A few years ago the landscape of dedicating reading devices was fairly bleak, especially in the Kindle-dominated United States.
Amazon just kept re-releasing the same 6-inch Kindles over and over again. Kobo was also stuck on the same general design for many generations before releasing the Kobo Forma.
There was very few large ebook readers to choose from at all.
Confidence in Barnes and Noble and Nooks was at an all-time low (some may argue that’s still the case but B&N releasing the 7.8-inch Nook Glowlight Plus last year was a popular move with Nook fans).
Things still aren’t great in terms of choices when it comes to dedicated reading devices in 2020, but the last few years have at least brought in some new options.
People have been wishing for another large Kindle since the Kindle DX was discontinued, and while Amazon still refuses to budge on that regard, at least they finally did release a Kindle with a screen larger than 6-inches.
It took longer than it should have, but Amazon also finally listened to customers about adding a warm frontlight to Kindles with the Kindle Oasis 3.
Kobo finally changed up their repetitive button-less designs with the release of the Kobo Forma and Kobo Libra. Now they offer three different sizes of reading devices (four if you count the Kobo Aura One, which they still sell in the US).
It wasn’t long ago when large ereaders were on the verge of becoming extinct. Then Sony released their 13.3-inch Digital Paper devices, and while they were super expensive at first and only available in Japan initially, they helped resurrect large reading devices.
After that other companies like Onyx starting releasing 13.3-inch ereaders of their own, and then soon more less expensive 10.3-inch models started showing up. There are also more options for Android-based ereaders than before between Onyx and Boyue.
There still aren’t a lot of choices for E Ink devices in the US, mostly thanks to Amazon’s dominance, but there are more options than there were a few years ago.
What do you think? Are you satisfied with the current choice of ebook readers in 2020?
Ben Longman says
My biggest issue with ereaders in the us is that they’re linked to a specific store. I’d love one that could talk to amazon, kobo, nook, google, apple, and baen without having to go the route of a an e-ink android device with apps that just doesn’t work terribly well with an e-ink screen.
I guess, what I really want is the Roku of e-ink readers.
Kobo e-readers are not just limited to Kobo store. Anywhere you can get an epub or PDF or just about any format, a Kobo e-reader can use. If you download Calibre you can change just about any ebook format to what you need.
Gordon Windridge says
No. I am severely sight impaired and whilst the kindle e reader is a great help in that I can set the text larger, the result is a page with fewer words. Larger hardware is greatly desirable to avoid far too frequent page turning.
I’m satisfied with my current (big) ereader (with front light); Looking at other/newer ereaders became a spectator sport for me 🙂 .
J.C which ereader do you use? says
I’m having a terrible time finding one I can see (terrible eyes) so would really love to know.
Thank You, Susan Kay
I’m currently using the onyx boox note pro, I find with enough zoom I can even read a bit before sleep with no glasses.
I have been pretty happy with various Kobos since I bought my first one about ten years ago. I haven’t bought a new one since my last Aura one but the trend I don’t like is making it more “connected”. I like to have 20 or so books on it at a time and I change my reading list fairly regularly with Calibre. I hate that kobo has made it so the whole list of things in your online history is sitting there in your library, whether you downloaded them or not and you have to set it up with their desktop app and can’t keep it simple. I know a lot of people like to have thousands of books on their device and use it on WiFi but I don’t.
Maybe being from the older generation accounts for my antipathy towards constantly changing tech.
Steve H. says
I seem to be one of the few that like one sided devices with buttons. Looking forward to a larger Oasis type Kindle with better controls of margin, line spacing and font size.
I would like other manufacturers to include library indexing of books…Nathan, do you know if Onyx, Pocketbook, Boyue etc. index?? This is really helpful when you have a huge library.
Closest form factor for me is the Kobo Forma…with Oasis screen quality.
Would like to see color emerge this year but the Corona virus might slow these efforts.
Not really. What I want is a 6″ screen, a flush bezel, page-turn buttons/sensors, and Android — along the lines of the Onyx Kepler series (or on the hardware side, the Kindle Voyage). Onyx has stopped developing the Kindle series for sale directly (although their Russo-American distributors still sell it as the Monte Cristo series — I currently have an MC4).
