By Rik Fairlie
December 17, 2012
A French Vutotal sits in Paris, circa 1950. Early sports cars were boxy adaptations of touring cars. They would become curvier, better balanced, and generally better designed.
Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Ready to go from paper to pixels? Now you just need to find the right e-reader or tablet for you — or the bibliophiles on your gift list.

Here, three worthy of your favorite tome.


I’d try one — if it’s not too expensive

Kindle. 6.5″ x 4.5″ x 0.34″; $69

What you get. Like all the e-readers on our list here, the Kindle has built-in Wi-Fi and puts Amazon’s massive catalogue at your fingertips. (Amazon Prime members can borrow a free book a month.)

This six-ounce device is the lightest reader out there, but its bargain price doesn’t include many advanced features; users turn pages using a button rather than a touchscreen. It also displays ads as screensavers, though they can be disabled for $20.

I’m a big reader, and I want the very best device.

Kindle Paperwhite 3G. 6.7″ x 4.6″ x 0.36″; $199 ($179 for the ad-supported version)

What you get. The Paperwhite, launched this fall, has a crisp six-inch display and a built-in light that illuminates the screen evenly, letting you read on when your partner is snoring away next to you.

At 7.8 ounces, the touchscreen reader is on the heftier side but offers cool features like free 3G connectivity, so you don’t need a Wi-Fi network to download the latest release. (If you pass on 3G, the Wi-Fi version costs $119 to $139.)

I want a touchscreen at a reasonable price.

Nook Simple Touch. 6.5″ x 5″ x 0.47″; $99

What you get. This 7.5-ounce e-reader is the cheapest touchscreen offered by the big makers, letting you swipe through “pages” with your finger, tap words for a definition, and share passages with friends on Facebook or Twitter.

Nook users can download books and magazines from and, using the microSD card slot, add up to 32 gigabytes of storage — enough for a lifetime of reading.


They have more features, but if you’re looking for a device that’s mostly for reading, weigh these factors.

Screen type. E-readers have black-and-white “e-ink” screens, designed to minimize glare and eye fatigue. The color LCD screens on tablets may be better for books or magazines with lots of images but are tough to see in direct sunlight and can be hard on eyes that already spend all day peering at a computer.

Price tag. Typically e-readers are the more affordable option, starting around $69, compared with $159 for the most basic Kindle Fire. (Of course, tablets also let you surf the web and watch movies.)

Don’t forget that buying cases and other accessories will run up the tab for both.

Battery power. LCD screens consume much more battery power, so tablets tend to tap out after 10 hours of use or less.

A dedicated e-reader, on the other hand, can go a month or more on a single charge — and that includes models with backlit screens.

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