroUSB connector charges your battery and connects to your computer

Releases:

  • 5/12

Review: No Link

Recent Rumors

  • None

Recommended: Buy

Features:

  • 6″ Pearl eInk
  • Touchscreen
  • Wifi
  • MicroSD

Releases:

  • 05/12

Review: Link

Kobo Vox $199

Kobo Vox

Recent Rumors

  • None.

Recommended: Buy

Features:

  • 7″ AFFS+ multimedia display; 1024 x 600 resolution, Multi-touch screen with Anti-glare and exceptional +/- 89 viewing angle
  • Wifi
  • Full open access to Android Marketplace
  • Available internationally
  • Touchscreen
  • SD

Releases:

  • 07/11

Review: Link

Kobo Touch $129

Kobo Touch

Recent Rumors

  • None.

Recommended: Buy

Features:

  • 6″ Pearl eInk
  • Wifi
  • Touchscreen
  • MicroSD

Releases:

  • 07/11

Review: Link (Engadget)

Kobo $109.99

Kobo Touch

Recent Rumors

  • None

Recommended: Buy

These are often onsale for $99 or under.

Features:

  • 6″ Pearl eInk
  • WiFi
  • SD

Releases:

  • 10/10

Review: Link

Recent Rumors

  • None

Recommended: Buy

Sold at Target and Target.com

Features:

  • HD eInk
  • WiFi
  • SD

Releases:

  • 07/11

Review: Link

Sony PRS T1 $149

Sony PRS T1

Recent Rumors

  • None

Recommended: Buy

Features:

  • 6″ Pearl eInk
  • Touchscreen
  • SD slot
  • Memory card slot
  • EPUB, PDF, and TXT files
  • Wi Fi
  • Access to participating public libraries from the device

Releases:

  • 09/11

Review: Link

 

Other recommended reading includes:

When should I buy the nook? When should I buy the Kindle? Should I wait to buy a nook? Should I wait to buy a kindle? When is the best time to buy an ereader?

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

40 Comments

  1. Mary Anne Graham
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 08:58:58

    Jane: I know it’s like comparing a real apple to an imaginary apple, but –

    As to the Amazon Tablet verses the Nook Color – can you put on your Swami hat and tell us whether you think it’s better to wait for the Az tablet?

    I’m specifically wondering whether you know if either/both will run other ebook apps?

  2. Jane
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 09:03:40

    @Mary Anne Graham: Currently the nook color tablet runs only BN approved apps which includes no other reading app but nook. Amazon’s App store has Kobo and Aldiko (which reads DRM’ed ePubs) so I assume the Amazon tablet will be able to read ePubs bought at other places.

  3. Mary Anne Graham
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 10:16:00

    Jane: Thanks for the response. The Nook Color looked interesting. H/E, it sounds like it’s better to wait a bit if the potential choice is between Nook Color and an Az Tablet. The rumor mills claim the Az Tablet should be out by Christmas.

  4. BevQB
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 10:33:54

    Timely post, Jane. Right now I’m in a holding pattern. First I was waiting for the Windows Phone 7s because I thought that MS would surely release an MSReader app for it so I could read all my old LIT books without conversion. Nope, apparently the death knell has rung on that format since even Win7 doesn’t support MS DRM.

    Then I was going to buy a Samsung Infuse 4G phone because I figured, with its 4.5 inch screen and numerous Android reading apps, it would be a great way to wait out the upcoming ereader/small tablet releases. Then I found out how much better the Samsung Galaxy S II is (4.3 inch screen but better specs) and now I find myself waiting for its release (delayed US release- grrrr). I looked at the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7 too but decided against it for the same reason- single core devices probably won’t be upgradable to Android Ice Cream Sandwich which will be the first all purpose (phone/tablet) Android release.

    But all these Amazon rumors are making me crazy! There’s even one that Amazon will release a dual screen eink/lcd device. It’s pretty much a given that if/when they release a tablet, it will be Android (because of their Android store), but will it be hobbled like the the Nook tab? If so, that’s not going to be something I’d want. And the upcoming Sony S2 has great eReader possibilities with it’s dual 5.5 inch screens and clamshell design, but Sony is notorious for overpricing. And it’s still unclear whether they’re pushing the S1 and S2 to replace their ereaders or if they are in fact going to release new dedicated readers soon too.

