Do Most People Prefer Basic eBook Readers to Premium eReaders?


It’s interesting how there seems to be way more positive vibes about the new Nook Glowlight 3 than the previous model, the Nook Glowlight Plus.

On paper (and in pictures) the Glowlight Plus clearly looks like it’s the superior device.

It has a higher-end design with a flush glass screen and aluminium back.

It has a futuristic sensor button below the screen instead of an old fashioned real button. It has a more common capacitive touchscreen instead of an older infrared touchscreen. Oh, and it’s waterproof.

All that for only $10 more than the new Nook. I used to think it was the lower price that made entry-level ebook readers more popular, but that’s not the case with the Nook.

Could it be that people simply don’t want or need all that from ereader? Could it be that basic is better?

I will confess that I like the Nook Glowlight 3 better than the Glowlight Plus. It’s more comfortable to hold, the soft texture provides better grip and isn’t cold and slick like aluminum, and I’ve always been a big advocate of page buttons on ebook readers.

I also don’t mind indented screens and larger bezels. Flush screens and narrow bezels look nice but the combination makes it harder to hold comfortably without accidentally brushing the screen and inadvertently turning the page or activating highlights.

I bet if Amazon released a new lighter Kindle Paperwhite 4 with page buttons and an adjustable frontlight it would be a lot more popular than the new Kindle Oasis too.

Keeping things simple isn’t always a bad thing. Just give me page buttons, a comfortable-to-hold design, and a nice frontlit E Ink screen. That and good software is all it takes.

What about you? Do you like premium or basic ebook readers better?

24 Responses to “Do Most People Prefer Basic eBook Readers to Premium eReaders?”

  1. In this specific example of the Glowlight Plus compared to the Glowlight 3 I prefer the Plus except for one software problem. On the plus I would frequently be taken back to the home screen while reading. A very disruptive experience. I would have to be sure to disable the WiFi to keep that from happening.
    Comparing the Paperwhite to the Voyage I prefer the Voyage. I don’t like the recessed screen and bezels on the Paperwhite or the feel of the screen.
    I guess I do prefer the luxury ereader.

  2. I like a sharp screen, a great frontlight with adjustable temperature, page buttons, a large screen, adjustable fonts (adjustable boldness!), adjustable margins,… If there is a basic ereader with all this options, I’m in for it 🙂

  3. I like my readers to be dark gray or black. The white color may work well for Apple products, but not for Barnes and Noble’s products. Also, the previous model had an SD card slot and the Glowlight did not.

    Appearance may have something to do with it.

  4. I think I would have been happier with a Paperwhite 4, then the new Oasis.

    As for Nooks, I had zero interest in the Glowlight or Glowlight Plus, but jumped right on the Glowlight 3. White bezels look terrible next to an E-ink screen. Love that they brought back the wide black bezels and buttons!

  5. Basic, please.
    1)I don’t need waterproof.
    2)Lights. As battery replacement for an e-reader is more problematic and more expensive than replacing a light bulb, I tend to read at night with the light on. I do sometimes revert to the battery light of an e-reader, especially if I am going to read for a short time.
    3) Covers. Plastic is fine, though my judgment is that Amazon has superior covers. Kobo- fingerprints have to be cleaned off very often. B&N plastic cover, as in the Simple Touch cover- can get grungy over time.
    4) Fonts are very important for me. Bold, please. I like being able to add a font to a Kobo. I returned the Glowlight Plus because its fonts were all thinner than the Helvetica Nue, which was my default font for the Simple Touch. Now I prefer fonts thicker than even the Helvetica Nue, which is why I hardly ever use the Simple Touch these days.

    5) PDF software. I can always use a Kindle DX, which is great for PDFs. Kobo- fuhgeddaboutit.B&N Simple Touch- pretty good, but 6″ screen is killer.

  6. Agree that a new lighter Kindle Paperwhite 4 with:
    * page buttons
    * adjustable front light
    * soft texture
    is preferable. I tried the Oasis 2 and did not like the cold metal back. Also, it just wasn’t comfortable to hold because the flush screen just made the edges sharp.

  7. I agree with you, it might look ugly beside those slick white readers with the flush bezels, but the rubbery wide bezel with buttons works for a comfortable grip, and it’s what you end noticing while reading.

  8. Comfort light is nice to have and I absolutely love it On my Aura one. I think the design is very important because comfort is a definite priority when reading for long periods of time, something that Amazon failed at with the new Oasis.
    More importantly though is the beauty of INFRARED screen, which would be amazing on a new Paperwhite instead of Capacitive.

