eBook Reader Buyer's Guide

E-Book Readers

Technology keeps on improving human way of life, maybe not in all aspects but it is a fact that it elevates the level of ease and comfort of people thru electronic gadgets available in the market today. Electronic Book or e- book reader for example is one of the best selling electronic gadget at eBay.com and Amazon.com stores.

An electronic book or e-book reader is a portable, electronic device design to display e-books and other digital media.

When looking for which e-book reader to buy, these are the few factors that you may consider- 1) the feature of the product, 2) the content and storage capacity 3) technical support and 4) the price.

Here is your buyer’s guide for 2009.

As of 2009, three e-books readers dominate the market, namely; Amazon Kindle model, Sony’s PRS model and Bookeen with Cybook Gen 3 and Cybook Opus (source Wikipedia).

E-Book Reader Models and Designs

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Kindle2Kindle DXSony PRS505Cybook Gen3Cybook OpusiRex Digital ReaderiLiad 2nd EditionCool-erAstak 5"EZ ReaderAstak EZ ReaderBarnes & Noble nook
Kindle DX
Kindle DX
Sony PRS505
Sony PRS505
Cybook Gen3
Cybook Gen3
Cybook Opus
Cybook Opus
iRex Digital Reader
iRex Digital Reader
iLiad 2nd Edition
iLiad 2nd Edition
Astak 5"EZ Reader
Astak 5"EZ Reader
Astak EZ Reader
Astak EZ Reader
Barnes & Noble nook
Barnes & Noble nook

Amazon Kindle 2 / Kindle DX

Kindle is developed by Amazon.com subsidiary laboratory. The latest of Kindle product is Kindle DX after its 3 versions (i.e. Kindle 2, Kindle 2 International Version, Kindle 1, the original). Looking at Kindle 2 and other brands, DX has more improved features. It has bigger screen which is 9.7 inches than Kindle 2 of 6 inches diagonal measure. This is more than twice as large and has significant difference in terms of eye strain and fatigue. It has the highest storage capacity among the other brands. Its storage space is 4 GB. It is a wireless device accessed through Kindle’s whispernet. It has dedicated content service. You can read newspaper, magazine and blogs from kindle device. In terms of technical support, Amazon has tremendous technical support facility in place.

To summarize, the standout features of DX are - 1) its large screen, 2) the instant download of content, 3) the Auto-rotate to landscape, 4) simple navigation and set up, and 5) its cool screen savers. In terms of price, Kindle 2 is cheaper than DX by almost half the price. Based on product reviews, Amazon Kindles probably is the best choice when it comes to e-book reader so far.

Sony Reader PRS models

PRS 900 is the latest model from Sony digital reader. This is known as the “Daily Edition”. It has 7” diagonal screen to compete with Amazon Kindle DX. It has 16 levels of gray scale touch screen and 3G wireless access (through AT&T Mobility in a manner similar to the Kindle's whispernet) which enables computer-free access to the Sony e Bookstore in the United States. It can view and convert documents in different formats supported by the system.

PRS 700 is another model of Sony e-Book reader which is according to Sony’s website is no longer available for purchase.

PRS 505 is the improved version of PRS 500. The standout features of PRS 505 are 1)it has variety of colors, 2) it stores up to 160 titles, 3) it supports a variety of document formats and 4) 7,500 continuous page turns battery life. In terms of content the device has dedicated service and can view blogs.

Sony provides support through internet where customers can download user manual, find FAQ’s, send email and HELP for troubleshooting.

Again to summarize, Sony digital readers has its unique features however it lacks the internal memory to support a physical library. Even the latest model of Sony PRS 900 only has 512MB, 380 MB accessible. Its wireless connection access to e-book stores only and has no web browser.   

Cybook Gen 3

Cybook Gen 3 is an electronic book reader from Bookeen, a French company. It is sleek and small and has 64 MB internal memory and SD card slot where you can squeeze in hundreds of books. The standout features of Cybook Gen 3 are -1) its 740 ms page turn time, 2) 3-bit gray scale, 3) 6-inch e-ink display and 4) Weighs 6.3 ounces.

On the other side, however, Cybook Gen 3 has comparably low resolution so don’t expect perfect readability or clarity on image and PDF files. They will be readable, but won’t be perfectly clear.

In terms of content, Cybook Gen 3 has no dedicated service for downloading of books but can handle majority of file types.

The manufacturer of Cybook products doesn’t have large presence in North America. The company simply provides warranty for Cybook Gen 3 and therefore may not have good reliable technical support.

In summary, Cybook Gen 3 is a simple e-book reader with fast page turn time, file support and user interface and that's it.

iRex / iLiad Digital Reader

The iRex Digital eBook Reader has similar features to other offerings from iRex technologies (like the iLiad 2nd Edition) .It is only .5” thick, it is super thin and ultra portable, making it much smaller than the briefcase.

iRex focuses has the ability to “print” documents to the reader thus saving paper and time. Instead of having to print the same document several times, you can send it to the iRex Digital Reader and it will be converted, much like an Adobe PDF file, into a format you can store on your reader. One of the biggest attractions of the iRex Digital Reader is the touch screen. The touch screen can be used both for navigation and taking notes or highlighting text. For this reason, the iRex Digital Reader is one of the easiest readers to use for editing or marking text in a document. The battery life lasts only for 24 hours.

It is a wireless device and it has a convenient screen that will respond when you write on it, however, it is by far the most expensive device among e-book reader.

While the iRex Digital Reader doesn’t have a dedicated content provider, it does have the ability to read just about anything you can find on the internet and print or convert to PDF, so that makes the amount of available content almost unlimited. However, if you’re going to use it for books, it doesn’t store very many titles and has a limited number of book files it can support.

The iLiad digital 2nd edition e-book reader is another product offering from iRex Technologies. Its basic features are: 1) its Electronic Paper Display 2) it transfer document notes and annotations between iLiad devices 3) supports other media like Sodoku and Crossword puzzles and 4) switches between portrait and landscape settings

In a nutshell, the iLiad has a lot of cool features and gives us hope for what eBook readers will become in the future. However, it’s lacking in some basic functions that would make it competitive with others.

In terms of technical support, iRex gives the user free access to all the latest software and updates, download answers to FAQs and general information articles.

E-Book Readers Other Brands

There are other brands of e-book readers available in the market like :

  • COOL-ER, price is US$ 249
  • Astak 5” EZ Reader, price is US$ 199
  • Astak EZ Reader, price is US$ 329
  • JetBook e-Book Reader

Nook by Barnes & Noble, The Upcoming model

Barnes & Noble has introduced its electronic book reader called Barnes & Noble nook using Android platform. The device was announced in the United States last October 20, 2009, and is expected to be officially released by November 30, 2009 for US $ 259. The nook will compete with the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader and other readers, and will include Wi-Fi and AT&T 3G wireless connectivity, a six inch E ink display, and a separate, smaller color touch screen that serves as the primary input device.


Manufacturers of E-book reader will definitely continue to improve their products to compete with the market. New models and designs will come out in the future. As buyer, it is important for us to choose the best product. There are links in this article that would help you make the decision. I hope this piece of information would help the readers find the best product of their choice.

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Comments 2 comments

Anon. 6 years ago

good info.

Web Designer Sydney 5 years ago

It is true....Technology keeps on improving human way of life, make the things easier, confort ect.

Thank you so much for adding this information... love it!

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