Except for the fact that Kobo won’t let it work with Dropbox, I’m quite happy with my 7.8″ Kobo Aura One. The screen size is OK, and the device is no larger than it needs to be (unlike its replacement).
As the battery in my Nook Glowlight 3 recently died, after only a year and a half, I am not content w the state of batteries. The battery in my 5-year old Kindle is still going.
Sportbike Mike says
Yes. Between my Kindle Oasis 3 and Good Nova Pro i have all bases covered and I am content finally.
I would like a 10 ” front lit, hight contrast ereader. The problem with what’s out there now is some many layers are now being added for such things a writing that reading quality suffers.
Very satisfied with my Kindle Paperwhite 8th ed though I’m still looking for a devise that might easily manage colors (!) and PDF I mean with no conversion process.
No. Things have been stagnant for a long time. Sony had the best e-readers especially their last version, PRS T3, which wasn’t even officially released in the US.
It was (still is) the most comfortable and versatile e reader from a major company IMHO.
The browser was decent (better than anything at the time and still better than any Kindle to this day) and it also had physical buttons that were easy to use with your finger or with the included stylus. The buttons were designed to be pushed with the stylus. Great engineering and design! The Oasis doesn’t even come close in comfort or usability.
If only Sony stuck in and included a backlight there would definitely have been more innovation in the e-reader market.
I could never understand why many reviewers were so harsh on Sony ereaders. The closed system of Amazon might make things easier to use for most people but hardware-wise the Kindle was and still is pretty blah.
No matter how integrated their software is…it’s just not exciting to read on.
Agreed. Doesn’t feel like a lot has changed since I had my Sony PRS-T[X] except better connectivity and fewer refreshes. Not anything worth new money.
I am not satisfied either! E-readers are geared to avid and dedicated readers. I feel, especially Amazon, have totally ignored what people truly want in their e-reader device. Why has it taken so long to get comfort light? That should be standard on all. Also, organization is a big thing for most readers! I set up a collection for books read each year to track my progress. However, I would love to see statistics available similar to Kobo. For example, time spent reading, how many books read, your speed, etc. Call me crazy, but I enjoy knowing these things and being able to see this boosts me to read more!! To keep improving. E-readers are not tablets!! So keeping that in mind, your truly sold out dedicated readers want the ultimate book experience!!! And I wish there was a way to have a “note book” not in the book but similar to a collection, that you can name and keep as a reference to your own personal thoughts and notes of many books (sort of like a diary). That way I can click on the “diary” and scroll through to see my thoughts on all books read instead of clicking on each book separately! I think all companies have fallen short of this. Kobo does seem to try, but I am so invested in Amazon it makes it hard to change.
I second that. I still use my Sony with Calibre but it’s looking very loved and may not last much longer… I just hope something halfway decent comes along in time.
I still have all my sony e Readers. But my PRS T2 is my favourite. I keep watch on Ebay in case one pops up, and have got several for friends & family this way. They are the best. Sony should not have tried to compete with Amazon re: the bookshop side of things and just concentrated on the eReader & making it the best, which I still think it is.
Yes!! I love my Kobo Forma I think it’s perfect! If there is one thing I want to see in future Kobos, that would be audiobook support and wireless bluetooth connectivity. If not wireless, I dont mind wireless type-C port for both earphone and charging port.
Klaus Yde says
No. I have just got the new Oasis, but are not impressed. Would wish for a Voyage with 7″ and the same firmware as Oasis.
I have a Samsung Galaxy but it has so much Google and Samsung preloaded that I’m constantly getting notices that I don’t have space. I use Nook, Google Play and Overdrive. I try to save as much as I can on the SD card but still ..
Yes. Happy with both my kobo aura h2o 2nd edition and my 10″ likebook mimas. Though the mimas software could be improved, it still does it’s job.
I have the Kindle Voyage, and I am happy with the way it is.
I still have my Kindle e-reader the 5th generation. The battery, and everything, still works. I love my Kindles!
I want something as slim and light as the Oasis but I want it to be open(open source would be amazing but I would settle for simply not being locked into a single store/file format) It shouldn’t be legal to tie devices and content the way they are now.
And I also want USB c. I’m tied of having to keep a few micro USB chargers around for the sole purpose of charging my ereader.
abdul haleem says
I own a onyx note 2 and I’m very happy with it but I hate waiting for a color eink reader that has really fast refresh rate.