    So, here I sit with my ancient Razr and my itty bitty iPAQ PDA that hurts my tired old eyes. I haven’t read an ebook for a couple of years and I’m STILL waiting for someone’s rumorware to FINALLY be released.

    Technovexation, I haz it.

  5. Julie
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 11:27:01

    Thank you for this post. I just recently bought the new Kobo Touch, and I want to echo one point in the enGadget review that you linked to. The touch screen on my Kobo does not behave/work consistently. I will be returning my Kobo because of this problem. It is just too frustrating to read for any length of time.

  6. Cait London
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 11:30:35

    That was really helpful as I’m looking at upgrading from my original Kobo. An impulse buy, it was $60 at a Borders Closing, when I was all set to go Kindle.

    This Kobo turns slower than I read, and Kobo hasn’t quite got their desktop manager/shopper going right. Mine doesn’t hold a charge like Kindle advertises. The prices are higher than Amazon, too, a few cents. Amazon’s prices seem lowest of all.

    However, the Kobo does fine with Calibre for epubs offered off its shopping menu. And I think the SD card is really a smart idea.

    Gutenberg.org has great free domain offerings, and since I read some eclectic historical stuff, Kobo easily accepts that thru Calibre. It was a great starter, so I’m glad for this Buy/Wait guide.

  7. Mary G
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 12:06:56

    I find these posts so helpful. If I’m ever lucky enough to afford one, what about the Apple products e.g. iPad?

  8. library addict
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 12:14:28

    Great post, Jane.

    I spent a few years researching the various features of ebook devices before I bought my Sony last year. It was more expensive than the competition, but had all the features I wanted (wifi is not a big deal to me) and liked the overall quality.

    I am curious to learn what the new versions will have, but keep telling myself I’ve had and enjoyed my reader for nearly a year now. They’ll always be the possibility of something “better” just around the corner, so deciding when to purchase is difficult. But I agree with the buy/wait recommendations above. Plus, once the new models come out if you decide the existing versions will fit your needs, they should be available at a discount. So win-win.

  9. Ridley
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 14:19:03

    @BevQB:

    First I was waiting for the Windows Phone 7s because I thought that MS would surely release an MSReader app for it so I could read all my old LIT books without conversion.

    You sound fairly tech savvy, so why base a $200+ phone decision on something you could fix in 20 minutes by downloading ConvertLIT and Calibre for free?

    Personally, I think I’m going to see what Sony comes out with this fall. Either I’ll buy a new reader from them or look for closeout sales on a 650. Now that I scrape DRM off my books, I have even less reason to look at B&N or Amazon for a reader, since I can buy books anywhere. It comes down to the best technology, design and software for me, and Sony has that so far.

  10. LVLMLeah
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 14:48:43

    I got a Samsung Galaxy 7″ wifi only. I did my research. I wanted something I could read all formats on, 6″-7″ total size without extra keyboard like Kindle and Nook, and not eink. While it has kinks to it in general, I can read whatever I want on it. So I’m happy.

    I easily transfer epub to Aldiko app and mobi/prc to my Kindle app through the mini sd card.

    The only issue is that it is pricey if you use it just for a reader. But since I use it for all kinds of things, it’s worth it.

    If Apple would make a 7″ tablet I would buy that in a flash. But they don’t think it will sell and no intention of making one.

  11. Tia
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 16:19:13

    I love my kindle and would recommend it to everyone. The non-glare screen and the light weight were my deciding factor and I couldn’t imagine another eBook reader.

  12. Jo
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 16:36:26

    Where do you find Nook Color for $189? The BN website still has it for $249.

  13. Karmyn
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 19:38:09

    I’m on a fixed income and my internet is spotty at times. I am planning on buying the Kindle 3G with special offers next month. I would use it strictly for ebooks from Amazon. I have the Kindle for PC app on my computer and I enjoy the convience of buying books quickly, but really want a regular Kindle for the handheld portablity. And I don’t plan on giving up regular books any time soon.

