Alternative E-Readers

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Alternative E-Readers

Kobo Glo HD
The Kobo Glo HD. Kobo

UPDATE: A lot has changed in the E Ink reader landscape since this article was first written. Where once there were a plethora of E Ink devices to choose from, you now only have, well, Amazon's Kindle line clearly ahead of the pack as competitors have either downscaled their E Ink reader offerings or left the market altogether (​cough, Sony, cough). Despite the changes, there are still a few stragglers left that are providing alternatives to Amazon's e-reader juggernaut. These include offerings from Kobo as well as Barnes & Noble's latest Nook reader. A few of these even throw in waterproof capabilities for worry-free reading by the pool or at the beach. For our updated list, make sure to check out our latest feature, "Double Take: Alternative E-Readers to Amazon's Kindle." ​


When it comes to e-readers, it seems that we're always talking about the big three players: Amazon, Sony and Barnes and Noble, with Kobo and Apple (even though its iPad is a multipurpose tablet, not a standalone e-reader) usually lumped into the big leagues.

In all, that's four, maybe five manufacturers, offering a dozen or so devices that dominate the e-reader market. What if you want to support one of the smaller e-reader manufacturers, the companies that offer an alternative product? These may not have the marketing muscle of the big guys, but their products might offer an advantage: cheaper cost, a different form factor, expandability, file compatibility or just the ability to read e-books without being part of the herd. What other options are there?

We don't have the space to list them all, but there is a second tier of e-readers available online and through retailers such as Best Buy or Dell. A few of the more popular options are listed here.

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Aluratek Libre E-Book Reader Pro

Display: 5-inch ePaper LCD (not backlit)

Battery Life: 24 hours continuous use, 2 weeks standby

Storage: SD Card slot (up to 32GB cards)

Connectivity: USB

Size: 4.25" x 6" x 3.75" and 7.5 oz in weight

File Compatibility: PDF, TXT, FB2, EPUB, MOBI (non DRM only), PRC (non DRM only), RTF (plus graphic files and MP3)

Other: Power adapter included, 2GB SD card ncluded

Price: $129.99

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Velocity Micro Cruz T301 Digital Reader

Form Factor: Tablet

Display: 7-inch color capacitive touchscreen LED, 800 x 600 resolution

Battery Life: 6 hours for video playback (e-book spec not published)

Storage: 2GB, expandable with SD card up to 32GB

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, USB micro

Size: 7.5" x 5.6" x .57" and 1 lb in weight

File Compatibility: PDF, TXT, HTML and AZW through Kindle App (also compatible with many graphic, audio and video files)

Other: Runs Android 2.2, Kindle App for Android installed as default e-reader, power adapter and carrying pouch included

Price: Expect to pay $199 

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Pan Digital Novel Personal eReader

Display:  6-inch ePaper LCD (not backlit), 800 x 600 resolution

Battery Life: 6,000 page turns

Storage: 2GB, expandable by Micro SD (up to 32 GB cards)

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, mini USB

Size: 4.8" x 7" x .5" and 8 oz in weight

File Compatibility: EPUB, PDF (plus graphic fles and MP3)

Other: Runs Linux operating system (integrated web browser and e-mail), power adapter included, integrated with Barnes and Noble e-book store.

Price: Expect to pay $140

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iriver Story HD

Display:  6-inch E-Ink, 768 x 1024 resolution, 16-level grayscale. 8 font sizes

Battery Life: 6 weeks or 14,000 page turns

Storage: 2GB, expandable by SD (up to 32 GB cards)

Connectivity: Mini-USB, Wi-Fi

Size: 5" x 7.5" x .37" and 7.3 oz in weight

File Compatibility: EPUB, PDF, TXT, FB2, DJVU (plus graphic fles and MP3), plus Office Viewer (for Word, Excel, powerPoint) 

Other: Integrated with Google's eBooks and Google eBookstore, includes full QWERTY keyboard and XGA display (with 63% more pixels than standard 6" displays), includes Office Viewer and Comic Viewer apps.

Price: $139.99