If you’re a bookworm, then you’re probably familiar with the struggle of toting books around or packing armfuls of novels for your next trip. The problem? It can take a toll — on your back and your wallet. Fortunately, e-readers, like Amazon’s Kindle Cloud Reader, offer a way for you to keep your favorite books close by without much hassle. Here, we’re determining the best e-reader of 2022 by looking at the top devices — and apps — on the market.
What Is an E-reader?
Put simply, an e-reader is a handheld device that allows you to read electronic versions of books, newspapers, comics, magazines and more. Essentially, e-readers — and their virtual libraries — allow us to tap into the digitized versions of our favorite written works — not unlike the Spotify of the publishing world.
When they first came onto the scene, e-readers were criticized for signaling the end of print media and physical books. Of course, that hasn’t been the case. Instead, e-readers provide an easy, accessible way of accessing thousands of novels and audiobooks.
With the holidays approaching, you might want to look into e-reader, either for yourself or the bookworm in your life. So, let’s delve into the best e-readers and apps that provide an alternative to lugging around traditional books.
Best E-readers of 2022: Amazon E-readers
In a way, Kindle is like the Kleenex of e-readers. Even though it’s the name of a particular product, it feels synonymous with the concept as a whole. Amazon’s sleek device has been making waves since 2007, namely for the rather novel idea of featuring a screen that looks like a page and supposedly emulates the experience of reading ink on paper.
The latest Kindle Paperwhite, which retails between $139–189 depending on the storage size you want (8 GB vs. 32 GB), offers a nice 6.8” display and an adjustable warm light. That amber-colored light makes reading at night more enjoyable, and minimizes the amount of blue light you’re exposed to before bed.
Generally, Amazon offers a few tiers when it comes to Kindle devices. Like streaming platforms or music subscription services, there’s an ad-supported and ad-free version; Kindle Unlimited might be worth it if you’re a voracious reader as it provides access to over 2 million books and thousands of audiobooks.
Similar to the most recent Paperwhite, the Kindle Oasis is a top-of-the-line e-reader that comes with a higher price tag. This waterproof, go-anywhere model also features that adjustable warm light, but the big difference is that Amazon touts the Oasis as their “best-ever 300 ppi Paperwhite display”.
The 7” screen does look great, in part because it harnesses the latest e-ink technology, making for a more natural reading experience — a.k.a. less eye strain.
The ergonomic design also boasts page-turn buttons, allowing you to read one-handed. In addition to that massive virtual library of books, the Oasis, like most Amazon devices, works with Audible, allowing you to listen to audiobooks with ease. As we mentioned, the price-tag here is higher, ranging from $249–299 depending upon storage capacity (again, 8 GB vs. 32 GB) and ad-supported vs. ad-free options.
Kindle Kids (and the Newly Announced Entry-Level Kindle)
Starting Tuesday, September 13, 2022, Amazon opened up pre-orders for its latest Kindle devices. The entry-level Kindle, which boasts a better screen and USB-C charging, comes in at just $99, making it a great e-reader for folks on a budget — or for students looking for a more affordable way to lighten their backpack loads.
The main draw here is that the text will look sharper; say goodbye to that slight blurriness! According to CNBC, “The sharpness is now on a par with Amazon’s more expensive Kindle Paperwhite.” Plus, this entry-level edition has double the storage capacity — 16 GB instead of 8GB — of previous low-end models.
Additionally, Amazon announced a new Kindle Kids model. Without a doubt, an e-reader could be a great way to get kids and younger students invested in reading, all while lightening the physical load of books they’ve got to tote around. Plus, it’s a dedicated e-reader, not a smartphone or tablet, so that puts the focus on books rather than apps. Featuring similar upgrades — a more universal charging system, sharper text, more storage — the latest Kindle Kids model is also available for preorder now.
Amazon Fire Tablet
While the original Kindle e-reader didn’t aim to compete with tablets or laptops, Amazon Fire entered the fray as a competitor to Apple’s iPad. It offers many of the same features as the Kindle models, including access to a virtual library and bookshop where you can buy, store, and read millions of books and audiobooks.
