The e-reader may not be sending the printed book the way of the mimeograph or the pager anytime soon. But these devices, like the Amazon Kindle, are more than holding their own. For travelers especially, the ability to carry hours’ and hours’ worth of page-turners on a slim, lightweight device instead of having to carry thousands of space-sucking, paper pages is immeasurable. However, when it comes to choosing the best e-reader, few people realize there are more options than just the Amazon kindle, with several well-reviewed and popular e-reader Kindle alternatives available. Read on to discover them for yourself.
While Amazon’s Kindle has certainly established itself as the device to beat, there are a few Kindle alternatives out there that can match the features, convenience and even beat the price of the tech giant’s famous e-readers. Kobo, as well as Barnes & Noble and BOOX, provide some of the best e-reader Kindle alternatives which will not only please classic bookworms but also satisfy the new generation of audio bookworms as well. A few even have tablet-like utilities that provide extra incentive to look beyond Kindle.
Don’t get us wrong, Kindle’s are great — it is safe to call them the industry standard when it comes to e-readers, especially the newest models like the Kindle Paperwhite. The device’s 6.8-inch screen takes it easy on the ol’ eyeballs thanks to a glare-free facade that looks like you are reading text from an actual book without the bulk of a real book. In fact, you can essentially carry an entire library of your favorite reads inside the slim e-reader with either 8GB or 32GB of storage. And if audiobooks are more your thing, you can connect to the Paperwhite via Bluetooth.
How to Choose the Best e-Reader for You
While relatively simple in terms of their functionality, the best e-readers are made up of a number of elements, like the screen, the battery life and the overall design, which are worth considering when choosing the right device for your individual needs. Here are some of the major points to consider:
- Battery Life – In general, e-reader battery life kicks the butt of smartphones, tablets, laptops and other media devices. We’re not talking hours or days, we’re talking up to weeks of use in between charging. However, it’s always worth checking the stated battery life, especially if you intend to be somewhere where power may be harder to come across or are simply reliably forgetful.
- Storage Capacity – Put simply, the greater the storage capacity of your chosen device, the more eBooks, magazines, newspapers, periodicals and other compatible file types it can hold. If you genuinely like the idea of carrying around a complete library in your device, look for options with higher internal storage, such as 32GB and 64GB devices.
- Screen Size – The options on our list range from six to 10.3 inches. The screen size to suit your needs best will depend on what you intend to read and how you like to do it. For most people, general eBooks are more than comfortable on a compact, six-inch screen. However, for users looking to read larger page documents, like newspapers or PDFs, a larger screen may feel more comfortable and natural. This may also be true for readers with poorer eyesight, as you can increase the font size, the margins and still have plenty of lines visible on the page.
- Screen Quality – From the ability to change the brightness and temperature to the capability to deal with glare in bright light, checking the quality of your potential e-reader’s screen is worth your time. Given that the whole point of your device is for comfortable reading, make sure your screen is suited to when and how you like reading. If you’re a night reader, ensure the screen is backlit. Love reading outside by the pool? Make anti-glaring (and waterproofing) a priority.
- Connectivity – Modern connectivity to e-reader devices usually covers three bases, direct physical connectivity and wireless options in the form of Bluetooth and WiFi. As file sizes aren’t really comparable to playing video, connectivity speed is rarely something to make or break an e-reader’s success. However, when browsing for your new read or if you read regularly released publications like newspapers, connectivity may be something worth prioritizing.
- Weight – The weight of an e-reader is often tied to its size. In general, if you’re looking at larger screen models they are going to weigh more than more compact options. However, another benefit that is true for the majority of e-readers over smartphones, tablets and other handheld entertainment devices is their lightweight feel.
We’ve put together a selection of the best non-Amazon e-readers to give the Kindle a run for its money. Options range from generalist devices to options better suited for reading larger documents or being accidentally dropped into the pool. Read on to find the best e-reader for you.
Like we said, Kindles are fantastic, but they aren’t the only e-readers available nor are they always in stock. For those times when you can’t find a Kindle for sale, or if it’s just a bit out of your price range, below are a few of the best Kindle alternatives that will make you question whether a Kindle is the best e-reader for you.
