My first e-reader
#1  BlauMond 07-23-2020, 07:41 AM
Hello everyone!

I am looking to buy an e-reader but I am averse to giving my money to Amazon. Not that it is completely off the table but I want to explore what options exist for me other than the well-known Kindle e-readers.

What I am looking for:

Must have:
  1. Not too expensive, max $130 - this is the main criteria because I am on a budget. However, I can look for a refurbished more expensive model.
  2. E-paper display
  3. Front light
  4. Good enough storage space - I want to read manga and comics, which needs more storage space than regular e-books
  5. Sturdy - I am sometimes clumsy
  6. Not tied to a platform, usable without some account (eg. prefer Calibre & e-books without DRM)

Good to have:
  1. Being able to share quotes, screenshots would be nice
  2. It would be great if it displayed book covers but its not all so important
  3. Good battery life
  4. Syncing to open source cloud storage (eg. Nextcloud)

Regarding availability of devices it's also worth noting that I am in India.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

#2  JSWolf 07-23-2020, 09:20 AM
Given that you want to read Manga and Comics, I suggest a Reader with a 7" or 8" screen. That would be the Kobo Liba H2O at 7" or the Kobo Forma at 8". But they are bot more expensive then your budget.

The best (new) that you'll be able to get is the Kobo Clara HD at 6".

#3  ZodWallop 07-23-2020, 10:36 AM
You didn't mention your location. Where you are changes the options available to you. I'm assuming US. For all the devices mentioned, I included links to stores that will sell you one in the US.

I read books on a 2015 Nook Glowlight Plus and my Kobo Clara. But for comics, I use a tablet. E-ink readers aren't good with comics. For one thing, comics tend to be color and e-ink is black and white. For another, they tend to be low-powered devices and comics tend to be large files. That file size also means they gobble up space.

Manga is black and white, so it works better on readers. But Wolf is right, if you want to read manga you want a larger screen. The ones easily available in the US (Kindle Oasis, Nook Glowlight Plus, Kobo Libra, Kobo Forma, PocketBook InkPad 3 Pro) will all break your limit.

You might look at eBay for a Kobo Aura H2O. There were two editions and both had 6.8" screens. They have been discontinued, to be replaced by the Kobo Libra, so you might find ones that fit your budget. The first edition of the H2O (the one with 4GB onboard storage and a flap on the bottom) had an SD card slot. Of those I mentioned, it is the only one with expandable storage.

As for not being tied to a platform, give it up. All ereaders are tied to a platform. But all allow sideloading via Calibre. Kobos play best with Calibre (with Kobos you can set series information and create collections with Calibre).

You might also look at Pocketbook devices. They cost a bit more (the 6" Touch HD3 is $160). But they can connect to Dropbox and have double the standard storage (16GB instead of 8GB).

In the end, for what you say you want, I'd recommend the Kobo Clara HD if you want new or can't find an Aura H2O in your budget range. The Clara, being a Kobo device handles sideloading the best and fits your budget. But there will be compromises, like there is in everything.

There's also a new cheaper Kobo, the Nia. It's $100, but has less RAM (not so bad for books, but bad for manga) and a less nice screen. I think it's a nice reader, but right now you can get the Clara for only $20 more and it's worth the $20.

#4  Gandulf 07-23-2020, 11:50 AM
Quote BlauMond

Regarding availability of devices it's also worth noting that I am in India.
He did

#5  ZodWallop 07-23-2020, 11:56 AM
Quote Gandulf
He did
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#6  kyteflyer 07-23-2020, 01:52 PM
Maybe peruse the Indian Kobo site and see whats there?

#7  barryem 07-23-2020, 08:24 PM
I have no idea what options are available in India but I would like to warn you against taking advice in here about which brand is best. They're all excellent and what you'll get are the personal preferences of most of those who speak up. Some of them will also give you facts but in order to tell the difference you'll have to do your own research and by the time you've done that you'll probably know which one you want.

A better approach might be to do your own research and then ask specific questions as they come up.

In this, or any other forum, you can not get reliable answers about which brand is better. You get prejudices, opinions, slants, etc. But if you ask real questions about specs and what does what you'll get good reliable answers.


#8  Espuma 07-24-2020, 06:30 AM
Hi. puff I have more and more doubts. I need a cheap and functional book to read all kinds of formats, but more than 8 inches and that does not weigh much. Can you help me?

#9  JSWolf 07-24-2020, 07:33 AM
Quote Espuma
Hi. puff I have more and more doubts. I need a cheap and functional book to read all kinds of formats, but more than 8 inches and that does not weigh much. Can you help me?
In that case, you are best with a tablet. Reader 8" or larger are going to be rather expensive and out of your budget.

#10  BlauMond 07-26-2020, 05:55 AM
Thank you all, you have given me a lot of good suggestions to consider!

Your hint at screen size for manga makes sense, I will think about it. I will look into availability and prices for the options you mentioned, you gave me a great selection of devices to look at.

Pocketbooks don't really seem available in India, so Kobo sounds like a good option from what you wrote.

Thanks again!

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