Battle of the eBook Readers

The war between digital book providers is accelerating. Should you choose the market-leading Kindle? Could the PocketBook be just as good? We lay out the most popular models.

$139 Kindle launched a cheaper, wireless-only Kindle Wednesday, betting that the $139 price will turn its latest electronic reader into a mass-appeal device as Apple Inc's iPad gains ground.

The world's largest online retailer and leading e-reader seller also revealed its third-generation Kindle, some 21 percent smaller and 15 percent lighter than the previous version, but still priced at $189.  Read more


Kindle DX Graphite

Amazon's new Kindle DX, which sports a higher-quality 9.7-inch screen, will sell for $379, down from $489, and have free 3G wireless connection with no monthly bills or annual contracts. It was the second price cut for Amazon in as many weeks. Responding to the threat from the iPad, Amazon cut the Kindle with a 6-inch screen to $189, hours after book-selling rival Barnes & Noble Inc lowered the price on its "Nook" to $199. Both had cost $259. 

Read more about the new Kindle DX.


Apple iPad

Sure, it's more than just an e-book reader.  It's "magical and revolutionary," according to Steve Jobs. But it's also an e-book reader, thanks to the integrated i Books software, which gives you a shelf to display your books (just like you'd see them in a book store). Tap the Store button and the bookshelf flips around like a secret passageway to reveal the iBookstore, where you can browse tens of thousands of books — many of them free. 

Read more about the iPad. 


Plastic Logic Que

A startup called Plastic Logic plans to release details at January's Consumer Electronics Show about its big-screen Que, which will be sold at Barnes & Noble stores. For now, all we know is what the company claims: The largest screen in the industry, the first ever high-quality plastic display, the longest lasting battery, and so on. 

As to cost and how good the e-reader is, only time will tell. But it sure looks neat. 

Plastic Logic

enTourage eDGe

In addition to some strange capitalization, the still unreleased enTourage eDGe boasts a unique dual-screen design. It will use the same e-Ink technology found in many other e-book readers, but will also let you take notes and write in a journal, making it more like a netbook than just a book. 

The device will include built in Wi-Fi networking, as well as support for cellular networks. It adds Bluetooth as well, to let you connect an external keyboard. We suspect that extra screen will add to the cost, however. 

enTourage Systems, Inc.

Sony Reader Daily Edition

The brand new Sony Reader Daily Edition adds wireless access to Sony’s eBook store via AT&T’s 3G mobile broadband network. As with the other wireless book readers, there are no monthly fees or transaction charges for the basic wireless connectivity.

The 7-inch wide touch-screen display shows about 30-35 lines of text in portrait mode, and the aluminum body boasts an integrated cover for durability. There's enough internal memory to hold more than 1,000 books, but all that room and wireless goodness will cost you: The Daily Edition goes for about $399.

Sony Corp.

Sony Reader Touch

What sets the Sony Reader Touch apart from its counterparts is quite simple — it comes in different colors.

With silver, red and black models, users can charge and read from the device for two full weeks. It holds just 350 books, has a built-in dictionary and allows you to take notes using the included stylus. You can later export the notes using the eBook Library software.

A hefty price tag of $300, however, means one may want to save some cash and go for the model that can hold triple the amount of books.


Amazon Kindle

Amazon boasts that its Kindle is as thin as most magazines and lighter than a typical paperback novel — all while holding up to 1,500 books.

The device has no annual contracts or monthly fees either, and it's equipped with 3G wireless coverage so you don't have to hunt for wireless hot spots in order to read. The Kindle can go days without needing a recharge, too. Amazon has deals with New York Times best sellers, along with newspapers, magazines and blogs, so finding books to download is never a problem.

But at $250, you may question whether you truly need 1,500 books at your disposal.  

Barnes and Noble Nook

The Nook resembles an iPod touch with a simplistic, touch-screen display. It uses the patented E-Ink technology, which makes reading from it more like reading a book.

Like the Kindle, the Nook has a wireless connection and boasts that it can download books in  seconds. It also can store 1,500 books, newspapers or magazines — and you can add more storage with memory cards if that's not enough.

To find books, type a title or tap on the cover of the book. If you visit a Barnes and Noble store, the Nook will tell you exclusive content and special discounts. The Nook is the same size and weight as a paperback book, and is priced at $250.

Intel Reader

The Intel Reader is marketed for the visually impaired or dyslexic reader; it's a Kindle for the blind.

The device can scan text and play it back as an audio file for the user, with a hefty price tag of $1,499. However, Intel aims the Reader at museums (to read exhibit materials aloud for patrons) or educators who want to scan information for their students. It also can help people "scan" menus and have it read back to them,  a vast difference from the other eReaders on the market.

It is unknown if the newly released device will be considered the latest breakthrough and offer an alternative to even pricier Braille readers. 

Fujitsu FLEPia

If you're looking for a color screen alternative to the Kindel, the Fujitsu FLEPia may be your best bet — that's if you're in the $1,000 market for a paperback alternative. With a 8-inch display that boasts 260,000 colors, it has wireless Bluetooth and Wi-Fi options, and it runs on Windows CE 5.0

But unless you're traveling to Japan anytime soon, you'll have to wait until the FLEPia arrives in America.

PocketBook 360

Lefties rejoice, there's a digital book reader just for you.

PocketBook 360 gives automatic 360-degree rotation of pages with a design that claims to be better than its competition. But since the display is 5 inches wide, it may be cumbersome to those who lack 5-inch pockets.   

If you expand the PocketBook's memory to 32GB, you'll surpass both the Kindle and Nook's storage and have 30,000 books at your fingertips. But don't get too excited. The PocketBook is not available yet in the U.S. Visit its Web site, and persuade them to deliver one to you.



The Cybook boasts of breakthrough screen technology with an Electronic Ink display, which makes the monitor act like a paper page made of tiny ink particles. That's the same screen tech you'll find in several other readers, of course.

E-Ink has ultra-low power consumption and does not need juice to maintain an image — giving you 8,000 screen refreshes with a fully charged battery. The Cybook says a heavy reader, who needs 320 refreshes a day, can use the device for 25 days without charging.

With a price of $350, it's still a bit pricey, but the Cybook's energy effectiveness may be worth it for the person on the go.



Battle of the eBook Readers

The war between digital book providers is accelerating. Should you choose the market-leading Kindle? Could the PocketBook be just as good? We lay out the most popular models.

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