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The 10 best choices for an e-reader

More people are looking to take advantage of e-readers, both for book reading and for long business documents. Here are the 10 best e-readers, along with comparison photos and a look at one of the popular new covers that can give an e-reader the feel of a traditional book.
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By Jason Hiner, Editor in Chief on
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1 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
More people are looking to take advantage of e-readers, both for book reading and for long business documents. Here are the 10 best e-readers, along with comparison photos and a look at one of the popular new covers that can give an e-reader the feel of a traditional book.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
Photo credit: Jason Hiner / TechRepublic
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2 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
There are plenty of different choices in e-readers now, including various sizes, form factors, and price points. This list will help you sort them out and find the best fit.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
Photo credit: Jason Hiner / TechRepublic
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3 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
The premier e-reading device is the Apple iPad, for two reasons: 1.) Its high-quality full color screen, and 2.) It's ability to handle everything from ebooks (from multiple ebook stores and in multiple formats), magazines, PDFs, newspapers, web pages, emails, and many other electronic files. It's the information omnivore's device. If you just want to read books, there are better options.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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4 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
The premier e-reading device is the Apple iPad, for two reasons: 1.) Its high-quality full color screen, and 2.) It's ability to handle everything from ebooks (from multiple ebook stores and in multiple formats), magazines, PDFs, newspapers, web pages, emails, and many other electronic files. It's the information omnivore's device. If you just want to read books, there are better options.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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5 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
If you're only interested in books and newspapers and don't want the distraction and expense of all that other stuff on the iPad, then the Amazon Kindle is the best choice. The third generation Kindle was just released in August and it is smaller, thinner, and less expensive than ever. And, the Kindle ecosystem is bigger than ever, with Kindle apps on iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, PCs, and Macs so that you can read and sync your Kindle ebooks across lots of different devices.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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6 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
If you're only interested in books and newspapers and don't want the distraction and expense of all that other stuff on the iPad, then the Amazon Kindle is the best choice. The third generation Kindle was just released in August and it is smaller, thinner, and less expensive than ever. And, the Kindle ecosystem is bigger than ever, with Kindle apps on iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, PCs, and Macs so that you can read and sync your Kindle ebooks across lots of different devices.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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7 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
Brick and mortar bookseller Barnes & Noble has gotten into the e-reader mix with the Nook. You can try one out at a kiosk in one of its book stores. The device itself has a much more clunky experience than the Kindle or the iPad, but it offers the largest ebook library with over a million titles (Amazon offers 700,000).
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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8 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
Brick and mortar bookseller Barnes & Noble has gotten into the e-reader mix with the Nook. You can try one out at a kiosk in one of its book stores. The device itself has a much more clunky experience than the Kindle or the iPad, but it offers the largest ebook library with over a million titles (Amazon offers 700,000).
