By Joanna Cabot and Chris Meadows

Our friends over at Good E-Reader have come out with their holiday shopping recommendations for the e-book fan. We here at TeleRead have some holiday shopping suggestions for you as well. What’s the best e-book gadget for the reader on your list? Check out our recommendations below. 

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Kobo ArcFor the aspiring tablet owner 

Kobo Arc

This is like a budget version of the Google Nexus—cheaper, but about on par in terms of weight and size, and with access to the Google Play store (unlike the Kindle Fire). Early reviews are favourable, with people nothing smooth operation and a crisp, bright screen. Another plus: it’s expandable via SD card, unlike the Nexus, which is its chief competitor. 

($199.99 at kobo.com/koboarc) —Joanna Cabot

For the former Fictionwise customer 

NOOK Simple Touch

With Fictionwise shutting its doors this month, customers in the UK and US are being offered the chance to transfer their books over to a Nook account. If you have a lot of Fictionwise books, you’ll have content ready to go for your Nook. And they have a full spectrum of devices to choose from, including e-ink with glowlight, mini tablet and even a full-sized iPad rival.

($99 at barnesandnoble.com/nook—JC


Amazon Kindle PaperwhiteFor the American who’s lusting after a lighted, glowing reader

Kindle Paperwhite

The Nook and Kobo brands both have lighted reader too, but their prices and book selection in the U.S. aren’t as good as Amazon’s, making the Kindle a very slightly better choice (unless you have strong feelings on the EPUB versus MOBI issue—if so, the Nook or Kobo are by no means bad choices.

($119-$139 at amazon.com/kindle-paperwhite—JC


For the non-American who’s lusting after a lighted, glowing reader

Kobo Glo

You want a lighted reader, and you are not American: Kobo Glo by a landslide. It’s a great little reader (I just got one myself!) and is available retail in many more countries than the America-only Kindle Paperwhite and the U.S./UK-sold Nook. Kobo also has a history of partnering with local book chains, which is a nice touch. It makes the devices easily available at the retail level, and it’s a treat to see local authors heavily featured when you log into the store. 
($129.99 at kobo.com/koboglo—JC


For the public library regular:

Kobo GloNOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight or Kobo Glo

You’ll want an EPUB-capable device (some libraries will loan for the Kindle too, but EPUB borrowing remains more prevalent), so choose between the Kobo Glo or the Barnes & Noble Nook. Both are solid devices with good reviews, but readers outside the U.S. and UK won’t find the Nook available to them. These two readers have somewhat different form factors, too. If you do have both available to you, try them both and see which one you prefer.

(NOOK Simple Touch With GlowLight $119 at barnesandnoble.com/nook; Kobo Glo $129.99 at kobo.com/koboglo—JC


For the fan of super-small devices that are still larger than a smartphone:

The Kobo Mini

It’s so cute! This new little pocket-sized reader is inexpensive, but still feature-loaded, with an onboard store, and with the same UI as its big brother, the Kobo Glo. It’s only omission? The way-cool glow light feature. But if that’s not a deal-maker for you and all you care about is portability, you can’t beat the Mini!

($79.99 at kobo.com/kobomini) —JC


For the family that reads together:

The Kobo Mini

If you happen to be buying multiple e-readers for children and family members, the Kobo Mini is probably the way to go. It has a seductively low price point (just $79), making it a wallet-friendly choice for those buying more than one unit. And it has a back faceplate that can be swapped out, so you can get a different color option for everyone in the house. It’s also well-sized for little hands. I’ve seen a few reviews online that have specifically highlighted its kid-friendliness.

($79.99 at kobo.com/kobomini) —JC


For the magazine fiend:

Apple iPad

The iPad, with its Retina screen and larger-than-book form factor is king. You could get away with any of the branded tablets (Kobo, Amazon, Nook) if you wanted to economize, but so far the Nook and Kindle are the only brands that offer options featuring a full-sized screen, and both of them are a lot more locked down when it comes to adding your own content.

($399-$829 at apple.com/ipad—JC


For the Amazon Prime member:

Kindle Fire

Amazon has bonus content, such as streaming video, available for Prime customers for use on the Fire. It’s a great value if you already have a Prime membership, but be aware that most of this content is heavily geo-restricted. If you take your Fire on the road with you, you might not be able to access all of it while travelling.

(From $159-$174 at amazon.com/kindlefire) —JC

Amazon Kindle PaperwhiteFor the foreign-language enthusiast

Kindle Paperwhite

Most of the major brands have great custom dictionary options, but the Kindle has Google Translate as well, which is great for all those custom verb tenses. Not an American? Get a Kobo Arc instead. You can install the Kindle app from the Google Play store and get the same functionality, at a fraction of the cost of a name-brand Google tablet.

($119-$139 at amazon.com/kindle-paperwhite—JC

For the hacker who wants full control, and none of the extra fluff

Google Nexus 7 or Google Nexus 10 

While the Fire and Arc have good specs, they also have custom UIs and pre-loaded bloatware. The Nexus is straight from the mothership at Google, so when new versions of Android come out, they’ll be the first to get them.

($199-$499 at google.com/nexus—JC 


iPad miniFor the iPhone obsessive

Apple iPad mini

All your iPhone and iPad apps will work right out of the box. And it’s cheaper than its big brother, the full-size iPad. Just promise you’ll download the Kindle, Nook or Kobo app for reading—iBooks is a great piece of software, but its store has a limited selection, high prices and books that can only be read on Apple devices.

($329-$659 at apple.com/ipad—JC 


For the kids 

Zeepad 7.0

You are an aspiring tablet owner but you can’t swing the cost of one of the name-brand tablets. If you want to buy a tablet device for your kid, but don’t want to spend a fortune on something they’ll probably destroy, the Zeepad 7.0 7-inch Android tablet might be the answer. Available in black or white, it runs plain-vanilla Android 4.0 on a capacitive touchscreen, with a camera for Skype communication. It even includes screen protectors and a stylus. Make no mistake, this is no Nexus 7—it’s basically the guts of a low-end Android smartphone (sans the “phone” part) paired with a 7-inch tablet-sized screen. It’s been a little sluggish in my own experience, and the battery life is remarkably short. But for what you pay, the functionality is reasonable, and there’s no futzing around with anyone’s customized interfaces or walled gardens.

($94.99 at amazon.com) —CM 

For the friend who never leaves home without a tablet or an e-reader

Flygrip or Lazy Hands or HANDeBand

If you have a friend or family member who seems to be starting at a Kindle every time you seem them—on the bus or subway, for instance, or in the grocery store, or while walking the dog—perhaps you should consider buying them something to make that cherished device a bit easier to hold onto. The Flygrip (which we reviewed here), the LazyHands, or the HANDeBand might be just the thing. These devices stick onto the back of your device (or its case) with a strong adhesive, and they keep the device secured to your grip while you’re moving around, or doing other things with your non-device holding hand. TeleRead’s Chris Meadows uses his own Flygrip quite often, and stills find it incredibly handy. TeleRead’s Dan Eldridge is partial to the HANDeBand; he almost never reads without it.

(Flygrip $29.95 at shop.flygrip.com; Lazy Hands $7.99-$15.99 at lazy-hands.com; HANDeBand $28.95 at handeband.com.) —CM & DE 


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