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I thought that the toughest decision – whether or not to buy an e-reader – was behind me. It turns out that there will be much more involved in this decision than I had originally thought. I have some money saved and I have decided that I want an e-reader, but I am not sure of which one is the best deal for my money. It was so easy to gush and pour over the advantages of two or three, but now there are at least four or five that I am completely open to.

E-ink or Backlit color? Touchscreen keyboard or regular keyboard? Do all of them allow the user to take notes? Should I look for a model that is expandable? The battery life seems to vary greatly depending on the e-reader- how much will that matter to me? The questions are endless. In some respects, I am a visual learner, so I knew I would benefit from a chart in order to compare the features of the five major e-readers on the market. Please follow this link for the best comparison chart that I have seen so far: http://paidcontent.org/table/e-reader-comparison-chart.

There are just a few caveats that I would like to mention. Make sure that you are comparing “quotes” apples to apples “quotes” here. Keep in mind that just because one unit may seem to do everything, that doesn’t mean that it does everything well, or the way that you would like it done, necessarily. Here is the lowdown on “pros” and “cons” for each major type of e-reader on the market (in no particular order):

Kindle 2:

Pros:

*Real external keyboard

*16-level greyscale E-ink

*Can subscribe to blogs and magazines

Cons:

*While there are many downloadable options, there isn’t much space for storage with only 2GB.

*Not expandable like Nook and Sony e-Readers.

Kindle DX

Pros: *See more on a larger screen

*Slim, but heavier than Kindle 2

*Twice as much storage (4GB) than Kindle 2

*Ready to go out of the box

*3G

*Book in less than 60 seconds

*One-click ordering through Amazon.com

*16-level greyscale

*Change of font size

*Text to speech feature

*Auto rotating feature

*Can subscribe to blogs and magazines

Cons:

*Price – almost double Kindle 2

Barnes & Noble Nook

Pros:

*Runs on both 3G/WiFi

*Option to share books once for fourteen days (the book cannot be read by the purchaser when it has been loaned)

*16-level greyscale, bottom third of the screen in color

*10-day battery life

Cons:

*While there are many downloadable options, there isn’t much space for storage with only 2GB

Sony Touch Edition

Pros:

*Access to Google Books – many free

*Can load eBooks from public libraries

*Stylus, can take notes.

Cons:

*No 3G/WiFi connectivity – cannot load books directly onto the reader, need a computer

*While there are many downloadable options, there isn’t much space for storage with only 2GB

iPad

Pros:

*No need for a contract through AT&T for the necessary data package – pay as you go

*So much more than just an e-reader – one can view photos, videos, calendar, contacts, and more

*Barnes and Noble announced that they will release a Barnes and Noble e-reader app that can be used on the iPad.

*Apple is currently in discussions with several textbook publishers who are considering making textbooks available on iTunes or iBookstore for download.

*Tons of storage – 16, 32, and 64 GB models, but not expandable.

Cons:

*Battery life is about 11 hours

*Cannot share books

*Cannot take notes on books

*Cannot multitask

*Need a data package through AT&T

So, were you waiting for me to tell you which one you should purchase? I don’t have that answer for you any more than the answer to the question, “Who, should I marry?” It all comes down to your need and priorities. Assess all of the ways in which you might want to use your e-reader, then compare the list to the information listed here. Remember to research thoroughly and take time out to test them. Sample units of the Sony Reader and Nook are available in the stores (Sony, and Barnes and Noble, respectively) for you to actually hold and play with. The others are not as readily available to test, so you may want to borrow a friend’s or if you think that you are settled on one in particular, order it and test it, and keep in mind the unit’s return policy.


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