My ideal device:
– flush 7″ screen
– page turn buttons in the bottom bezel
June Proctor says
I love my Kindle Paperwhite but would really like it to show my books in colour.
I’d like some colour as well, though I have an old Kobo Glo. It just keeps going year after year. I do like the Kobo thing where when you turn the power off, the screen image left is the front cover of the book I’m reading. Like a book I’ve just put down.
Just a matter of time with the recent development of colour e-ink.
Definirions and book description text still waaaay too small and I can’t get my own book on my paperwhite. Otherwise, LOVE my 10 year old Kindle.
I kinda miss my first kindle it had buttons on each side which were forward n back so I could go to the next page whichever hand I was using.
I’m used to my paper books not changing too much, maybe the same goes for my e-readers, at the end of the day the important thing is the content. I would love that in any ePub you could zoom in on the images, rotate the screen and put it in negative (night mode), all without having to do a “jail-break” or buy the books in specific bookstores. But this would only be a software change, the readers themselves are quite good.
Nancy Hester says
They’re too delicate they keep making them so you have to replace the the e reader. I don’t care about bigger screens what I do care about its durability. If I buy it I expected to last more than 2 years. I am now on my fourth Kindel. Most of them I have broken is because of the plugin to the USB cable. Only one has been broken and that’s because my dog sat on it my 40 lb dog. No wonder they make money they make them so cheap that a 40-lb dog can ruin one. I need one that’s tougher and stronger.
Kimberly O. says
I also would like to see the buttons return on each side, kind of like the Voyage only “real” buttons. I’m happy with the screen resolution and battery life of my Voyage and Paperwhite 3. BTW, my PW3 was the first ever Kindle with a perfect screen with the first device. (I’m pretty amazed at this as I’m a picky person.)
I recently traded in my Oasis 2 because the battery life was dwindling, although it did still hold a charge but only for a few days and I only read maybe 10 minutes at night only.
A KOPONEN says
I have a really old Kindle which is ok, but not great. I often read on my phone with the Kindle app. I also have the Kindke app on my iPad and my Surface. What I wish each had was the ability to search for a particular book. If that option is in my apps, I can’t find it. My old Kindle doesn’t allow updates or downloading anymore. So now if I want content I have to hook up to my computer.
I still prefer paper though. It is so much easier to mark up. I also prefer the tactile experience.
I bought my kindle several years ago. The only problem I have is that the ink has started to fade on buttons I use the most. Some are impossible to read.
I just want a Kobo Clara HD with USB Type-C connector.
Jamison E.Painter says
I am not really sure. I have the Kindle Paperwhite (I think 8th Edition) and the Nook SimpleTouch that I got in 2011. Yes, the battery on that keeps chugging along. I am convinced that that device is completely indestructible. I like both the Paperwhite and the Nook, but wish I had ONE device that would access multiple stores. Of course, Kindles read MOBI files, while Kobos and Nooks read EPUB files, so I am not sure how that would work. But it would be nice to see.
George S. says
Hardware-wise, almost. My perfect eReader is the Kobo Libra of it had USB-C. That’s all I need.
Software-wise, not at all. In addition to the store issues Ben Longman brought up above, there’s also a huge problem of not being able to sync notes and reading progress easily in a platform-agnostic way across devices.
Kobo does it if you buy from their store, but when them it’s buggy, and there’s still no way to sync for books not bought through Kobo.
An eReader that can sync progress and notes to apps on other devices regardless of where I got the book works be perfect.
I like the newest Kindle Oasis and the newest NOOK light glow with the larger screen. The only thing I would like is to be able to listen to a audio book and read the same book at the same time on one devise. I have to listen to the audio book on my iPhone while reading the book on the Kindle or NOOK at the present time…..
Ashleigh Mitchell says
I’ve owned several Nooks, from the original version through the the Nook 7″. I’ll never buy another Nook branded tablet again, the simply don’t last long enough. The last one doesn’t come with sufficient memory to do an update to the bare bone installation.
My Kindle Fire 5 is going strong, no real issues other than Amazon’s propensity for duplicating devices for each of its functions (Audible, books, etc. shouldn’t register as different devices.)
