Love to read but don’t have enough space for all your books? A solid e-reader can solve that problem.
Just ask Deema Al Alami (@deema_al_alami on Instagram), a Dubai-based educator, author, and co-founder of Al Alami Book Club, which features over 800 members from around the world. She started the club with her cousin Farah Al Alami in 2020, to revive and enrich people’s love for reading and books.
Are e-readers a good investment?
Deema, herself, is an avid bookworm and reading advocate, and she relies on her e-reader for all her literary needs. These devices have a number of advantages, she said: “First, they’re usually lightweight, so you can have many books downloaded on your e-reader. This is great because if you’re one of those people who read more than one book at the same time, you can do it without worrying about forgetting the book somewhere.”
Your e-reader can also be with you wherever you go, because it’s so compact and lightweight. Deema said: “It’s useful because it encourages you to read anywhere - you can adjust the lighting, the font and so on. Also, if you get an e-reader with an audible option, you can be reading and listening to the book at the same time, or alternating between both.”
Just like when you’re browsing books at the bookstore, e-readers give you the option to explore a little before purchasing. Deema said: “One of the best features I like about e-readers is that you can download a sample so you can read a few pages, and then decide if you want to continue with downloading and buying the full book or not.”
A majority of e-readers in the market currently use E Ink technology – a kind of panel that replicates the look of a book. These screens let you read for long periods of time without the eye strain that you usually experience from staring at a liquid-crystal display (LCD) or organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen. But there are lots of options out there. Which e-reader should you pick?
Which e-reader is best for me?
It ultimately comes down to the kind of features that are important to you. Deema said: “One of the most important things would be the battery life. Also, how user friendly is it, and whether you can change the font or brightness. How close to real paper does the screen display feel?”
Other factors to consider include whether the e-reader requires an Internet connection or Wi-Fi to work, and what its maximum storage capacity is. Depending on how many books you plan on downloading, these factors could impact your decision.
We picked the best e-readers available right now, with recommendations from our expert, and top-rated user reviews on Amazon. Deema said she has been using her Kindle Paperwhite for the past 12 to 15 years, and absolutely loves it. Find this bestseller, and more, below, and get it with Amazon Prime, so you can dive into your summer reads as soon as possible.
1. Best Overall: Kindle Paperwhite Bundle, including Kindle (8GB, Black) and Amazon Fabric Cover (Black)
- Large, 6.8-inch screen display
- Long battery life
- Glare-free display that reads like real paper
- Adjustable warm light
- IPX8 waterproof rating
- Not suitable for comics or graphics-heavy content
With smaller bezels around the screen, and a larger 6.8-inch display than previous editions, the Kindle Paperwhite is Deema's top pick. She said: "The battery has a long life. I charge it once and read almost every night, and my next charge is probably about two months later." The device has plenty of customisation options, so you can change fonts, line spacing, and brightness levels to suit you and your environment. Deema added: "It’s connected to my Kindle store, so it recommends books that are in line with what I enjoy reading. Another amazing [aspect] about the Kindle Paperwhite is its X-ray feature. So, let’s say you’re reading a book that’s dense and has many characters. You can click on the name of a character and it will X-ray and tell you where this character first appeared in the book and in what context." The device has an IPX8 waterproof rating, meaning it can be submerged in up to two metres of water for an hour. You can't really go wrong with this versatile device that's packed full of great features, in a compact, lightweight frame. We picked a bundle with a fabric cover to keep the e-reader safe.
2. Best All-Rounder: Kobo Libra 2
- Large storage capacity
- Convenient USB-C charging
- Audiobook support
- Functional asymmetric design
- IPX8 waterproof rating
The new model of the Kobo Libra has got all the features you’ve come to expect from e-readers, but also a few convenient bonuses that you’ll appreciate. It offers a fantastic E Ink Carta screen, along with 32GB internal storage for your entire library of books. If you prefer listening to books instead, this device provides Bluetooth connectivity so you can pop on your headphones, download and listen to audiobooks. Like the Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition, Kobo Libra 2 also uses a USB-C charging cable, which makes topping up the battery quick and convenient. Its asymmetric style isn’t just a design quirk – it has nifty page-turn buttons on the edge, so that reading single-hand is easy and intuitive.
Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh59.81 for 12 months with select banks.
3. Best Budget: PocketBook Touch Lux 5 E-Book Reader
- Thin, lightweight
- Compatible with variety of e-book formats
- Includes SD card reader
- Features drawing functions
- Excellent battery life
- Not waterproof
The Pocketbook Touch Lux 5 offers excellent value for money, with its many features and extensive e-book format coverage. With 8GB internal storage and an SD card capable of an additional 32GB, you’ll never run out of bookshelf space again. If you’re a comic book or graphic novel reader, the Lux 5 does a very good job with such formats, although do note it’s not a colour e-reader. The device even has a note taking app that allows you to draw freehand and write notes with the built-in keyboard. Reviewers like that they have the freedom to load in their own books, since they’re not locked into a closed ecosystem. There’s also excellent dictionary support.
4. Best for Students: BOOX Nova Air C
- Access to Google Play Store apps
- Read in colour
- Sleek design
- Smooth digital note-taking
- Supports several e-book formats
- Reviewers say stylus magnet is weak
When you think of an e-reader, you likely think about reading books. But the Boox Nova Air takes it further with its hybrid E Ink tablet technology, allowing you to write and take notes with its sleek stylus. The device is compatible with a number of e-book formats, from EPUB to CBZ, so students will find it easy to download books or reports, and work on them like they would on a tablet. The screen is exceptionally paper-like, reviewers say, and its protective glass makes reading in direct sunlight feasible. When writing or drawing, you can select from several brush and pen shapes and layers. A built-in handwriting recognition feature in the Notes app is also convenient, when transferring your notes between devices. Reviewers like the colour feature in this e-book, although they say it's not going to win any awards for high-definition finish or contrast - it feels like you're reading a newsprint, which is perhaps what the device is going for. So, if you don’t just read books, but take notes, draw, or annotate, Boox Nova Air C is the perfect choice for you.
Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh170.50 for 12 months with select banks.
5. Best Large E-Reader: Kobo Elipsa 2E eReader
- Big, sharp screen
- Adjustable colour temperature
- Wide file support
- Responsive stylus for notetaking
- No in-built speaker or audio jack
- Not waterproof
There’s no squinting necessary. Kobo Elipsa 2E features a 10.3-inch E Ink Carta screen, with a front light that supports adjustable brightness and colour temperature so that you can read in all kinds of lighting conditions. This light, well-made tablet is an excellent choice if you prefer larger e-readers. It’s ideal for note-takers (the Kobo Stylus 2 is included) and people who like to read manga or comics. The device has a generous 32GB storage library, and a fast 2.0GHz processor. Reviewers note that although the Elipsa 2E does come with Bluetooth technology for listening to audiobooks, it doesn’t have a headphone jack or in-built speaker, so you’ll have to pair it with your own Bluetooth headphones or speaker. Don’t take this e-reader to the pool - it doesn’t have an IP waterproof rating and is best used away from water.
Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh133.44 for 12 months with select banks.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.