Battle of the e-readers: who wins?

Fragonard updated

Who thought that reading could be this much fun? Yes, this activity is still timeless, but e-readers (tablet-like devices used for reading electronic versions of books and periodicals) are taking the personal technology world by storm. Many e-readers have been put up for sale, but four companies have emerged to dominate this field. Keep reading to find out who comes out on top! – Colby Bermel, Monitor contributor

Amazon's Kindle

1. Amazon’s Kindle

The e-reader craze began when online shopping giant Amazon.com released its first-generation e-reader, the Kindle, in late 2007. About as thin as a pencil, the lightweight and slim device utilizes a special “e-ink” to prevent glare, which makes it easy to read outside in the sun. Although it had to add Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity to keep up with the market, the Kindle separates itself from competitors with its super-long battery life: one to two months from just a single charge.

The Amazon Kindle starts at $139.

Apple's iPad

2. Apple’s iPad

Although this device has always had e-reading capabilities, Apple officially came off the bench and into the game by including the “iBooks” application pre-programmed with its iPad 2, released this past March. And, the release of iOS 5 (Apple’s mobile operating system) in the fall will also incorporate a “Newsstand” app, which will automatically update the online versions of your newspaper and magazine subscriptions on your device whenever a new issue is published. Many periodicals like Popular Science have received praise for taking advantage of the iPad’s multi-touch capabilities to enhance the reading experience; however, Apple still hasn’t been able to dodge criticisms of heavy glare when reading in the sun.

The Apple iPad starts at $499.

Barnes & Noble's Nook
Courtesy of BarnesandNoble.com

3. Barnes & Noble’s Nook

The country’s biggest book retailer went up against Amazon and Apple by releasing the Nook e-reader in late 2009. The Nook sports many of the same specs and features as the Kindle and the iPad, but Barnes & Noble touts the fact that you can electronically “check out” any book from your local library if their online bookstore of two million titles doesn’t satisfy. Although the Nook combines the best of both worlds by incorporating e-ink (Amazon) and apps (Apple) in the same device, Barnes & Nobles’ e-reader hasn’t been able to gather as strong a following as some of its other competitors.

The Barnes & Noble Nook starts at $139.

Kobo's eReader

4. Kobo’s eReader

The youngest sibling in the family, Kobo’s eReader said hello to the world with its May 2010 release. Relatively unknown in the personal technology market, the eReader was originally appealing because of its relatively low price, intentionally targeting the higher price of Amazon’s Kindle. The only feature that distinguishes Kobo’s product from the rest of the market is the ability to earn badges (very, very similar to Foursquare) in reward for challenges like reading 10,000 total pages or reading every day for two weeks. Unfortunately, if the eReader was at the Olympics, it wouldn’t bring home any hardware, as its other three competitors (Kindle, iPad, Nook) would be getting medals on the podium.

The Kobo eReader starts at $129.

THE VERDICT

There are two clear winners in the battle of e-readers. If you love using apps and interacting in unique ways with your book or periodical, look no further than Apple’s iPad 2. However, if you are a hardcore reader that doesn’t want to deal with any bells and whistles, then the Amazon Kindle is the right choice for you. Happy e-reading!

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Comments (5)

  1. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 07/15/2011 - 12:18 am.

    Agree.

    You can actually get a Kindle for $114 with some sort of screen-saver advert.

    Not sure why Nook isn’t more popular.

  2. Submitted by Elana Centor on 07/17/2011 - 01:55 pm.

    I have both the latest version kindle and the latest version Nook. The picture in the article is of the 1st generation Nook. There is a huge difference between that Nook and the 2nd generation Nook that came out htis summer. The new vesion is awesome. Easy to use, light,and of course, for the time being you can checkout library books on the Nook and you can’t on the Kindle ( for the time being.)
    Until this new version Nook came out I definitely preferred the Kindle. Now it’s a complete toss up. Both are great !

  3. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 07/19/2011 - 11:26 am.

    The iPad appeals to Apple cultists, who believe anything out of Cupertino is necessarily good. The Kindle still has more features than I want or need (I have been reading for many, many years and have never felt the lack of a keyboard on a book). Frankly, I prefer the Nook if for no better reason than I don’t want to see Amazon dominate everything in the world of literacy.

  4. Submitted by Greg Price on 07/19/2011 - 01:01 pm.

    I am for Kindle all the way..easy usage…long battery life…and amazon carries more books in kindle format than any comparable format.

    I would go with Kindle over the other three due to
    1) cost
    2) size amazon vs. Barnes & Noble
    (remember the Beta format for VCR’s)
    3) You can still download off the free book sites too…

    all in all…best buy for the money…

  5. Submitted by Beth Hawkins on 07/19/2011 - 01:17 pm.

    The new Nook is awesome, particularly in the hands of a tween who burns through a book in a night but get himself to the library without Mom’s help.

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