Wondering which Kindle eBook reader to buy?

by Brian on December 12, 2012

I’m often asked as the Kindle Expert ‘Which Kindle should I buy?’

Feb.1, 2013 Update – I wanted to post an update on the what I wrote back in December-2012:

I mentioned that text-to-speech is really one of my favorite features of the Kindle. iBooks doesn’t have it. And several different Kindle models don’t either, so here’s what you need to know if that feature is as important to you as it is to me:

Text-to-Speech is available on:

Text-to-Speech is not available on:

Note: You can download the Amazon Accessibility Plugin to enable text-to-speech on the PC Kindle App.

The original post follows below

It’s that time of year again (this also happened last Christmas) – when the #1 question I get is: “Which eBook reader should I buy?”

These days, it’s really down to the Kindle Fire or iPad.  I do realize BN nook has a new device out as well, but honestly I don’t see them competing long term in the eBook space.  Perhaps Microsoft will change that, but for now, it’s a two horse race.

I feel the key advantage of Kindle over the iPad is that there is a much larger catalog of books available – and Kindle books tend to cost the least $.  Additionally, through Amazon Prime, members get access to thousands of titles they can borrow for free (1/month).

However – Apple iBooks (iPad & iPad mini) is superior for reading eBooks. It’s a more elegant reader, more natural (as if you are actually reading a book in print), and the ability to add notes and highlight text is far easier to use.  The big disadvantage of the iBooks reader is no text-to-speech – but sadly Amazon removed that feature on the Kindle Fire as well.

Currently, I feel the iPad/iPad mini is a superior device when it comes to reading eBooks – as I feel they are ahead of Amazon in the software aspect.

But the higher cost of the iPad is a barrier to entry for many, and the vast array of content for the Kindle makes it a more valuable investment from an eReader perspective.

So if I had to choose between a Kindle Fire or an iPad Mini ($329) – I would choose the Kindle Fire for the reasons above.  **The big game changer in my mind is that Amazon has a 4G data package that you can add for only $49/year **(only available on the the top end $499 Kindle Fire).

Amazon will continue to improve the Kindle Reader software, so I think that while Apple does have an advantage with the iBooks software, they won’t have the advantage forever.

Hope that helps in your decision to purchase your next eReader!  

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Matt December 13, 2012 at 7:13 am

Brian,

Great info! However, I have to disagree on a couple things. First, I must admit I’m an Apple lover. I have the phone and iPad 2. The nice thing about iPad is the iBooks are on a much better platform than any other device on the market. I can easily add notes, highlight, bookmark, look up a definition, etc. – and all with a simple touch. No crazy menus to go through or trying to figure out how how the device works….. its as simple as reading a book and touching a word or series of words to complete one of those actions. And by the way, iBooks actually look like a real book. You get to flick the pages like a book – that’s a huge plus for me!

Since Kindle is the largest competitor to iBooks, why not just get the iPad (Becuase its better than Kindle Fire) and download the free kindle app!?? Then you can read Kindle books if you want and also read iBooks! You get a two for one on the book situation and you’re also purchasing a much superior device. If the only thing someone wants to do is read books, then I still think iPad because you have access to both stores for books.

So if someone were to buy me a book reader for Christmas, Santa better bring the real deal and not some Kindle Fire that is a toss in the bucket product when compared to the iPad 🙂

Hope this helps some of you.

brian December 25, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Matt,

I agree that the iBook Reader for the iPad is a far more elegant eReader. The bonus as you point out you can get iBooks and the Kindle reader on the iPad, but you can’t get iBooks on a Kindle device. I also appreciate that the combination of dropbox plus iBooks makes reading ePub files a most pleasurable experience.

But the bottom line is that software will always function better on a device created by the software manufacturer. It’s probably why Apple hasn’t released iBooks on any other platform (not even the for mac)!

Evidence of this is how slick the Amazon Cloud Music player runs on the Kindle fire as compared to the very clunky Amazon Cloud Music app for the iPhone (which you can also run on the iPad).

I think a huge part of it as you elude to is that you have to pick a company that you plan to stick with. And while Apple has a very loyal fan base, I personally am not a believer… so my recommendation is no doubt as biased as anyone else’s.

One thing I would point readers to is hundreds of free Kindle books on Amazon (they just don’t make it very simple to get to).

Here’s the magic link to a boatload of free books you can get on your Kindle.

From there, you can browse any category you want and find hundreds of excellent Kindle books for free! (you can click on any category that piques your interest).

Lastly – I don’t think an eReader should cost $499. Which is why the iPad mini is a great play for Apple to get more of the eBook marketplace. And if you want to do a lot of other things other than read eBooks, no doubt the iPad is hard to beat.

Happy Holidays,
Brian

Matt January 18, 2013 at 9:50 am

Brian,

I can’t argue with anything you responded with :/ . I spoke with you on the phone today about self-publishing, and I want to say thanks for your advice! I will be looking more into this approach rather than having another company do this for me.

All the best,
Matt

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