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Compare the Best E-Book ReadersJanuary 2019

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What is the Kagoo Score? Our unique E-book readers rating which considers: 360 US prices • 2,000 expert & user reviews • 94 product comparisons • 110 industry awards • Score breakdown
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Rank
Kagoo Score
Average Review Rating
Price
Touchscreen
Weight
Display Resolution
Diagonal
Release Date
#1

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite ‑ 8th Gen

377 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$114.99

Info
161g
Info
800 X 600 pixels
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6"
Info
Jun 2016
#2

Kobo AURA One

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$239.35

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230g
Info
1872 X 1404 pixels
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7.8"
Info
Jul 2016
#3

Kobo Aura H2O

132 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$858.97

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207g
Info
1440 X 1080 pixels
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6.8"
Info
Mar 2017
#4

Kobo Aura HD

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$185.48

Info
240g
Info
1440 X 1080 pixels
Info
6.8"
Info
Aug 2016
Save $1.1k
#5

Kobo Aura

254 Reviews
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$75.04

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174g
Info
1024 X 768 pixels
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6"
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Jul 2016
#6

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite ‑ 6th Gen

22 Reviews
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$89.99

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161g
Info
800 X 600 pixels
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6"
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Feb 2013
#7

Onyx Onyx Boox Max 2

9 Reviews
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$789.00

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550g
Info
(Unknown)
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13.3"
Info
Mar 2017
#8

Pocketbook Touch Lux 3

14 Reviews
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$166.16

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208g
Info
1024 X 758 pixels
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6"
Info
Apr 2017
#9

Kobo Forma

9 Reviews
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$259.94

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197g
Info
1440 X 1920 pixels
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6"
Info
Oct 2018
#10

Kobo Clara HD

17 Reviews
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$149.48

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166g
Info
1024 X 758 pixels
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6"
Info
Apr 2018
Save $34
#11

Amazon Kindle Voyage

275 Reviews
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$149.99

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180g
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1024 X 768 pixels
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6"
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Nov 2014
#12

77

Amazon Kindle Touch ‑ 4th Gen

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$75.00

Info
191g
Info
800 X 600 pixels
Info
6"
Info
Oct 2013
A good spec and phenomenally cheap 191g touchscreen E-reader.
#13

75

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite ‑ 7th Gen

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$94.99

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205g
Info
1024 X 768 pixels
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6"
Info
Jun 2014
A good spec and very cheap 205g touchscreen E-reader.
#14

71

Pocketbook Basic Touch 2

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$126.26

Info
180g
Info
800 X 600 pixels
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6"
Info
Dec 2016
A good spec and good value for money 180g touchscreen ereader, but with poor user reviews.
#15

69

Pocketbook Basic 3

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$109.16

Info
170g
Info
800 X 600 pixels
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6"
Info
Jun 2017
A good spec and cheap 170g touchscreen ereader.
#16

66

Pocketbook Touch HD 3

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$178.36

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155g
Info
1448 X 1072 pixels
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6"
Info
Nov 2018
A phenomenally light weight and good spec touchscreen 1448 x 1072 pixels resolution ereader, with the latest technology but not very good user reviews.
Save $170
#17

65

Onyx BOOX Max Carta

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$578.70

Info
550g
Info
2200 X 1650 pixels
Info
13.3"
Info
Sep 2016
A gigantic diagonal and good spec 550g touchscreen E-reader, but with poor user reviews.
#18

64

Onyx Boox Note

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

$529.00

Info
355g
Info
1872 X 1404 pixels
Info
10.3"
Info
Dec 2016
A good spec and enormous diagonal 355g touchscreen ereader.

