A tablet sitting on top of books next to a holiday gift

2020 Gift Guide: Which e-Reader Should You Buy this Holiday?

E-readers have become a must-have gadget for just about every book lover. With simple user interfaces and storage capacities that let you walk around with a whole library, these devices are an excellent solution to issues around space and accessibility. They make it easy to browse and download new books, sync your progress, and take your reading, and a built-in light with you wherever you go.

If you aren’t sure what to look for in your new ebook reader (or the one you’re gifting this holiday season), we’re here to help.

If you want to stay on a budget…

Amazon Kindle

The Kindle became the first majorly popular e-reader back in 2007, and it is as simple as these devices come. Having improved functionality with plenty of upgrades over the years, the basic Kindle is equipped with all of the essential features users expect (glare-free, paper-like display reading with zero distracting notifications or alerts), and it comes at a very wallet-friendly price. The front-facing light is adjustable for indoor and outdoor use, and the storage capacity can accommodate thousands of books. Users can highlight passages and even adjust their display settings without having to navigate away from their current page. Upgrade to the Kindle Paperwhite for a thinner, lighter waterproof device and a more evolved viewing experience. Both devices work with Audible so listening to books or reading are available.

With a low-cost Kindle Unlimited subscription ($9.99/mo as of the date of this article), users can access a library of over a million book titles, plus thousands of audiobooks. And for a one-time extra fee (about $20, see Amazon’s website for details), you can opt out of the device’s ad display, which promotes other books available in the Kindle Store on the lock screen. In sum, what this e-reader lacks in flash it more than makes up for in reliability, ease of use, and, again, cost.

If you want a large display…

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus

While most e-readers give users the option to increase the size of their books’ fonts, sometimes you just want to read off of a larger screen. With a screen measuring over a foot from corner to corner, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is an easy choice if size is your priority. Just keep in mind that it’s slightly heavier than your average e-reader, weighing a little over a pound.

The Tab S7 Plus’ expansive display comes in stunning resolution if you’re as interested in bingeable videos as you are in the latest page-turner. Of course, this sort of user experience comes at a price. The Tab S7 Plus is a splurge compared to other models on this list, but you’ll be paying for a tablet, e-reader, and, if you opt to buy a bluetooth compatible keyboard (sold separately from the Tab), a PC to boot.

If you want to read on the go (or anywhere, really)…

Amazon Kindle Oasis

Kindle’s serious upgrade for serious readers is the Oasis. Weighing less than seven ounces, and crafted with an ergonomic design featuring a bezel for easier holding, the Oasis has automatic rotating page orientation along with physical, page-turning buttons.

The Oasis delivers a truly seamless reading experience throughout the day and into the night thanks to its auto-adjusting light sensors and adjustable warm light. In comparison to the basic model’s four front light LEDs and Paperwhite version’s five, the newest Oasis boasts 25 LEDs for a white light experience that’s seriously smooth on the eyes. And since it’s already protected in up to two meters of water, beach readers can rest easy using the Oasis on the shore. The Oasis works with Audible audiobooks so you can pair with your Bluetooth headphones or speakers, then switch seamlessly between listening and reading without losing your place in the book.

If everything about the basic Kindle appeals to you, and you want to level up for some deluxe features, the Oasis is your upgrade.

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If you want to do more than read…

Apple iPad Mini

Speaking of versatile devices, the iPad Mini is a great choice for those who want the functionality of both a tablet and an e-reader combined. Not only can it host a multitude of apps (including the Kindle app and Apple’s own e-reader app), but it also supports the Apple Pencil, a stylus that enables writing, drawing, and note-taking. The front and back cameras, which take HD photos and cinema-quality videos, will surely appeal to those who consider themselves both bookworms and shutterbugs. Sound heavy? Not really. All that power is contained in hardware that weighs less than one pound, making it easy to hold with one hand for commuter reading.

While the robust functionality and lightweight size of the iPad Mini make it an excellent all-in-one solution, marathon readers may take issue with this option’s battery life. Unlike other options on this list, which can run for a week on a single charge, the Mini can only last up to 10 hours before needing a recharge.

If you only want to read…

Barnes & Noble NOOK GlowLight Plus

While the NOOK is our pick for readers who want to streamline their experience, it’s by no means lacking in bells and whistles. The NOOK GlowLight Plus is waterproof with adjustable warm lighting to fit your surroundings. It can sync your progress across other devices and even holds a single charge for weeks. A soft-touch design makes this e-reader easy to hold for hours on end. But, where the GlowLight Plus really shines is in the act of reading. The screen resists scratching, fingerprints, and glare, emulating the look of regular paper, while the account settings allow users to select their preferred font size and style, margins, justification, and line spacing.

Think of the NOOK GlowLight Plus as an opportunity to design your book’s pages to your exact liking. And when you reach the end, Barnes & Noble boasts a selection of over three million ebooks (even more than Kindle), plus thousands of audiobooks to choose from for your next read.

So, which e-Reader will you choose?

Whether you’re looking for a barebones device to help take some weight off of your shelves, or something to stand in for a personal library, TV, and computer all in one, there’s an e-reader out there that fits the bill.

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