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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9 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
Not to be overlooked as an e-reader is the iPhone. You can read Kindle and Barnes & Noble ebooks on it as well as lots of news sources via apps and web pages. You may not want to sit down and read on it for hours, it's great for reading when standing in lines, waiting at the doctor's office, and traveling, for example. You'd be surprised at how much reading you can get done just by using these short snatches of time.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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10 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
Not to be overlooked as an e-reader is the iPhone. You can read Kindle and Barnes & Noble ebooks on it as well as lots of news sources via apps and web pages. You may not want to sit down and read on it for hours, it's great for reading when standing in lines, waiting at the doctor's office, and traveling, for example. You'd be surprised at how much reading you can get done just by using these short snatches of time.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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11 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
The Kobo is Borders' answer to its chief rivals Amazon and Barnes & Noble in the e-reader race. It's a lightweight, low-cost device that does a good job of syncing with a PC and reading ebook files that can be loaded from your PC (including ones from the Borders ebook store) but doesn't offer wireless book buying like Amazon and Barnes & Nobile. It also doesn't do highlighting or note-taking.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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12 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
The Kobo is Borders' answer to its chief rivals Amazon and Barnes & Noble in the e-reader race. It's a lightweight, low-cost device that does a good job of syncing with a PC and reading ebook files that can be loaded from your PC (including ones from the Borders ebook store) but doesn't offer wireless book buying like Amazon and Barnes & Nobile. It also doesn't do highlighting or note-taking.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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13 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
Possibly the most elegant e-reader is the Sony Reader Touch, with its metal exterior, ultra-slim form factor, and integrated touchscreen. Like the Kobo you'll have to transfer ePub and PDF files to the Sony Reader Touch from a PC. But, the Sony includes annotation ability, even freehand drawing notes on the touchscreen using the included stylus.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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14 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
Possibly the most elegant e-reader is the Sony Reader Touch, with its metal exterior, ultra-slim form factor, and integrated touchscreen. Like the Kobo you'll have to transfer ePub and PDF files to the Sony Reader Touch from a PC. But, the Sony includes annotation ability, even freehand drawing notes on the touchscreen using the included stylus.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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Amazon's oversized Kindle, the DX, is made for people who read larger format books or simply want more screen space to read regular books. You'll pay for that extra space since the Kindle DX is over twice as much as the smaller standard Kindle. This is a niche product aimed primarily at textbooks for students.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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16 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
Amazon's oversized Kindle, the DX, is made for people who read larger format books or simply want more screen space to read regular books. You'll pay for that extra space since the Kindle DX is over twice as much as the smaller standard Kindle. This is a niche product aimed primarily at textbooks for students.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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17 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
Just as we talked about the iPhone as an e-reader, we also have to keep in mind that Android phones can be effectively used as e-readers as well. Like the iPhone, the three major ebook stores -- Kindle, Nook, and Kobo -- all have apps for Android. The best of the Android phones, in my opinion, is the HTC EVO 4G and its large 4.3-inch screen make a great e-reader as well. Other top Android choices for e-reading: Samsung Vibrant and Motorola Droid X.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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18 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
Just as we talked about the iPhone as an e-reader, we also have to keep in mind that Android phones can be effectively used as e-readers as well. Like the iPhone, the three major ebook stores -- Kindle, Nook, and Kobo -- all have apps for Android. The best of the Android phones, in my opinion, is the HTC EVO 4G and its large 4.3-inch screen make a great e-reader as well. Other top Android choices for e-reading: Samsung Vibrant and Motorola Droid X.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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19 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
The Alex is an e-reader that runs Android. It looks fairly similar to the B&N Nook (and Spring Design has sued B&N over that) in that it combines an e-ink screen for reading and a touchscreen at the bottom. But, the Alex is a little more sophisticated, not nearly as sluggish as the Nook, and a lot more expensive. It's an interesting experiment in e-reading nonetheless.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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20 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
The Alex is an e-reader that runs Android. It looks fairly similar to the B&N Nook (and Spring Design has sued B&N over that) in that it combines an e-ink screen for reading and a touchscreen at the bottom. But, the Alex is a little more sophisticated, not nearly as sluggish as the Nook, and a lot more expensive. It's an interesting experiment in e-reading nonetheless.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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21 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
Another interesting e-reader that we're starting to see in a lot more retail stores is the Pandigital Novel. At first glance, it actually bears some resemblance to the iPad -- although it has a lot more plastic and the screen size is only 7-inches (vs. 10 inches on the iPad). Like the Alex, it's based on Android. It's not nearly as polished of an experience as the iPad, but it's much cheaper and it's still an attractive touchscreen e-reader with a lot of future potential.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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22 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