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Today's Best E-Book Reader Deals

Amazon E-Book Reader Deals

Trending E-Book Reader Comparisons

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Pocketbook
Touch Lux 3
$166.16
Two more awards
Expert reviews
are better
VS
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Kobo
Clara HD
$149.48
$17 cheaper
Better brand
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Kobo
Aura
$75.04
$91 cheaper
10 more awards
Better brand
VS
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Pocketbook
Touch Lux 3
$166.16
Moderately
better expert
reviews
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Kobo
Aura
$75.04
$91 cheaper
Four more
awards
Better brand
VS
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Pocketbook
Touch Lux 3
$166.16
Expert reviews
are slightly
better
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Pocketbook
Touch Lux 3
$166.16
$94 cheaper
One more awards
Expert reviews
are a lot
better
VS
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Kobo
Forma
$259.94
Better brand
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Amazon
Kindle Paperwhite - 6th Gen
$89.99
$170 cheaper
Better brand
Expert reviews
are appreciably
better
VS
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Kobo
Forma
$259.94
One more awards
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Amazon
Kindle Paperwhite - 7th Gen
$94.99
$71 cheaper
User reviews
are vastly
better
Better brand
VS
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Pocketbook
Touch Lux 3
$166.16
One more awards
Better expert
reviews
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Kobo
Aura HD
$72.99
$22 cheaper
Six more awards
Better expert
reviews
VS
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Amazon
Kindle Paperwhite - 7th Gen
$94.99
Hugely better
user reviews
Better brand
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Amazon
Kindle Paperwhite - 7th Gen
$94.99
$144 cheaper
Better brand
VS
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Kobo
AURA One
$239.35
Two more awards
Expert reviews
are better

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

QWhat is the average battery life of an e-book reader?
AMost e-book readers have a battery life of several weeks, perhaps as long as several months if not used regularly.
QHow do I put books onto an e-reader?
AMost e-readers have a link to a dedicated store, where you can buy and download books. Some also allow you to add books and documents directly via USB.
QWhat is the difference between a back light and a front light?
ABacklights are placed behind the screen, and shine light through the screen in order to make it readable. Frontlights are placed in front and to the side of the screen - they shine light down onto the screen rather than through it. This means the light isn't shining directly into your eyes, making it softer and easier to read at night.

E-Book Reader Buying Guide

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What is an E-Book Reader?

E-book readers have quickly become a common site on trains, planes and subways the world over - a simple tablet dedicated to displaying book in the simplest, most natural way possible. With excellent battery life, easy-to-read screens and capacity for thousands of books at once, e-book readers are a good way to make sure you always have something to read on your commute or holiday!

Most e-readers use a technology called ‘e-ink’ to display the books - this is uses microscopic particles suspected in a liquid film under the screen. Some of these particles are positively charged and coloured white, and others negatively charged and coloured black. By running a charge through the liquid, the white or black particles can come to the surface, allowing letters and text to form.

Because the charge is only required when the text changes, e-ink has an extremely low power draw - power is normally only used when the page is ‘turned’ (refreshed). This means that most e-readers have an extremely long battery life - they can last for weeks and even months between charges, depending on how fast you read.

Benefit of an E-book reader over mobiles/tables

When e-readers were introduced, many people wondered - you have your phone/tablet with you already, why not just use that to read books, and save yourself having to carry around another device? A fair question, and e-readers have multiple advantages over using your phone:

  • The e-ink display draws very little power, meaning you won’t use much power, compared to draining your phone/tablet battery reading on it.
  • E-ink displays are also very easy on the eye, and can help prevent eye strain caused by long reading sessions.
  • Most e-readers have a larger display than phones, making reading easier and also helping to ease eye strain.
  • E-readers are free from notifications, apps and other distractions that would stop you from concentrating on your book.

That said, if you do want to read books on your phone/tablet, many of the major e-reader makers have apps for those devices, allowing you to start reading a book on one device and pick it up seamlessly on another, so you can have your literary cake and eat it too.

Display

One of the biggest concerns when picking an e-book reader is the display. The quality of the text on an e-reader display is measured in Dots Per Inch (DPI). The higher the DPI, the more particles make up each letter on the screen, leading to smoother, clearer text that is easier to read. Most e-readers have a DPI of somewhere around 2-300, although top-tier models can rise as high as 600 DPI, for extremely crisp and clear text.

