Finding the Right E-Reader

There’s a lot of information about e-readers out there. We’re here to help you make a decision based on what you need as a book-lover. So here are some recommendations for the readers out there if you’re thinking about making the e-reader plunge.

For the Cheap Reader

About you: You get most of your books from the library or borrow them from friends. You can’t afford a whole bunch of new books all the time, buying a book is a special occasion.

Why you should get an e-reader: You can get library books on it. You can borrow books on most of them. You can get loads and loads of free books. And many books are cheaper on Kindle than the are in hard copy.

Your Ideal E-Reader: If you’re paying for it, stick with the $69 Basic Kindle.
It’s the cheapest option on the market. It will come with ads and it won’t have any kind of fancy accessories like a touch screen or a light, but you’re all about keeping it minimalist anyway, right?


For the Hipster

About you: You buy all your books from your local independent brick and mortar bookstore. You may even resist the idea of an e-reader because it’ll look too trendy and no one will see what book you’re reading.

Why you should get an e-reader: You can buy from your favorite Indie bookstore even if they’re closed. You can read giant epics without hauling them in your bag. And no one will know when you secretly read a trendy new romance you’re too embarrassed to admit you love.

Your Ideal E-Reader: The Kobo Mini $79 or the Kobo Glo $129 are the way to go. You can set up your Kobo account to buy books from your favorite indie bookseller (not only is our friend Powell’s there, we also found our favorite Boston shop and our favorite Austin shop so you should be covered). If you want to keep it on the down-low, the Mini is the smallest e-reader out there and not as recognizable as the Kindle or Nook. But if you’re going to want it in bed, consider the Glo.



For the Constant Reader

About You: You love books. Lots and lots of books. You must have them all the time. You keep one in your purse and several on your nightstand.

Why you should get an e-reader: Not only is it cheaper to buy e-books, it’s also a lot easier on your overstuffed bookshelves at home and your overstuffed suitcase on vacation. You don’t have to give up paper books forever, but you can cut back a little. After all, books are big and heavy. (How many boxes of books did you have last time you moved, eh?)

Your Ideal E-Reader: The Nook Simple Touch with Glow Light. Reading in bed is a must for you, as is reading in daylight. You need a reader that’ll work anywhere. This isn’t a machine to watch movies or listen to music. It’s for reading, pure and simple. It’s also completely ad-free. This one is currently marked down to $119.


For Anyone and Everyone

About You: You like books. You like a lot of variety. You like convenience.

Why you should get an e-reader: Flexibility. Period. You can’t get absolutely every book as an e-book, but there are plenty of books you can ONLY get as an e-book. There’s also an abundance of self-published books out there that are cheap and/or free.

Your Ideal E-Reader: The Kindle Paperwhite 3G ($179 with ads, but we’d go without for $199). Like others it has the light-up screen that doesn’t strain your eyes the way a television or computer screen does. It’s readable in daylight, unlike a smartphone or tablet. The 3G is the big deal here, you don’t have to have a wifi connection to make a purchase unlike all the other e-readers. You can be at the park and buy a book. You can be at the airport and buy a book. Plus the Amazon bookstore has a huge and easy-to-navigate Kindle Store and always has their Top 100 Paid as well as their Top 100 Free Kindle Books listed.


For the Tech-Lover

About You: You want a tablet, but you don’t want an iPad. You’d like to stream video, listen to music and use apps.

Why you should get an e-reader: There are a lot of tablets out there, but the Nook HD and Kindle Fires have all the books in addition to being great tablets.

Your Ideal E-Reader: Take your pick. You’d rather check out the specs yourself, right? You’ve got 2 versions of the Nook HD starting at $199 and 3 versions of the Kindle Fire, starting at $159.


If you still can’t decide, you can get your hands on Nooks at Barnes & Noble or Target, while Kindles and Kobos are available at several retailers, including Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Staples and more. Hold it in your hand, take it for a spin and see how you like it.

Red Letter Gifts: Book Accessories

Sometimes the last thing a reader needs is more books. So you may find more success with some of these great accessories.

Bookends are great for the reader who’s running out of shelf space and is putting books on the floor or on top of boxes. But they’re also great for someone who just wants to add a little bit of decor or whimsy to their shelf.

We love these Pushing Rabbits Bookends that make it clear that holding up books isn’t always an easy job. These rabbits are really putting their backs into it.

You can find bookends in just about any shape or size, we recommend searching Amazon where you’ll find the standard along with the whimsical as well as a variety of price points.


And for that reader without shelf space, consider this awesome floating bookshelf. Useful and a great icebreaker.