My primary complaint with the software is that there isn’t a simple way of switching what book you are reading. I frequently have anywhere from 1-5 that I have open at any given time for various reasons, and switching between them is a pain. A multi tab reader would be fabulous.
Susan Kay says
I had a Kindle DX & loved it but they cut it off from buying all books.
I have terrible eyes & it worked great. So I bought all the New Kindles could not see any of them. No matter what font. If I enlarged the font I maybe got two words per page.
Ordered a Boox but it was all in Japanese so contacted the company the only person who knew anything about helping me was on an extended vacation. Sent it back! Now I have nothing! A real inconvenience.
Considering that there’d been only one ebook reader that had clear enough screen to read with comfort (Voyage) and it’s been phased out the industry is way below my expectations.
I would really like to see an updated version of the Kobo Mini with a light. Seeing all of the used Minis for sale makes me think that there is a large market for a new 5 inch reader at a reasonable price.
Jude Faulkner says
I’m over the moon with my Pocket Book ereader. Page buttons on the bottom as well as a touch screen make it easy to read with any hand in loads of positions. I use Calibre to convert books to lots of different formats anyway so easy to load up as well. Because I have an old Kindle I can download and convert Amazon books as well. The Pocketbook has lots of other features as well like games. Best ereader Ive bought to date.
No! I would love a colour version and I also want page turn buttons back. I much prefer pushing the button to tapping the screen. It was a much more comfortable way of holding and using the reader. Also I agree they shouldn’t be locked to a particular site. Maybe it should be the primary purchase site but the option should be there for other sites too!
Fergus Duniho says
We don’t have the perfect ereader yet. In chosing an ereader, it is still a matter of deciding which features you want most and which you can do without. Ideally, Android ereading apps would have all the same features as dedicated devices, they would work well on e-ink, none would be missing important features, and they would work bug-free on existing devices. Short of that, it would be nice to have some larger Kindle sizes with flat backs. Also, I eventually want comic book size ereaders with color e-ink.
I have a kobo clara hd.i love it.i had a nook 1st edition before this.but would love a ebook reader from kobo with
Minimum 300 ppi
Carmen Webster Buxton says
I have had a Kindle 1, a Kindle 3, a Kindle Touch, a Paperwhite, a Voyage and now the newest Oasis. I love my Oasis for the form including the real buttons. Amazon has added a lot of Kindle features over the years but the one I like most, the X-Ray feature, requires publishers to do some setup work and since they seem to want ebooks to fail, they mostly don’t bother with it. I make sure it’s added for all the books I have published.
It seems like most companies are swaying towards flush screens which I’m not a big fan of. Also I wish they could boost up the PPI. Although 300 is good, I can’t help feeing sad when I read on my iPad and then switch back to my Oasis. There is a huge difference in sharpness and clarity. Aside from hardware, there needs to be major boosts and a total overhaul in software for kindles in my opinion. Amazon desperately needs to fix there font sizes and margina as they are the worst in the industry.
Love my Onyx Boox Nova Pro. Used to have a Paperwhite but the Onyx is superior: larger screen, warm reading light, access to any online store, note taking, annotations on many formats. All for a very reasonable price. Options like this were either too expensive or unavailable a couple of years ago.
Not satisfied. they cant play PDF well. nowadays majority of books are in pdf.
E-Readers are outdated.
I am very happy with my Glowlight Plus. Very clean text and excellent response from the touch screen My Glowlight3 is also doing an excellent job. Clear text and good response on the touch screen. My Kobo ClaraHD works well but the touch screen is very erratic and can be annoying at times. The front light is not as even as either of my Nook Readers.
John Snow says
My dream e-ink device:
– 2 month battery life
– 8 inch screen
– able to buy books from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other sources
Why is this impossible to get??
1. Price. How is it possible that an e-reader can cost more than a laptop or a smartphone? 200-300$ for an e-reader? Just why
2. Screen size. 10 year later 6 inch is still the standard. Today typical smartphones are bigger than that! And we are supposed to read hours off a 6inch display. Why not increased? Some models shy around 7-8 inch with a huge price tag 300-500$. Just why?
3. Bezel. Wtf are those huge bezels? Like its not 2010 anymore.
4. Laggy processor and hardware.
I haven’t use Kindle because it is not available in my country. I have Kobo Aura.
The hardware is enough for me, if I want some large screen there are options.
My problem is the software support. Kobo’s epub 3, font and Arabic support is problematic.
I am trying to learn Arabic as third language and the Arabic e-books are not working correctly on Kobo. Google Play Books Android app works perfectly in this regard.
Leonardo Martínez says
I don’t understand why the readers go a step back with the size of screens, now days where the e-ink technology keeps growing and developing, even with colours screens, I think that we need more options to substitute physical paper with something really satisfactory, not just resolution and anti glow screens but size.
Interesting that the focus is on going bigger. I still love my Kobo Mini though it’s showing its age. Would love one with a light.
I have been a satisfied customer since 2012, but not at the moment as I am unable to resolve the problem of not being able to purchase any books!!
I am satisfied with my Kindle Oasis. Inverting black / whites + adjustable light temperature are real nice perks. PDF browsing is alright. Web browsing is getting more hellish by the year, sadly. I’d love larger screens to become more mainstream, and I’m looking forward to seeing colorful e-ink, too. The market of sending bits of text to kindle is not proper mature. There’s “Push to Kindle” and the native “Send to Kindle”, but paywalls are now a thing, hence text-extraction-on-device must catch up. I’m really surprised newspapers still offer their issues on Kindle — sometimes, I purchase ones and I don’t regret it at all.
I would like a colorful e-ink to see photography books
Johann Cat says
I think the Oasis is solid and the best of the current lot, but the snail’s pace of innovation among Android-based eReaders baffles me. An Onyx 8.1 I have using 2013 (came out 2015, but as is typical, it used older software etc.) tech is *still* the best I have tried. The stagnation of the Android eReader seems almost legislated. It should be possible now to make an eReader with Kindle-like battery life and many qualities of a color tablet.
I’m quite happy with my current e-reader, it’s one of the first Kobo e-readers that were on the market I believe. Slow as hell sometimes but still going strong. Lately I’ve been looking at new e-readers and was just astonished by the ‘lack’ of growth in my eyes. The newest Kobo Forma still has only 512mb ram and is working on the same processor as the Aura ONE. If you compare it to other areas in technology (I know, not as profitable) like for instance tablets or smartphones it’s amazing how stagnant it has been in the world of e-readers.
I want to buy a new e-reader but I’m wondering if it’s the right time now. I would love a Kobo Forma but I don’t want to buy it and then see them come out with the Forma 2 a couple of weeks later with the newest processor.
Will Kobo release the Forma 2 anytime soon?
It’s a possibility later in the year but nobody outside Kobo really knows, and it would most likely have the same processor and RAM as the 1st version anyway. On the downside innovation is stagnant, but on the plus side ereaders age well.
My 11-year-old son has Auditory Processing Disorder. I am searching for an e-reader device or e-reader app for a tablet that will automatically highlight the words or sentences (he doesn’t have to select the words/sentences himself) of a book as it reads (text-to-speech) to him. Any suggestions?
Onyx’s ereaders have text-to-speech with their built-in app that highlights as it reads aloud. It highlights sentences or anything between punctuation, but the app doesn’t support ebooks with DRM so you have to remove that first. Amazon has a feature called Immersion Reading that highlights the text as the audiobook is read aloud. It works best for that kind of thing but the only downside is it requires having both the ebook and audiobook for it to work.
Thank you so much Nathan! This information is a HUGE help for me. Thank you….thank you….thank you!
John deri says
Which eBook is recommended for a principiante ,who doesn’t know nothing about eReaders
Probably a Kindle but it depends…
I still use my Sony PRS T2. Love it as it reads just about every format apart from mobI.
So I guess my ideal reader would be just like the Sony but with the ability to read Kindle/mobi also.
I’ve heard about Calibre am thinking about getting it but would be interested in getting feedback from real users before forking out the £40 for it.
Kevin Herbery says
No. Just bought my first ereader after using iPads for six years. The ereader is the Nook Glowlight Plus
Love it but the quandary is all of my library is Kindle
I don’t cate about the height but I really care about the width of the screen. So far the Glowlight is meeting that aspect. Why are these vendors so resistant.
Tomorrow Apple may release a iPad Mini 6. Will take a serious look if the screen is larger