Tied into the DPI is the size of the display. Most e-readers are the size of small tablets - slightly larger than a paperback book. There are larger models - some go as large as 8”, meaning they are more unwieldy to carry, but can display more/larger text at once.

Battery Life

As mentioned above, because e-readers draw very little power, they have a very good battery life. Even the most basic of e-readers will have a battery life of weeks, with many able to function for a month or more between charges. Some higher-end readers have larger batteries, but these are only worth seeking out if you spend a long time travelling or away from any power - for most people a month’s charge will be more than enough.

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Wifi/4g Connectivity

Nearly all e-readers apart from the very cheap models will have some form of wifi connection to allow the device to connect to the internet to download new books. Some more expensive models will also have 3G connectivity, meaning it can connect to the net from anywhere, and doesn’t have to be on a known wifi network. This can be helpful since it allows you to buy and download new books from anywhere - even half-way round the world - as long as you have a cell phone signal.

Ebooks themselves are very small files, since they usually lack any images/video/etc. This means that even a modest e-reader can hold hundreds, if not thousands of ebooks at once. Some readers have more capacity than the norm, but most users will struggle to fill even half of a standard reader’s capacity.

Stores

The biggest difference between all the various ranges of e-readers is the online stores they have access to. This denotes what books you can buy at what price. Kindle’s only have access to the Amazon store, while the Kobo reader has it’s own store. Amazon is far-and-away the biggest of these stores, but it doesn’t contain everything - and some of it’s publishing policies rub people the wrong way. Other stores have their own positives and negatives, so it is worthwhile does a bit of checking to see if the store for your chosen reader has a good selection before you commit to buying it.

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File Formats

Alongside buying books from an online store, it is also possible to load books onto an e-reader as individual files. These files could be downloaded from a different store, received directly from the publisher (in the case of small independent labels) or even your own work.

Different e-readers have support for different types of files. One of the most popular file format is the epub (electronic publication) file - these are used for a lot of publicly available books, such as Project Guttenberg, which aims to make much of the classic literature in the world available freely. However the Kindle doesn’t directly support the epub format - meaning you’ll have to transfer it to another format if you want to use it.

If you are going to be using e-readers for independent (non-store) files a lot, it’s worth taking a look at ‘Calibre’, which is a free program for converting ebook files between different formats. The site is here: Calibre

Backlights

One of the most helpful additions to e-readers is a backlight. While lacking in very cheap models, most mid-range readers have a light built into the screen, which allows you to read in low-light conditions. Many have several different levels of brightness as well - higher brightness can be helpful in certain situations, but lower brightness will help conserve battery power.

Waterproofing

Waterproofing is currently limited to a small collection of e-readers, but is immensely helpful if you can get it. Having a water-resistant device means that you can happily read everywhere from the beach to the bath, and don’t have to worry about damaging your device if it gets a bit damp.

E-Book Reader Retailers, Prices and Features

Ereader Prices

In total we found 17 ereaders ranging from $75 to $859. On average, a new E-reader costs $272 and 80% of E-book readers are priced between $90 and $580. The Kobo Aura H2O is the most expensive E-book reader that we found at $859, and the Amazon Kindle Touch - 4th Gen is the cheapest at only $75.

E-Reader Brands - Price Range

The highest average E-reader price out of all brands is Onyx E-book readers with an average price of $659. Onyx E-book readers start at $529 and their most expensive E-reader costs $789.

Onyx BOOX E-book readers start at $580 and their most expensive E-book reader costs $580. The average price of Onyx BOOX E-book readers is $580 which is the second highest average price of all E-book reader brands.

Kobo ereaders range in price from $75 to $859, and the average price of Kobo ereaders is $294 which is the third highest average price of all ereader brands.