Read More: Best Kindle Accessories
1. Kobo Clara HD 6
The Kobo Clara HD 6 gives the Paperwhite Kindle a run for its money. The six-inch screen takes it easy on your eyes with a front-lit display that reduces harmful blue light. So, if you like to read before bed, it’ll help prevent you from feeling restless when it’s time to sleep. The display is also a touchscreen so you can turn pages like a real book with the swipe of a finger. The battery life is long — we’re talking weeks — and it’s compatible with basically all digital book formats. Plus, the $120 price tag isn’t bad, either.
2. Kobo Nia
At under $100, the Kobo Nia is a budget-friendly way to take an eBook library with you wherever you go. This compact Kindle alternative sports a six-inch touchscreen and includes 8 GB of internal storage, making it capable of carrying up to 6,000 eBooks. The responsive screen also boasts ComfortLight technology for reading in the dark along with a glare-free covering for comfortable reading in bright light, too. Additionally, the user-friendly interface makes it easy to customize the margins, fonts and other viewing elements to maximize your viewing experience.
3. Kindle Kids
BEST FOR KIDS
Yes, we may be dealing with the best Kindle alternatives, but when it comes to getting kids into reading, the Kindle Kids is always worth a mention. Designed with kids in mind, this comprehensive Kindle kit is made up of a 10th generation Kindle with a year of Amazon Kids+, a cover made specifically for kids (multiple colors and designs are available) and a two-year, worry-free guarantee. The included Kindle is purpose-built to encourage reading in kids by offering a comfortable, glare-free reading experience that is free from other distractions in the form of ads, games and videos. To get kids started, the Amazon Kids+ subscription comes complete with the Harry Potter series. What better way is there to get kids into reading?
4. PocketBook Touch HD 3
The PocketBook Touch HD 3 is another compact device that is ideal for users looking for a device to fit comfortably into jacket pockets, backpacks and other everyday clothing items. The e-reader features a six-inch, multi-sensor touchscreen for high-contrast visuals for a comfortable reading experience. It also includes SMARTlight technology which lets you set your brightness where it is best for you. The copper-colored, Bluetooth-enabled device is also IPX7 waterproof rated, allowing it to withstand immersion in three feet of freshwater for up to 30 minutes. Other notable elements include a glare-free screen, the ability to play six different audio file formats and a battery that offers over a month of active reading before requiring a recharge.
5. Scribd – Audiobooks & eBooks
If you already own a smartphone (who doesn’t?) or a tablet device, it’s possible to turn it into a functioning e-reader with the addition of the right app. Scribd – Audiobooks & eBooks is an app-based, monthly subscription service that delivers access to millions of eBooks, audiobooks, magazines and podcasts. There’s more to be enjoyed, too, with access to even more documents like case studies, study guides and academic dissertations. If converting your phone or tablet sounds like the right choice for you, the subscription starts at $9.99 a month and can be canceled at any time.
6. Kobo Aura
If you find that the Kindle Paperwhite is sold out, consider the Kobo Aura. It’s a little bit older, and unfortunately, a little more expensive. But it is a solid e-reader with many of the same attributes of the Clara HD 6 including a sharp-looking 300 PPI screen and 8GB of RAM. The 7.6-inch screen is bigger than the Clara, plus it’s waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about a splash ruining your vacation. If you like a bigger display and the peace of mind of a waterproof e-reader, the Kobo Auro is a good Kindle alternative.
Read More: Best Tablets for Reading
7. Kobo Libra H20
BEST VIEWING ANGLES
The advantage of going with the Kobo Libra H20 is the ability to enjoy what you read both vertically (portrait) and horizontally (landscape). The page-turn buttons are conveniently placed and make it easy to quickly turn the pages regardless of how you hold the device. You can manually adjust the color temperature of the seven-inch display to best suit your eye comfort, but the ComfortLight Pro screen does automatically adjust the brightness and temperature of the screen as the day goes on. Plus, it’s waterproof for those who enjoy a book by the pool or on the beach.
8. Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight Plus
BEST BUILT-IN SPEAKER
It may not have the fancy touchscreen capabilities like the Nova 3, but bookworms will certainly appreciate the large 7.8-inch display, lengthy weeks-long battery life and the ability to adjust the color temperature of the display. This includes a night mode that takes it easy on your eyes for night-time readers. Or if you prefer to read outside, or on vacation, the GlowLight Plus is waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about a little water ruining your e-reader. And if you prefer audiobooks, you can play those through the built-in speaker or connect the Nook to your favorite wireless earbuds.
9. Likebook P78 E-Reader
The Likebook P78 E-Reader is a 2021 release that is more than capable of fulfilling the average user’s eBook reading needs. It includes 32GB of internal memory for storing plenty of books and a 7.8-inch, 300PPI E-ink screen for clear and comfortable reading. In addition to this, you can choose between cold and warm light settings, depending on what suits your visual preferences best. You’ll also find the device boasts impressive, ultra-low power consumption which can deliver up to 60 days standby time or two weeks when being used more regularly. Furthermore, this user-friendly device includes a built-in speaker for listening to audiobooks or other compatible sound files.
10. Kobo Forma
For those who like a big display whether to increase the text size or to see more words on the page, you will appreciate the large and glare-free 8.0-inch display on the Kobo Forma. Like the Libra H20, you can hold it both in a portrait or landscape orientation and the ergonomic design along with page-turn buttons make using this Kindle alternative comfortable either way. And like other Libra and Clara models, the ComfortLight Pro display automatically adjusts the color temperature and brightness throughout the day to reduce the strain on your eyes. And with Dropbox support, you can quickly add books and documents to the e-reader from your computer and Dropbox account. Additionally, the device’s IPX8 rating allows it to stay in up to two meters of water for 60 minutes, ideal for accident-prone poolside readers.
11. Likebook E-Reader P10
BEST FOR NEWSPAPER READERS
With its large, 10-inch E-ink Carta Touchscreen and 1200 by 1600 HD resolution, the Likebook E-Reader P10 is a great option for users most interested in viewing either newspaper and PDF documents, in addition to traditional eBooks. You’ll also find a supplied electromagnetic pen that can be used in conjunction with the device’s side note function to make taking notes while reading a convenient task. Handily, there’s an impressively wide range of reading sources available which can be transferred to your device through USB, Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity, depending on your preference. Plus, the 2GB of RAM and 64GB of internal memory deliver high-speed performance and ensure you’ve got enough room for all your favorite reads.
12. ReMarkable 2
BEST FOR VIEWING DOCUMENTS
The ReMarkable 2 tablet is, well, remarkable in a lot of different ways. From being able to take notes on virtually any PDF to turning your handwritten notes into text, you can really do a lot with this impressive tablet. But, in a pinch, it can also serve as an e-reader. Keep in mind, it’s better suited for note-taking and work-related tasks, but it is compatible with both PDF and ePUB formats, so you can in fact get books on the ReMarkable 2 tablet. If you’re looking for just an e-reader, you’ll want to look elsewhere, but if you want to maximize all the utility of the ReMarkable 2 tablet, and have the ability to read a book here and there, this is an excellent option.
13. Kobo Elipsa
Released in mid-2021, the Kobo Elipsa is the newest of Kobo’s highly competitive e-reading devices. This advanced device sports an expansive, 10.3-inch touchscreen with ComfortLight built-in, delivering a comprehensive and comfortable display for users. In terms of versatility, the 32GB device lets you put paper to one side and take notes, view PDFs as well as reading all of your favorite eBooks. In addition, combining the device with the Kobo Stylus and Kobo Elipsa SleepCover creates a more user-friendly experience and one in which it’s possible to write and convert notes into clean, typed text with the option to export.
14. BOOX Nova 3
What sets the BOOX Nova 3 apart from other Kindle alternatives is the pressure-sensitive touchscreen and the included stylus. Yep, not only can you read your favorite books on the large 7.8-inch display, but you can also mark up, take notes and write on virtually anything on the display. This can be a total game-changer for college students who want to save money on buying physical textbooks from semester to semester. Speaking of game-changers, the front-lit display emits less blue light than backlit displays, so if you’re a night reader, your eyes and sleep patterns won’t suffer.