The Ultimate Guide To Buying An eBook Reader

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Going on holiday no longer means a last-minute rush at the airport to buy a book. Nor does it mean lugging half the rainforest to the beach to have enough reading material to keep you occupied on that sun lounger. Now, eBook readers can cram thousands of books into your hand.

eBook readers are a smart buy – light and sturdy with long battery lives, they'll carry all your books in one place. All that and they're cheap too. But, there are plenty of options out there and picking the right one can be tricky.

The three big names that really rule this device market are the market-leading Kindle, the independent publisher-friendly Kobo and American bookseller Barnes and Nobles' Nook. Which one is ideal for your needs is the question.

Find the right eBook reader for you with our handy guide...

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One of the first things anyone thinks about when buying an eBook reader is portability, since that's one of the major selling points of these devices.

Weight, size and shape are all factors when packing your device on any journey, or even when reading at home.

Two of the lightest eBook readers are the Kindle Voyage and the Kobo Glo HD weighing in at just 188g. The Kindle stands at 162 x 115 x 7.6mm, while the Kobo is 157 x 115 x 9.2mm. There are options for 3G connectivity for those that want to download books when away from a Wifi connection – the Kindle offers this data connection for free.

The reason weight is such an important factor isn't just luggage allowance on flights but also reading comfort. You'll be holding this device for long periods of time, which makes anything feel heavy, eventually. So going for a lighter device is important. Of course, this can mean sacrifices like battery life, which you may want to take into account.

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If there's one reason to buy an eBook reader over simply using an app on your smartphone or your tablet, it's battery life.

Even an average eReader has a life that exceeds weeks, where as your phone would be dead after hours of constant reading.

One reason for such impressive battery life is the E Ink displays used in these devices. These work in a way that means they only draw power when a page is turned. When displaying the text of a page, there is no power being drained at all. This means the gadgets can remain slim and light because they only need a small battery, but still offer excellent longevity.

The longest-lasting eBook Reader tops out at about 28 hours of use. This can be found in the Kobo Glo HD, Kobo Aura H20 and Kobo Touch 2.0.

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Another factor to take into consideration is the quality and size of the display on an eBook Reader.

While a larger display might add a bit more weight, that could mean an easier-on-the-eye experience for some.

Of course, eBook readers are smart enough to offer font size options, allowing users to make text bigger or smaller and even change the font. But, a larger screen still means more words per page and so fewer page turns.

One of the largest screens out there is on the Kobo Aura H20 at 6.2-inches. But resolution needs to be taken into account since this display tops out at 265 dots per inch. Most other eReaders sit at the 6-inch mark and many offer higher resolution. Some 6-inch eBook readers with 300 dots per inch displays include the Kindle Voyage, Kindle Paperwhite, Nook GlowLight Plus and Kobo Glo HD.

If you're a fan of comics or magazines with imagery, the higher resolution may help offer clarity here. Another factor is the number of font size options. While the Kobos offer 35, Kindles tops out at 8 and Nooks at 9. For most, all are fine, but for anybody with sight issues the greater number of font options may help.

Most eReaders use a form of E Ink display meaning reading, even in daylight, should be clear with no reflection or glare issues to worry about. Some are backlit, while some are not. If you're going to be reading at night, where you can't turn a light on, then a backlit model is a good option, but that will impact slightly on battery life.

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Storage And Content

Since one of the major reasons for an eBook reader is to offer portability, the amount of books that can be held could be important.

Imagine you're off on a two-week holiday where nothing is planned but lying about on the beach and consuming the entire Game of Thrones series. That's a lot of books to carry, but in eBook form it's simply more kilobytes of memory.

Since eBooks are very small files, most eBook readers can hold thousands easily. But, getting the content on to the device can be the issue. One of the largest stores for eBooks is Amazon. They offer a subscription service, called Unlimited, which allows access to all books for a subscription charge – a bit like Spotify for books.

For one of the cheapest options, a basic Kindle is affordable and offers plenty of smart options with lots of room and battery life – it might be old but it's still better than lugging half a library everywhere with you. The best selling Kindle is the Paperwhite which costs £105 – a tough price to find fault with.

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