If you have a voracious reader in your life — you know, the kind who stacks up piles of books in their home and makes strategic plans to get through them — the gift of an affordable e-book reader might be the best present they’ve ever received. Amazon and Apple both offer a good selection of choices for easy book reading, including the Amazon Kindle, Amazon Fire Tablet and the iPad Mini — you should be able to find one that suits your recipient’s particular needs.
E-book readers andmake for great gifts for any bookworm in your life. For one, your loved one won’t even need a bookshelf or bookplates, though a good book nook is still recommended. E-book readers will look beautiful on their coffee table, bookshelf or bedside table.
Second, anyone who receives a book or anreader as a gift is going to be vocally appreciative, as no one wants to be pegged as “not a book person.” Plus, they’ll have to read the book eventually, right? Win, win.
Yes, the Kobo reader and Barnes & Noble Nook are still out there, but without access to Amazon’s book library, and hazy future hardware and software support, it’s tough to make a case for reading on those.
If you’re looking for a Kindle to leave in the seat back pocket of an airplane (when you take a break from reading your book to “rest your eyes”), this is the one to get, just because it’s so inexpensive. The latest version of this e-book reader gets an updated body and includes a built-in book light (you know, so you don’t have to wear one on your head when you’re up late with a cup of coffee or tea), but the better screen and higher resolution on the Paperwhite still beat it by a mile and make it a reader’s favorite. You’ll fall into a new world, like Alice in Wonderland. Just don’t read aloud if you’re up late!
Read our Amazon Kindle (2019) review.
Although it hasn’t changed much in the last few years, the Paperwhite is still the default Kindle to gift the book enthusiast in your life. It’s readable, the backlight makes it great for reading chapter books by your favorite author in both dark and sunny situations — plus, it’s often discounted, which means more money toward your book budget… which means more reading! Perfect!
Read our Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2018) review.
Amazon’s top-end Kindle is is too expensive for what it is. But at the same time, it’s an extraordinary upgrade from reading on the standard Paperwhite. I upgraded during last summer’s Prime Day, and was knocked out by how much better the Oasis is in terms of book readability and responsiveness. Plus, the physical page turn buttons make you feel like you’re reading a real chapter book. Amazon runs a lot of deals on this, and watch out for trade-in bonuses on older Kindles to get it for a reasonable price.
Read our Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019) review.
Amazon’s Fire tablets no longer have “Kindle” in the name, but they still work great as e-readers. The Fire 7 is usually $39, which is less than an expensive hardcover book (but not really powerful enough to be your everyday multimedia tablet). For book reading, just note that it’s not an E-ink screen, just a plain old LCD. But, on the other hand, it’s in color, so it’s perfect for reading a story with pictures, like a graphic novel or an illustrated book.
Besides the 7-inch model, also check out the 8-inch Fire HD 8 and the iPad-like Fire HD 10.
Read our Amazon Fire 7 (2019) review.
The best iPad for e-books is the pocket-sized, and recently revamped, iPad Mini. The size and weight are perfect (smaller than a book, even), and besides reading your favorite book, you can do all the other great things you can do with an iPad. Again, this isn’t an E Ink display, so it’s not perfect for book reading, but it’s a great all-in-one device.
What about actual titles?
And to fill up that Kindle, Fire tablet or iPad, of course you’ll need a great book or 12. Ais a perfect gift (with monthly options curated for your recipient) and beyond that, we’ve included a book selection list. The ideas on this list represent some of what we’ve been reading lately (plus select picks from the well-known authors who’ve graced our CNET Book Club podcast).
Remember, there’s a whole world of books out there, from Pride and Prejudice to(or the whole series in a box set), from banned books to chapter book series. You can even gift a subscription to The New York Times, if you want to think outside the box when it comes to reading material! And no, whether you pick up a digital book or a physical dead-tree book, we don’t judge. It’s your story. Reading is a joy, so it’s still the perfect gift.
Now get cozy, put on the coffee (or tea) and get reading!
Book #1: Fall, or Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson
Book #2: Recursion by Blake Crouch
Book #3: Giraffes On Horseback Salad by Josh Frank
Book #4: Team Human by Douglass Rushkoff
Book #5: Futureland by Walter Mosley
Book #6: Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer