I get asked fairly often for e-reader recommendations, and it's a question I actually really enjoy answering! I had a Kindle Paperwhite for many years, and last year I got a Kobo Libra H2O. When I talk to people about readers, I find that many people don't know about Kobo readers, and I didn't either before I started researching alternatives to the Paperwhite! So I am so happy to share my thoughts on these devices and why I decided to switch.
There are two main form factors of e-readers. The most common one is the Paperwhite/Clara form factor: a small rectangle that's mostly screen, has no buttons, and is in the 4"x6"-ish ballpark. The Oasis/Libra form factor has a large bezel on one side, with page-turn buttons, a larger screen, and is in the 5"x6"-ish ballpark. After many happy years with my Paperwhite, I just really wanted some buttons! I was tired of swiping the screen to turn pages, so I started to look into the Oasis. I was also tired of giving so much money to Amazon, and I wondered if there were non-Amazon e-readers out there that were any good. I was thrilled to find out the answer was "absolutely!"
- The Kindle Oasis has an aluminum body and the price to match, while the Kobo Libra is plastic and significantly less expensive.
- Kindles display ads on your screen (not while you're reading) while Kobo devices do not, which I love, but may not matter at all to you.
- They both have an integrated bookstore where you buy and download books to read. If you are attached to Kindle Unlimited or enjoy reading books that are self-published on Amazon, those books are not available in the Kobo store, of course. (Personally I found that finding good books on Kindle Unlimited was like searching for a needle in a haystack, and I don't miss KU even a tiny bit.)
- If your library uses Overdrive or Libby, you can read library books for free on both devices. But in order to get a library e-book on a Kindle, you have to use either your phone or computer to browse and download them to your device. On Kobo devices, you can browse your library books, place holds, borrow, and return all directly on the e-reader. This was a huge deal to me and has made borrowing library books so much easier.
So, which form factor should you buy? If you care a lot about having physical page-turn buttons, go with the Oasis/Libra. Otherwise, the Paperwhite/Clara is a great device that I think will suit almost everyone's needs.
Which company should you go with? If you are very attached to the Amazon ecosystem or read a lot of Kindle Unlimited books, get a Kindle. If you want to avoid spending money at Amazon or read a lot of library books, Kobo devices are absolutely the way to go.
And of course, whichever device you go with, you'll want a nice case to keep it in, and you know I've got you covered there! See all of the e-reader cases I've got right here.
Do you have questions, or think I've missed something? Leave a comment and let me know!