Another interesting e-reader that we're starting to see in a lot more retail stores is the Pandigital Novel. At first glance, it actually bears some resemblance to the iPad -- although it has a lot more plastic and the screen size is only 7-inches (vs. 10 inches on the iPad). Like the Alex, it's based on Android. It's not nearly as polished of an experience as the iPad, but it's much cheaper and it's still an attractive touchscreen e-reader with a lot of future potential.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
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23 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
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24 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
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One of the things that people who love books sometime say about e-readers is that they feel too cold and digital. They don't have the nice tactile feel of a good hardcover. Well, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and others are trying to ease the transition to e-readers with covers for their e-readers that feel more like a hard cover book binding. Here are photos of a new one from Amazon for the Kindle that even includes a built-in book light.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
Photo credit: Jason Hiner / TechRepublic
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30 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
One of the things that people who love books sometime say about e-readers is that they feel too cold and digital. They don't have the nice tactile feel of a good hardcover. Well, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and others are trying to ease the transition to e-readers with covers for their e-readers that feel more like a hard cover book binding. Here are photos of a new one from Amazon for the Kindle that even includes a built-in book light.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
Photo credit: Jason Hiner / TechRepublic
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31 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
One of the things that people who love books sometime say about e-readers is that they feel too cold and digital. They don't have the nice tactile feel of a good hardcover. Well, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and others are trying to ease the transition to e-readers with covers for their e-readers that feel more like a hard cover book binding. Here are photos of a new one from Amazon for the Kindle that even includes a built-in book light.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
Photo credit: Jason Hiner / TechRepublic
468931.jpg
32 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
One of the things that people who love books sometime say about e-readers is that they feel too cold and digital. They don't have the nice tactile feel of a good hardcover. Well, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and others are trying to ease the transition to e-readers with covers for their e-readers that feel more like a hard cover book binding. Here are photos of a new one from Amazon for the Kindle that even includes a built-in book light.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
Photo credit: Jason Hiner / TechRepublic
468932.jpg
33 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
One of the things that people who love books sometime say about e-readers is that they feel too cold and digital. They don't have the nice tactile feel of a good hardcover. Well, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and others are trying to ease the transition to e-readers with covers for their e-readers that feel more like a hard cover book binding. Here are photos of a new one from Amazon for the Kindle that even includes a built-in book light.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
Photo credit: Jason Hiner / TechRepublic
468933.jpg
34 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
One of the things that people who love books sometime say about e-readers is that they feel too cold and digital. They don't have the nice tactile feel of a good hardcover. Well, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and others are trying to ease the transition to e-readers with covers for their e-readers that feel more like a hard cover book binding. Here are photos of a new one from Amazon for the Kindle that even includes a built-in book light.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
Photo credit: Jason Hiner / TechRepublic
468934.jpg
35 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
One of the things that people who love books sometime say about e-readers is that they feel too cold and digital. They don't have the nice tactile feel of a good hardcover. Well, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and others are trying to ease the transition to e-readers with covers for their e-readers that feel more like a hard cover book binding. Here are photos of a new one from Amazon for the Kindle that even includes a built-in book light.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
Photo credit: Jason Hiner / TechRepublic
468935.jpg
36 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
One of the things that people who love books sometime say about e-readers is that they feel too cold and digital. They don't have the nice tactile feel of a good hardcover. Well, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and others are trying to ease the transition to e-readers with covers for their e-readers that feel more like a hard cover book binding. Here are photos of a new one from Amazon for the Kindle that even includes a built-in book light.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
Photo credit: Jason Hiner / TechRepublic
468936.jpg
37 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
One of the things that people who love books sometime say about e-readers is that they feel too cold and digital. They don't have the nice tactile feel of a good hardcover. Well, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and others are trying to ease the transition to e-readers with covers for their e-readers that feel more like a hard cover book binding. Here are photos of a new one from Amazon for the Kindle that even includes a built-in book light.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
Photo credit: Jason Hiner / TechRepublic
468937.jpg
38 of 38 Jason Hiner/ZDNet
One of the things that people who love books sometime say about e-readers is that they feel too cold and digital. They don't have the nice tactile feel of a good hardcover. Well, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and others are trying to ease the transition to e-readers with covers for their e-readers that feel more like a hard cover book binding. Here are photos of a new one from Amazon for the Kindle that even includes a built-in book light.
You can also read this list in text format in the companion blog post.
Photo credit: Jason Hiner / TechRepublic

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