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What should I consider when shopping for an e-Reader?

by Ask a Librarian | Jun 28, 2017

Last week, we talked about accessing ACPL's eBook collections.  This week, we'll tackle another frequently asked question -- what to consider when shopping for an e-Reader.

Are you already reading eBooks?  Start by considering what you're currently using.  What do you like?  What don't you like?  For instance, maybe you don’t like the screen size when reading on your phone.  Or the lack of portability when using the computer.  Or the glare of the sun on your tablet when reading outside.

Taking all of that into consideration, my recommendation is to get a device that will work with Hoopla.  Hoopla offers eBooks, audiobooks, movies, TV shows, and music so you'll get a lot of bang for your buck.  Additionally, Hoopla works with fewer devices than our other eBook service, OverDrive.  So, if you get a device that’s compatible for Hoopla, there's a good chance that it will also be able to work with OverDrive/Libby eBooks -- but the reverse is less likely. 

On Hoopla’s help page, click on Supported Devices.  You'll find both a list of supported Android devices (and what to look for as far as storage space, operating system, etc.), as well as a list of supported iOS (Apple) and Amazon Fire devices (and which software version you will need).

How to decide from such a long list of supported devices?  Consider the following:

  • Your budget
  • How readily available the product is online or in stores.  Do you want to be able to visit a brick and mortar store to purchase and to get assistance with using the device?  That will likely limit you to what they have in stock.
  • Recommendations from friends or family; check online reviews as well.
  • What other features do you want or need in the device?  A good camera?  Great sound?  Facebook/email/phone?  You’ll want to review those features of the device to see if they will meet your needs.
  • Does it offer enough storage for what you need?  It would probably be best to have 16 GB or more for the long term (though 8 GB could work).  But if you intend to take a lot of photos or download a lot of music, plan for more storage space.
  • Screen size
  • Comfort.  Is the device easy/heavy/awkward to hold?
  • Keyboard.  Do you like the on-screen keyboard for typing?
  • Non-glare screen

If you are among those who decide that the non-glare screen is a key feature, you may decide to get a Kindle (not a Kindle Fire), Nook or Koboᶤ.  I know many avid users of these devices.  However, these devices have certain limitations you should know about when it comes to library eBooks:

  • Kindle, Nook and Koboᶤ are compatible with Overdrive but NOT with Hoopla, Flipster, or Mango.  (Flipster and Mango are other eCollections that we highly recommend checking out!)
  • Kindle, Nook and Koboᶤ  require another device to connect with Overdrive.
    • For Nook and Koboᶤ, you will need a computer that can download Adobe Digital Editions and the connecting USB cord.
    • For Kindle, you will need an internet-enabled device (could be smartphone, tablet or computer) and your Amazon account.
    • Unless you plan to purchase additional content for your Nook or Kindle, be advised that our eBook collection, while growing, is small compared to our print collection.  The wait times for eBooks tend to be longer than for print books.
What e-Reader pros/cons have you encountered?  Please share your experiences in the comments below.

From the Desk of Ask a Librarian (

ᶤ The Kobo Aura One can be used without another device.  However, we expect that this pricey device may not be supported by OverDrive over the long haul.

*Most Hoopla-supported devices will also allow you to download and use the free apps for OverDrive/Libby (popular eBooks and audiobooks), Freegal (music), Flipster (magazines), and Mango (language learning) – all free offerings of the library. 

*Technology and the library’s eBook services are in a constant state of change.  This post may be out-of-date within a month or two! 

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