Perhaps you are thinking about getting an e-book reader but would like to know more about what each of them do before making a decision?  This is what this page is designed to help you with.

As a novelist who is keen to have his books widely and instantly available to as many readers around the world as possible, e-books are a great solution.  They enable me to have a direct relationship with my readership.  They enable you to enjoy my books here and now.

However, at the time of writing not all e-book readers or the e-book files they download are the same. This is because the industry is dealing with a new technology and - as with cutting edge technology in previous decades - where there is not yet an industry standard multiple solutions are available to you.

Click on the icons below to discover more about each electronic reading device.



In my own opinion, based on market size, these are the most obvious e-book reading devices available at the moment.  

Kindle Fire - coming to the UK soon

Amazon sold over 4 million Kindles in the run up to Christmas 2011 and has been aggressive in promoting not just the Kindle device but also ebooks, especially with the creation of its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) which provides an opportunity for new authors to self-publish.  The most recent Kindle in the UK is smaller and lighter (although a little more basic) than its predecessor.  However, the forthcoming Kindle Fire (already available in the US) which has a colour touch screen and is rumoured to be out here by March 2012 is highly likely to ensure its ubiquity continues.

Kobo Vox with colour touchscreen

The Kobo is considered a stylish option (The Sunday Times magazine had it listed at 'hot') and the obvious advantage that it has over the Kindle (or other proprietary devices) is that it supports generic ePub book files whereas the Kindle does not.  This means that your library is not tied to your device.  If you download my first book, The Fatal Verse of the Valley, through the iBook app or via iTunes, it will not work on a Kobo.  This is why I have made my books available in multiple formats.  However, Kobo books will work just as well on almost any other device.  It may be in future that Amazon Kindle support ePub but for now it's a considerable mark against owning one.

iPad 2 - a capable (but not dedicated) e-reader

You would own an iPad for a number of reasons including reading e-books, but it is unlikely you would buy one just to use as an e-reader.  It is larger and far heavier, and the screen - albeit colour and touch sensitive - has not been designed to imitate the written page as those of dedicated e-readers have been.  However, if you have an iPad (or iPhone, although the screen is not large enough to enjoyably read a novel), the iBook app is simple to use and stocks not just the obvious titles but also the work of self-published writers.

The Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet - a serious contender

UK readers may not have heard of the NOOK tablet as it is sold through Barnes & Noble, the largest bookseller in the US, and not seen in the UK.  However, its leading edge design, plus B&N's enormous online library and relative popularity in the US mean it is not to be disregarded out of hand.  With sony struggling, despite having taken an early lead in the e-reader market in the past, a good range of tablets and access to the world's largest online bookstore, where millions of Americans are used to shopping regularly, I have ensured my books are available here, too.

There's a lot of noise on the internet to 'help' you select the e-reader that is best for you.  I've added a few links below which should give you a good picture, but the best advice I can give you is to try them out yourself and see which one you take to.

Articles on the subject by The Telegraph, Daily Mail, The Guardian

Consumer advice from Trusted Reviews

Other views and reviews:

Ebook Readers Review

The e-Reader Reviews