Today you can find E-book readers of all shapes and sizes and at prices to suit all wallets (almost, prices could come down a bit more). The graphic below shows a comparison of the popular models that are available on the market today.

E-Book Reader Matrix

E-Book Reader Matrix

This matrix was created from manufacturer information and from data on a more comprehensive matrix at the MobileRead Wiki. I have largely concentrated on what I feel are the most important parameters for comparison.  If you want a more comprehensive view, you can see the original matrix here.
There are a few alternatives to using a dedicated E-book reader device. If you already own an iPhone or an iPod touch, you can read e-books on your device by installing third party applications. Lexcycle’s Stanza is a popular free e-book reader solution for the iPhone or iPod. Stanza supports ePUB, MS LIT, AZW (Kindle’s format), MobiPocket, PalmDoc, HTML, PDF, TXT, DOC and RTF, which means you are pretty much covered as far as content is concerned. The only drawback I feel, is that you have to put up with the iPhone’s much smaller 3.5” screen.
Another alternative is to use your netbook as an e-book reader by using software like Stanza Desktop. With netbooks costing as much as the entry level E-book reader (in the $250-$400 range), I think they present a great alternative to the e-book reader. However, their LCD screens may cause eye strain in the long run and the battery life definitely won’t reach that of e-book readers. Still considering that your average netbook can still do a lot more than even the most sophisticated e-book reader, I’d say they are a good alternative.
In the next article, I’ll look at the various factors to consider when deciding on an e-book reader.

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One Comment

  1. J. Voss says:

    The Kindle2 got me reading again after 20 years. It is just about perfect as a reading device. A bit expensive, but worth getting. If you have the cash, you like to read…. get it.

    An unbelievable selection of media! I get books from Amazon and Fictionwise.

    I love science fiction….. almost 7000 books (SF) on amazon alone will keep me busy for a lifetime!