The best ebook readers to carry around while you travel

The 10 Best Ebook Readers To Carry Around While You Travel.

The e-book reader market is dominated by the biggest bookstore in the US, namely Amazon.

However, stiff competition is chasing their tails with readers from Barns and Noble and Kobo (an anagram of Book) offering niche market specifications.

A frequent question I get, and also a question I had before getting my Kindle was…

Why not a tablet?

Well. Tablets don’t read or feel like a real book.

All basic ebook readers now use monochrome, E Ink screens to display text. E Ink looks a lot like paper, and it’s easy on your eyes when you want to indulge in long reading marathons. On the least expensive models, the screen is not backlit, so you’ll need light to see the text, just as you would with a printed book. But the E Ink technology is much easier to read in bright sunlight, where the glossier color touch screens on tablets fade and show reflections or glare.

E-readers also tend to have note taking facilities as standard and so make studying multiple texts easier, lighter and less cumbersome.

Extra Note:  If you like to read in the bath, by the pool, or on the beach you might want to consider buying a waterproof ebook reader.


Nearly all e-readers are now connected to the internet, whether through Wi-Fi or cellular data. Most devices offer Wi-Fi as the basic wireless connection, with 3G cellular data only available as part of a more expensive model.

Every ebook reader you buy will store more than 1,000 books, with some offering room for thousands more. Major vendors also offer cloud storage, letting you download books to your device whenever you need them.

So yeah… it’s literally…

…A Portable Library!

 But, for many people, it may come down to the book selection available for each reader as every vendor offers a slightly different file format.

For example, Google offers over a million free books in the popular, open ePub format, which many public libraries now use for lending books. However, Kindles don’t support ePub. Amazon launched its own public library lending tie-in, but this differs on a branch-to-branch basis. Amazon also has the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which lets you borrow a book a month from a selection of over one million titles, but only if you pay $99 a year for the Amazon Prime service.

Also, the ebook stores themselves aren’t all the same. Book selection, size, and pricing vary from store to store. You might want to spend a little time browsing ebook stores before you commit to a device.

You can access Amazon’s, Barnes & Noble’s, and Kobo’s ebook stores online to see which carries most of the books, magazines, and newspapers you want to read.

The Almighty Amazon: Luxury and High Specs

Amazon Kindle Oasis

 Amazon’s Kindle Oasis doesn’t come cheap but it is definitely one of the best ebook readers on the market. If you’re already into e-reading and fancy an upgrade then this is what you’ll want. Weighing just 194g, it’s lighter and thinner than the Kindle Paperwhite, it comes with up to 32GB of storage, and cleaner, crisper lighting on a 7-inch touchscreen. Not only that, but the newest edition of the Oasis has Audible integration, Bluetooth connectivity and is waterproof up to two meters.

Admittedly, it is an expensive device but it is the most luxurious ebook reader available. It has 12 built-in LED lights for clear glare-free reading, an ambient light sensor, and page turn buttons if you prefer that to use the touchscreen. Battery life is roughly the same as an Amazon Voyage (now discontinued) or Paperwhite. Three models are available, with the most expensive featuring 3G connectivity and more storage.

Who is it for? For the high-flying, speed-reading adventurer who wants to read every book in the world and is damned well prepared to try. Also for the clumsy; if you drop in it the hot tub or the pool, it’ll keep right on going.

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite

 The all-new 2018 Kindle Paperwhite is the fourth iteration of the Paperwhite range, and it’s seen some major improvements. IPX8 waterproofing, double the storage capacity, and Audible audiobook integration is its new headline features, but the design has also been totally overhauled too.

Though it’s only a mid-range Amazon device, it offers far more than the standard Kindle – which doesn’t even have a backlight – and is certainly worth the additional $. In fact, it’s almost up to the standard of the 2017 Kindle Oasis and much cheaper.

Who is it for? The city breaker. Got a room in a decent hotel with good wifi? Need to take a long flight or train journey to get there? Moving around a lot and don’t want to fuss with paperbacks? This E-reader is your new best travel companion.

Amazon 8th Generation Kindle

The classic. The standard. The Amazon Kindle remains a stalwart of the ebook reader market and an excellent choice for anybody buying their very first ebook reader. The Kindle has been upgraded time and time again since its initial launch back in November 2007 with better memory, longer battery life, and now it has a touchscreen as well.

The low price means you have to compromise. There’s no LED lighting, so you’ll need to rely on external light sources to read in the dark and with 4GB of storage, it has half the capacity of the newer Kindles.

Who is it for? The casual travelers who want the cheapest trip possible and don’t particularly care for the frills. Take it on your year out, ski season or camping trip — just don’t forget a torch.

King Kobo: A Multitude of File Formats

 Kobo Forma

The Forma is Kobo’s highest spec and most expensive e-reader.

The comparison point, given the quality of the specs and design, should be the Kindle Oasis rather than the bog-standard Kindles. The Forma is almost square: a roughly book-shaped 8-inch screen, with a nice chunky grip, grafted onto one side.

You can hold the device with the grip on left or right and it will auto-rotate, and swap the function of the buttons, to compensate. It seems to be standard among even quite premium e-readers, the materials do not imply luxury — they suggest the device won’t break if you drop it, which is actually quite reassuring.

We love the lightness of the Forma, which is 30g lighter than the Aura One despite having a slightly larger screen, and roughly the same weight as the current Kindle Oasis which has only a 7-inch screen.

It’s easy to hold in one hand and the Forma retains the IPX8 water resistance of the Aura. The Forma’s crowning glory is its mono E Ink 8-inch display, which is bigger than that of any current Kindle (the standard and Paperwhite models are 6-inch, while the Oasis is a 7-inch) and even fractionally bigger than the iPad mini 4. It’s sharp, too, at 1440 × 1920 and 300ppi, although 300ppi is now standard among premium and even mid-market e-readers.

Who is it for? The globetrotting business person who wants to consume lots of different types of media — which the larger screen is great for — including newspapers and magazines, informative books and even comics as well as standard literature.

Kobo Aura One

This Kobo book reader is of good value, has front lighting and an ambient light sensor, and is also waterproof, to up to two meters of water for 60 minutes.

Its display has the same resolution as the Oasis. It’s stunning, sharp and easy on the eyes… and it even has a blue light filter, especially helpful for improving sleep if you’re a late-night reader.

Then we got the drawbacks: it smudges easily, feels cheaper than the flagship Kindle ebook readers, it’s heavier than any Kindle at 230g, it’s way thicker, and with a larger screen of 7.8-inches it can be difficult to wield in one hand. One final drawback is the limited storage. Without a microSD slot, you have no choice but to make do with the limited 8GB capacity.

Who is it for? For the folks who like relaxing getaways: Spa dwellers, cozy lakeside B&B-ers, or anyone traveling with extra baggage allowance. With the added weight comes the size, so this e-reader is for anyone who likes to read in bed or the bath. Or someone who will appreciate the added words per page.  Also, those who want no restrictions when it comes to their choice of ebooks — The Kobo Aura One supports a huge range of file types, so you can read pretty much anything from anywhere.

Kobo Clara

This is Kobo’s slightly cheaper answer to the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. Key features include built-in lighting for reading in dark or dim conditions and a dedicated button for switching off the light entirely to help you save battery life.

Pound for pound, though, it matches the Paperwhite’s screen and storage specifications and it also has more customization options.

Users can change the way books look on screen in many more ways than on a Kindle. As with all Kobos, the interface isn’t quite as slick and the store isn’t as good as Amazon’s, but you do get the chance to buy and borrow from multiple sources.

Who is it great for? The off-the-beaten-track traveler or student on a semester abroad. Or anyone who wants an indie bookstore experience with the freedom to buy their digital books and magazines from anywhere rather than being locked into Amazon.

Brilliant Barnes and Noble: All in for tablet functionality

 The Nook Glowlight 3

 Measuring roughly 7 x 5 inches and weighing 190g, the Nook GlowLight 3’s size and heft are similar to that of the Kindle Paperwhite. The similarities continue, though. With its grippy soft-touch backplate and rounded edges, the GlowLight 3 is just as comfortable to hold during marathon reading sessions.

Both devices offer a 6-inch, 300-dpi anti-glare display and 8GB of physical storage. And like the Kobo Aura One, it offers orange backlight for late night readers. But unlike some of the e-readers we’ve reviewed here, the GlowLight 3 isn’t waterproof.

The Nook Book Store trails far behind what’s on offer to users of Kobo or Amazon. While there was no shortage of bestsellers and popular periodicals, GlowLight 3 users have less access to older and more obscure titles that can be had in the Kindle or Kobo online stores.

Who is it great for? If you’re one to pursue sunny destinations with a backpack, take breaks between swims to catch up on the latest summer read. Tan, read, swim, repeat.

The Nook Tablet 10.1

You won’t buy the Nook 10.1 for its technical prowess.

You’ll buy it to read books. It comes with instant access to Barnes & Noble’s library of ebooks, including a large section for kids, plus magazine and newspaper subscriptions. The tablet runs Android and comes with Google Play, ready to install as many other apps as you want.

The tablet’s body has a soft-touch finish to make it comfortable to hold, and a keyboard dock is available in case you want to bash out a book of your own. The tablet has 32GB of storage space as well as front and rear cameras, a headphone jack, Bluetooth, and pogo pins that can connect the tablet to a charging dock.

Who is it for? I’d say freelancers on the move who don’t like too much luggage and need a lightweight book to take on their short travels. Why work in an office block and live in an expensive city when you can move to Bali for half the price and still earn the same?

You Can Go Rogue, Too!

Fire HD 8 Kids Edition Tablet

 This tablet features a color display, protective case, and supports contents besides books such as movies or educational apps. It has extensive parental controls and is intended for the early readers. Reading picture or comic books on this will be a breeze, and the bright colors are persistent throughout illustrated early chapter books or web content. Sure, you or your child can do so on an iPad, but you could be doing it on an anti-glare paper mimicking screen that helps the environment by reducing the number of paperbacks printed.

Who is it great for? People traveling with small children in tow, or those who have limited storage space for kids books but still want to encourage reading in their young-uns.

An App for your Smart Phone!

 In this digital age, ebook reader apps are of great quality and exist in abundance.

Now you can simply read your favorite book on your smartphone or tablet by downloading apps on your Android device.

Several of the eBook apps even provide hundreds of free books. With these apps, you can quickly search for a book of your choice and start reading them right away. You no longer have to visit physical stores to buy books or buy a Kindle for that matter.

Here are just some of the ebook reader apps for Android: Amazon Kindle, Aldiko Books, Cool Reader, FBReader, Moon+ Reader, Nook, Bluefire Reader, Mantano Reader, Wattpad, and Kobo.

Well, who are apps great for? The spontaneous traveler — a person ready to hop on a flight at a moments notice, a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants-no-time-to-grab-an-extra-device type of traveler who wants to see the world without restriction.

And this begs the question… what kind of traveler are you? Do you own an ebook reader? If so, what is your favorite one? I own an 8th Generation Kindle… you know, like the cheap bastard-o I am, aha. But hey, I love my Kindle.

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