Reading on a tablet for 5 hours hurts your eyes.

And cramming 10 books into your suitcase for a holiday means no room for a beach towel.

Maybe it's time for an ereader.

Woman sitting on overflowing suitcase, trying to close it, saying

Before you rush to the store, create a wishlist of ereader features that are important to you.

Price

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Expect to pay between $100 and $150 for a good ereader.

Paying less may mean a lower quality screen with fewer features. Paying more may get you additional features, like a cellular-data connection to download books when you don't have access to wi-fi.

Battery Life

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Are you planning to read on long camping trips or in other places without electricity? Consider the battery life of any ereader before buying it.

A good ereader may not need to be recharged for weeks if you only read an hour a day with your wireless and Bluetooth off.

Ebook Selection

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Free ebooks from the library!

Many libraries will let you "check out" ebooks to your ereader, free! Research which ereaders provide easy access to library books if this is important to you.

Check with your library to find out which ereaders it recommends.

Online ebook stores

Different brands of ereaders have access to different online stores with unique selections of books.

Browse the online stores for any ereaders you're considering to make sure they offer the kinds of books you want to buy.

Quiz

Lena is considering bringing her ereader on a three-week visit to Manhattan. She wants to buy new ebooks during that time. What should she worry about?

Where she can charge the ereader

Where she can connect to wi-fi

Compatibility with wi-fi in Manhattan

None of these

Supported Formats

Different ereaders support different file formats, including EPUB, PDF, TXT, HTML, and more.

Are any formats "must-haves" for you?

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  • EPUB is a common format for public-domain and other freely available ebooks. If you want to read EPUB files, will your ereader support them?

  • Maybe you want to read PDFs on your ereader. How easy will this be?

  • Finally, if you already own an ereader, will you be able to transfer the ebooks from its library to your new device to read them? Does it matter?

Quiz

Nila owns an ereader with a library of 200 well-loved ebooks. She's buying a new ereader. What's the most important thing for her to consider if she wants to read her old ebooks on the new ereader?

The storage capacity of the new ereader

The screen resolution of the new ereader

The formats supported by the new ereader

The battery life of the new ereader

Personal Comfort

Try a few different ereaders before buying one. How comfortable is each one to use?

Interface and controls: Do you like using buttons, a touchscreen, or a combination?

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Size and weight: What size is small enough for you to hold comfortably but large enough to read without eye strain? Manyereader screens are 6 inches, which makes them easy to hold and easy to carry.

Additional features: Do you want a waterproof device for reading on the beach or in the bath? How about the ability to listen to audiobooks with Bluetooth?

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This Byte has been authored by

CB

Carolyn Black

Freelance writer and editor for education