E-Book Reader Brands - Average Ratings

We have analysed 853 expert reviews and 493 user reviews for E-book readers and used this information to calculate the average rating for each brand of E-book reader.

Biggest E-Reader Retailers

The biggest ereader retailer by number of products currently for sale is eBay. We found 18 current ereader offers from eBay. The second biggest retailer is Target with 3 offers. That means eBay is over 6 times bigger than Target when it comes to E-book readers.

When Are Most New E-Readers Released?

May to July is the most common period for new ereaders to be released in. For the latest E-book reader technology you may want to consider waiting until May 2019. It's also worth keeping in mind that the price of the current E-readers tend to drop off when the next models are released. Three new E-book readers were released in May 2018 making it the biggest month that year for new ereader releases. In July 2017, five new E-readers were released making it the biggest month that year for new ereader releases. In 2016 most new E-book readers were released in September, with 13 new E-book readers released that month.

How Fast Do E-Reader Prices Drop After Release?

On average, in the first 6 months after release, E-book readers drop in price by 19%. That means a saving of $52 on a typical $272 new ereader if you wait 6 months before buying.

Weights

'Weight' denotes the weight of the e-reader, measured in grams (g).

Comparing all ereaders, the weights range from 110.2g to 550g. The weights of the majority of E-readers range from 160g to 200g. The E-book reader with the heaviest weight is the Onyx BOOX Max Carta, which is a 550g E-reader and is on sale for $580.36. The Pocketbook Touch HD 3, which sells for $178.87, has the lightest weight and is a 155g E-book reader.

A lighter device will be easier to carry around, and mean it can be held and read for longer without it getting uncomfortable to hold.

Touchscreens

'Touchscreen' denotes whether the e-reader has touch capacity or not, meaning you can control the device by poking the screen, rather than manual controls.

The vast majority of the 80 new E-readers currently listed on Kagoo are ereaders with a touchscreen. 68 E-readers out of 80 are ereaders with a touchscreen.

Touchscreen controls are user faster and easier to use than standard manual controls.

Display Resolutions

'Display Resolution' denotes how many pixels make up the display of the e-reader.

Amongst new E-readers, the most common display resolution is 800 x 600 pixels. We found 21 E-readers that are E-book readers that have a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels. We found 18 E-readers that are E-book readers that have a resolution of 1024 x 758 pixels, making 1024 x 758 pixels the second most frequently found display resolution amongst new E-readers.

A larger display resolution means that the text will be sharper and clearer, making it easier to read books on the device, and reducing the chances of eye-strain after long sessions.

Diagonals

'Diagonal' denotes the size of the e-reader, measured in inches from the top-left to bottom-right corner.

Comparing all E-book readers, the diagonals range from 5" to 13.3". The diagonals of most E-book readers range from 6" to 6.5". The Onyx Onyx Boox Max 2, which can be purchased for $789.00, has the biggest diagonal and is a 13.3" E-book reader. The ereader with the smallest diagonal is the Pocketbook Touch HD 3, which is a 6" E-reader and is available at $178.87.

A larger size means that there is more real estate on the e-reader to display books, and the device can display text at a larger font size if needed.

Which Are the Cheapest Retailers for Ereaders?

The chart below helps you decide which retailer is normally cheapest for buying E-book readers. For each retailer it shows the total number of E-book readers where they currently have a market leading price. The chart below helps you decide which retailer is normally cheapest for buying ereaders. For each retailer we took all of their prices and looked at what proportion of those prices where the cheapest on the market. The cheapest retailer that we found was eBay. 18 of their E-reader prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

Proportion of E-Book Readers for Which Each Retailer is Cheapest?

Assessing how cheap each retailer is for E-readers by counting the number of cheapest prices for that retailer, makes the retailers that offer the greatest number of ereader prices more likely to offer the greatest number of cheapest prices. The chart below considers the proportion of each retailer's ereader prices that are the cheapest compared to other retailers. The cheapest retailer that we found using this approach was eBay. 100% of their ereader prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

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