What’s its secret? It grips the inside cover of one large book and then the others just stack nicely on top. No one can see the mounting behind your books.

And for only $12.95 you may be able to get a few and give yourself a neat office makeover.


iconTote bags are the new way to wear your philosophy on your… well, not exactly your sleeve. Barnes & Noble has our favorite book-related totes, including this awesome old-school tote with the Penguin logo and a frank statement of truth: “I’d rather be reading.”

Wouldn’t we all?

Use it for library books or groceries, this tote is perfect for any activity.

Or if you’re looking for a bag just to carry books, check out this B&N Book Bag.


iconAnother big problem readers face? Loaning out their books and never getting them back. Make sure everyone knows who a book belongs to with a set of bookplates.

We like this set of Antiquarian Bookplates that have the look of another age and a variety of styles.

You may also want to consider a book stamp, like this Ex Libris set.

Every time your friend opens a borrowed book they’ll get a lovely reminder that this piece of literature has a loving home waiting for it.


What are you aching for this year? Any gift recommendations?

Red Letter Gifts:
Our Favorite Subscriptions

Some of the best gifts are the ones that keep giving all year long. Here are some of our favorites for the reader in your life.


From Powell’s, $39.95 per installment.

Visit Scenic Powells.comMust love: modern fiction, surprises, supporting small businesses, all things hip and new.

Every 6 weeks Powell’s puts together a box for their Indiespensable program. These aren’t just gift boxes, they’re carefully thought out packages that contain more than just books. You’ll find beautiful editions, signed copies, books that follow some kind of theme. One recent Indiespensable box contained a signed first edition complete with special features including an author Q&A, a chapbook with essays from a not-yet-published nonfiction book on music and a Hohner harmonica.

Audible Gift Membership

1 FREE Audiobook RISK-FREE from Audible
From Audible, $45 for 3 months, $90 for 6 months, $150 for 12 months.

For the reader who: lives in the car, lives in the gym, lives with their headphones on.

Here at Red Letter Reads, we’ve been the fortunate recipient of a 3-month gift membership to Audible. And it’s better than ever. Now checking out audiobooks on cd from the library is so 20th century. You can now play your audiobooks on your smartphone. It’s a big game changer. We’ve been known to turn on a book through the Auxiliary hookup in the car, while we’re out and about, or just while we’re cleaning the kitchen. And the book credits you get through your membership are good for any book, big or small. Their library is pretty fantastic, great if you have a picky reader on your hands. Also great for teens.

The New York Review of Books

From Amazon, $3.49 per month for Kindle edition, $74.95 for 12 months of print edition

If your recipient is: serious, smartest guy in the room, loves essays, a consumer of books and current events.

If you know someone who thinks The New Yorker is just so juvenile with all those cartoons, hook them up with the New York Review of Books. If you’re only going to read one literary magazine, this is the one to get. This isn’t a magazine you can finish while you get a pedicure. Full of deep and thoughtful essays and reviews, this is a great gift for the year. Just be ready for the knowledge smackdown that’s headed your way from your super-informed gift recipient.


Black Friday Deals for Readers

We’ll be posting gift guides for the next few weeks along with our reviews and hope to show you some interesting finds for the readers in your life. (Or for yourself.)

But to start things off we’re going to let you know about a few Black Friday deals so you’re ready to snag them.

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble will have their Nook Simple Touch on sale.

Barnes & Noble

The Simple Touch is small, has great battery power, a touch screen and is ad-free. If you don’t have the cash for an HD, color or light-screen reader, you may want to snag one of these babies. Sure, it’s basic, but the price is right. Note, this is an IN-STORE ONLY deal.

If you’re looking at another model of Nook, if you shop on Cyber Monday, you can get get a free $20BN Gift Card when you buy a select NOOK®! Online only, while supplies last.

For non-Nook deals, you can save 30% on one item with coupon code T9P3E3W from now until Sunday. You can get a $10 egift card if you buy $75 worth of gift cards until 12/2.


Powell’s Visit

Indie bookseller Powell’s has taken over the Kobo, formerly available from Border’s. They’re offering the Kobo Mini for $49 on Friday and Saturday. At just 4″ by 5″, this is a great compact option if you want something you can slip into the pocket of your bag. This will be available online.



Amazon has deals all week, which I suspect is their way to keep us constantly coming back every time they post a new one. Check out their book deals which include sales on their books of the year. (Including Gone Girl and The End of Your Life Book Club, which we reviewed.) There’s also several mysteries and thrillers marked down to under $5.

No Kindle deals listed yet, but we’ll keep you posted.