However, Amazon Fire is categorized as a “color” e-reader; the colorized screen is more what you’re used to in the way of other tech, and it doesn’t harness the black-and-white Paperwhite and e-ink tech associated with Kindles.
While this means you can use a Fire tablet for streaming movies, TV and music, as well as checking your email and using a variety of other apps, it also means it’s without the adjustable amber light and other features that might make screen-reading easier on the eyes.
Still, with its internet browser, email and document access, you can move between reading, surfing the web and getting things done all on one device. So, if you enjoy reading but aren’t a bookworm, the added functionality of the Amazon Fire might give it an edge over the Kindle Paperwhite and Oasis models.
Depending on what features you want most — namely, screen and storage size — the various Amazon Fire models run the price gamut, costing you anywhere from $59–199.
What Is Kindle Cloud Reader?
Kindle Cloud Reader vs. Kindle Paperwhite, Explained
Want to have the perks of a Kindle without actually purchasing a Kindle Paperwhite or Amazon Fire tablet? This web-based version, the Kindle Cloud Reader, provides access to Amazon’s impressive library without the need for a physical e-reader.
Instead of downloading content to a Kindle device, you can access books from your browser of choice — just head to read.amazon.com — or via Amazon’s free app. However, you’ll still need an Amazon account to access the content library, but having a Prime membership isn’t required.
The Kindle Cloud Reader allows you to read both online and offline, meaning you can download and store up to 50 MB of content to enjoy for when you don’t have a WiFi connection. Taking cues from the physical Kindle, the Kindle Cloud Reader allows you to alter the text’s font, color and size and adjust the background. Not to mention, you can scrawl virtual notes and add highlights to portions of texts you want to recall more easily.
Plus, if you’ve purchased Kindle books with your Amazon account, they’ll appear in Kindle Cloud Reader. The convenience of the virtual cloud, ease of accessibility and the wide range of content on offer make the Kindle Cloud Reader a popular choice.
Other Top E-readers of 2022
Kobo Libra H20
This simplistic e-reader is highly praised for its lightweight body, ergonomic design and long battery life. But the Kobo Libra H20 also provides access to a wide catalog of both free and purchasable materials. Plus, the device can last for weeks on a single charge.
Unlike many other e-readers, Kobo models feature page-turning buttons, nixing the need for touchscreen engagement, which some readers may prefer. Though it’s a small detail, it can improve the ease of use — you can read one-handed, for example — and help you stay focused on the page.
The Kobo Libra H20 also comes with ComfortLight PRO, allowing you to easily view your device in both sunlight and darkness. Fully waterproof, this e-reader is great for on-the-go, poolside and bath-time reading. So, if you’re looking for a solid yet straightforward e-reader, the Kobo Libra H20, which retails for around $179 (with some variance), should be at the top of your list.
Nook Glowlight 4
A competitor with Kindle since 2009, Nook was created by Barnes & Noble, but if you haven’t heard much about the product in awhile that’s for good reason. Nook’s creators took a multi-year break from releasing new models to improve the design of the e-reader.
In 2021, the Nook came back stronger than ever; the Nook Glowlight 4 improves the device in quite a few ways, with the e-reader boasting an impressive 50-day battery life. But that’s not all. The Glowlight 4 is WiFi-enabled, which means it has access to 30,000 hotspots across the country — including Barnes & Noble in-store WiFi.
Through the virtual bookstore, you’ll be able to peruse more than 3 million titles. Much like Kindle, Nook also offers a downloadable app, which means you don’t need a Nook device to buy content from the virtual store.
The downside? The Nook Glowlight 4 still isn’t waterproof, making it less resilient than the Kindle Oasis, Paperwhite and Kobo Libra H20. On the other hand, the latest Nook does offer a unique feature: the ability to upload and save PDFs and non-traditional e-book formats. This is an excellent add-on for those who may want to store journal articles, work forms, or other non-book content, which makes it great for college and grad students.