  14. Carin
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 19:52:28

    @MaryG – I’ll chime in about the iPad. It works well as a reader – you can load Bluefire, Kobo, Nook (and probably more) to read ePubs. You can load the kindle app and iBooks, too. All for free. I think it works really well as a reader, especially when I’m reading at night and I turn the screen to black with a gray font – very large font, too.

    On the negative side, I believe the cheapest iPad is $500, and that one needs wifi. That’s more than 3x the cost of a lot of readers. It’s also much bigger and heavier, and therefore not quite as portable.

    On the positive side, you can do a LOT with it. Mine is actually my non-verbal son’s communication device. I get it after he goes to bed. I’m not sure it would be worth the price just for a reader, except that it’s a very large screen and can show very large fonts.

  15. Brian
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 20:26:27

    @Jo:

    Where do you find Nook Color for $189? The BN website still has it for $249.

    The only place I’ve seen a NC for $189 (or maybe it was $199, that’s what they are right now) was when B&N is selling refurbs through eBay.

  16. elaine mueller
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 21:51:56

    Is there any rumor or expectation that at some point down the road there will be standardization of formats?

  17. Anthea Lawson
    Jul 17, 2011 @ 23:33:38

    I snagged a Kobo for $59 when they ran a big sale for Father’s Day. Turns out that was my buy point! So far I am liking it – but busy summer schedule has me resisting making the full digital plunge at this point (since I know that when I fall into e-reading, I’ll fall hard).

  18. Tina
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 07:49:10

    The biggest issue with reading on the iPad is the screen glare when you’re reading outside. I read everywhere so I need to be able to read in bright sunlight. Reading on the iPad on my back deck on a sunny day is a frustrating exercise. As reader, I like it for Graphic novels or Comics. But that is about it.

    I am one of those people who only wants my e-reader to read books. That’s it. I don’t want apps and I don’t read magazines or newspapers on it. I just want to read my regular popular genre mass market releases on it.

    Because I am tech savvy, book format and DRM does not need to drive the reader I get or where I but my books. I have had Kindle2 for a little over 2 years and I am very satisfied with it. I like the whispersyc & the 3G so that if I want book whenever or wherever I can get it. But moreover I like my customer experience with Amazon. I have been an AZ customer since 1994 and not once have I had a bad experience — and i buy from them A LOT and not just books. Whenever I’ve had to contact them or return something or even complain, I’ve gotten stellar response and service. That goes a long way to cementing brand loyalty for me.

    I was in Indigo Books in Kingston, ON this weekend and got to play with the Kobo. It looks nice but the page refresh rate was abysmal.

  19. It's Me
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 10:15:06

    So excited to hear that there may be a kindle touch. I have the Sony 505, but have been saving to get a kindle and was just thinking the other day that Amazon needs to come out with a kindle touch. Nice to know that I only have to wait a month or so. Thanks for this blog Jane, it was very informative!

  20. Jane
    Jul 18, 2011 @ 10:24:34

    @Jo Oops. I must have been operating under some dated information. Will change.

  21. Lynne Connolly
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 08:05:33

    If you have a Nook Color and you are averagely tech savvy, you can turn it into a full-fledged Android tablet running either Android 2.2 or Android 3 without too much trouble. I’m not brilliant, but with the step by step instructions on the XDA forum, I did it in an hour. It’s almost impossible to brick the device.
    This will invalidate your guarantee, but since it’s possible to turn everything back to factory fresh, you can revert to stock.
    Highly recommended for both the price, the build of the device and the quality of the screen, which is outstanding.

  22. Auraya
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 11:30:18

    I bought my Sony pocket edition for $100 on borders. You just have to find the right moment to buy and be willing to spend a few hours looking trough the internet. I really like the small screen. It fits in all my purses.

  23. BevQB
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 14:51:29

    @Ridley: Keep in mind that I’m looking for a pocketable (purseable?) device that will allow me to read as many formats, including my library’s Overdrive DRM, as possible. So while I wait (and wait) for a 5-7″ tab/ereader that I like, I want a phone that meets those needs. I brought up WindowsPhone7 because I waited and waited for that and neither its hardware (small screens) nor apps met my needs (Of course I could wait again for future WP7 phones).

