Choosing an e-book reader

Considering an e-reader for yourself or someone else? Before you make your purchase, it might be helpful to know which e-readers are library e-book friendly, and which are not.

Kobo Touch, Kobo Mini, Kobo Aura and Kobo Glo
The Kobo is a lightweight, easy to use e-reader, available in Touch, Mini, Aura and Glo editions. All four e-readers are library e-book friendly. These are lightweight e-readers featuring e-ink technology, which is easy on the eyes and allows you to read even in bright sunlight. The Glo and Aura feature a softly illuminated display that allows you to read at night, without a lamp.

Kobo Arc
The Kobo Arc is Kobo's newest tablet. It runs on the Android operating system and is library e-book friendly. Library e-books are downloaded directly to the tablet using the OverDrive Media Console app. The Kobo Arc doesn't feature e-ink but has a vivid seven-inch colour display. It also includes apps that allow you to browse the web, check email, watch movies, play games and more.

Nook
The Nook is a Barnes & Noble product, and as far as we know, is only available for purchase in the United States. It has been a popular option for cross-border shoppers, though tech support may be somewhat limited for Canadian customers. This e-reader is easy to use, features e-ink technology, and is available with or without an illuminated display. There are also 7-inch and 9-inch tablet editions available. All are library e-book friendly.

Sony Reader
Sony's e-readers have been discontinued, but most were library e-book friendly. Sony has announced that it will be closing its Reader Store in March of 2014 and moving its customers to the Kobo platform. If you've got a Sony Reader, you can continue to use it to access library e-books. Later models allow you to download directly to the device, without connecting to a computer.

iPad and iPad Mini
The Overdrive Media Console app and 3M Cloud Library app for Apple devices allows you to search for, download and read library e-books directly on the iPad, making it (along with the iPhone) library e-book friendly. The iPad doesn't feature e-ink, but it does have an exceptional, full-colour backlit display, and allows you to browse the web, check email, play games and more.

Android Tablets
There are a variety of Android tablets and phones on the market, and as far as we know, all are library e-book friendly. The OverDrive Media Console app and 3M Cloud Library app for Android devices allows you to search for, download and read library e-books directly on your Android tablet or phone. Tablets don't feature e-ink, but do have full-colour backlit displays, and allow you to browse the web, check email, play games and more.

Blackberry PlayBook
With the release of OS 2.0, the Blackberry PlayBook is library e-book friendly (Overdrive only). Library e-books are downloaded directly to the PlayBook using the OverDrive Media Console app. The PlayBook includes many of the features of other tablets, including a colour display and the ability to run a variety of apps. 3M Cloud Library does not support Blackberry devices.

Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD
The Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD are Kindle's tablet e-readers. They run on a forked version of the Android operating system and are library e-book friendly. Library e-books are downloaded directly to the device using the OverDrive Media Console app and 3M Cloud Library app. The Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD don't feature e-ink but both have a vivid full-colour display. They also includes apps that allow you to browse the web, check email, play games and more.

Kindle Touch, Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Keyboard 3G
The Kindle Touch, Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Keyboard 3G are excellent e-readers, and have enjoyed exceptional popularity since their release. Unfortunately, Kindle's dedicated e-readers are NOT library e-book friendly in Canada. Amazon e-books are available from libraries in the United States, but not Canadian libraries. Amazon's dedicated e-readers, including the touch screen, illuminated and keyboard editions, all feature e-ink technology.

For more on devices that are library e-book friendly, see Overdrive's list of compatible e-book devices [PDF] and 3M Cloud Library's website (scroll to bottom).