  9. Interestingly enough I was just in a B&N today looking at the Glowlight 3 since I’m in the market since my original Simple Touch is getting long in the tooth.

    To put it bluntly if you like the Simple Touch I think you’ll really enjoy this device. The screen size is almost exactly the same but with higher DPI. It is only slightly larger physically in width and height, but dramatically thinner. The ability to hold the device along the edge and utilize the physical buttons is GREAT.

    With all that said I’m seriously considering one of these versus a Kobo Aura One. It is significantly cheaper and the Kobo has several features that aren’t really that important to me. Pocket integration? No thanks.

    Just need to find out if the Glowlight 3 will read CBR/CBZ files or not, which I KNOW the Kobo does.

  10. While it does not have everything, this Nook may work out for B&N and for its customers. What stands out for me is that unlike Amazon and Kobo, their latest eReader is not over $200.

  11. Ok so I just went out to B&N and purchased the new Glowlight 3. First impressions is that I really like the design. I didn’t think i’d like the larger bezels but it allows for a very nice firm hold. The materials are nice and smooth. I prefer the rubber texture a million times versus the cold slick feel of the new Oasis. The lighting is VERY good and can say with 100% certainty that the infrared screen is far superior to the capacitive touch screens currently plaguing the latest eReaders. Page turn buttons are nice although they do click loudly. Love the comfort light.
    I do have a few questions though.

    1. Where is the page refresh option? I find that although the text is dark, it’s somewhat blurry. I know this can be fixed by adjusting the refresh page option but it’s nowhere to be found. Any idea?
    2. Calibre is not detecting my Glowlight 3
    3. You can’t adjust darkness on side-loaded or embedded fonts which is a huge bummer and perhaps a deal breaker.
    4. the UI is slow and lags in comparison to Kindle.
    5. The margin options are terrible. Either way too much to the edges or not enough.

    Those are first impressions, but my biggest question is where is the refresh page options in settings?

    • I don’t recall the Nooks ever having a refresh setting, and you need to update Calibre to the latest version.

    • Hey Rick can you do some experimentation to find out what file formats are supported? I really loved the feel of the Glowlight 3, but I’m desperate for a reader that supports CBZ/CBR files.

      I will agree the UI seemed really laggy on the in store device I was playing with. Also agree with you on the margin options as well.

      One other thing I just realized I missed from the Simple Touch is the “Publisher Defaults” option for the font. I regularly change to the publisher default font and then adjust the line spacing and margins to my liking. Was disappointed to see this gone.

  12. The Kindle PaperWhite provides everything I need in an ereader, light weight, backlight and touch screen. A better backlight would be nice but I’m not willing to pay more for it.

  13. I like the Nook Simple Touch when it first came out. Easy to hold on to and functional. I don’t need it waterproof, I don’t need all the bells and whistles that some have; I just need it to read from.
    Think of it as a car… you have some with all the bling and shininess, goes 150MPH in 60secs with instruments galore … and then you have a a transportation car that gets you to point A to point B without any hassle.

  14. “… if Amazon released a new lighter Kindle Paperwhite 4 with page buttons and an adjustable frontlight it would” — be named the Kindle Voyage.

  15. Premium here, as I prefer a larger screen. I like flush screen as it’s easier to clean and I don’t need or want page buttons. Pressing a button over and over just causes me pain.

    I do love the comfort light pro and 7.8″ screen on my Kobo Aura ONE. It’s just such a lovely reading experience!

    I’m interested in the Kindle Oasis 2, but not sure I’d like a cover that might want to pop off. And not sure it would be as easy to hold.

    The Nook tempts me not at all. Have no need for a smaller screen.

  16. I have a Kindle Voyage and I like it a lot. I also have a Paperwhite and I like it almost as much. I’ve been debating for a couple of years whether the Voyage was worth the extra money. If I could only keep one it would be the Voyage. If I lost both of them and had to get a new one it would be a tough choice. I’d be happy enough with either of them.


  17. I prefer basic readers for one simple reason: they don’t have light. That feature is awesome, but on many devices you simply cannot turn it off. I am wondering what is so difficult about adding a button that completely disables the light.

    Other than that, I love very crisp letters and bigger screens.

  18. I just need a simple e-reader. The technology has not advanced that much since 2012 for me to justify spending over one hundred dollars, in fact it seems manufacturers have cut more options than they added over the years. I didn’t want to go with the kindle but in the end I bought a minty kindle 3 keyboard and have been perfectly happy. Only cost me $22 dollars.