    I’ve long since given up on MSReader and just haven’t got around to stripping the DRM on all of them because I don’t have anything worthwhile to read them on (curling up with my laptop just doesn’t cut it).

    So my point was that I’ve been waiting and waiting to buy SOMETHING and now I’m waiting some more, not only for an ereader/tab, but even for a phone that I could read on in the interim.

  24. Ridley
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 15:32:05

    @BevQB: That makes sense. I’m always stalking woot! for deals. I’d buy an imperfect tablet for the right price, I think.

  25. Ebook Buyer's Guide: Know When to Buy an eReader and When to Wait ... | eReader Entrepreneur | Scoop.it
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 15:53:40

    […] Ebook Buyer's Guide: Know When to Buy an eReader and When to Wait … Then I was going to buy a Samsung Infuse 4G phone because I figured, with its 4.5 inch screen and numerous Android reading apps, it would be a great way to wait out the upcoming ereader/small tablet releases. Source: dearauthor.com […]

  26. BevQB
    Jul 20, 2011 @ 09:13:52

    A post popped up on CNET yesterday about a microSD card that turns the Nook Color into an Android tablet. Apparently there are other ways to accomplish it, but CNET is actually recommending this one because it’s sold through Amazon. In one of the Amazon reviews it’s even mentioned that it allows Kindle books to be read on the Nook Color. So maybe I’ll keep an eye out for a refurbed Nook Color and, combined with this SD Card, it’ll tide me over until all the rumorware either is or is not released.

    BTW @JANE, even though I check the box to receive follow-up comments, I don’t receive them on any posts I’ve commented on at DA.

  27. Jane
    Jul 20, 2011 @ 09:30:18

    @BevQB I’ve had another reader complain about this. I haven’t been able to fix it but apparently there is an update coming down the pipeline. I’m not sure if it is broken because of the wordpress update or my change in the comments form or what.

  28. Cait London
    Sep 08, 2011 @ 06:21:29

    I have a Borders-sale Kobo and it does the job, but turns slower than I read. The Kobo site does not offer as many books as Amazon, or as cheap, which is why I’d look for other brands. I’ve really enjoyed it, tho and the epub features makes downloading from Guttenberg.org a breeze. I’ll keep it while adding another as I test my own on it. The SD slot is great. Best Buy says Oct is their sale time for shopping and that’s when Kindle is coming out w/new.

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  30. Shannon Curtis
    Oct 20, 2011 @ 00:13:05

    I’m such a ditz at this stuff, and I should know more than I do (not much) so I really appreciate all the details you’ve collected and presented. I’m shamelessly using your site for comparisons before I go invest in an e-reader. I think, for me, though, its not only the reading experience (which is very important), but the ease with which to load the novels, in whatever format, on to the e-reader – as I really am not a tech savvy person. I’m still trying to figure out Android stuff! But thanks for your information, it’s gold.

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  33. Meri
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 01:12:07

    I was going to e-mail a link to this to a friend who’s considering buying, and noticed that something’s gone wrong with the formatting and it’s hard to follow (I tried on FF and Chrome). Maybe it’s because of the new design?

  34. Jane
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 06:19:01

    @Meri You don’t see this? I wonder if it is javascript issues again.

  35. Jane
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 06:43:48

    @Meri: Sorry, I thought you meant the email link but you meant the page. Yes, the code was messed up. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  36. Jane
    Feb 28, 2012 @ 06:46:12

    @Meri If you hold down the shift key and then reload, it should be okay now. I had forgotten I had special code there. I appreciate you bringing it to my attention.

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  38. Tran Le
    Nov 13, 2012 @ 20:39:49

    I love the idea of the Kindle Fire, but I can’t part with my 3G. Do you think Amazon will ever offer a Kindle Fire with 3G?

  39. Brian
    Nov 14, 2012 @ 08:15:24

    @Tran Le:
    There is a Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ with 4G LTE Wireless depending where you are. I think it’s US only to start with, but was supposed to be available in other markets later.

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