Many bookstores around the world are warning customers that paperbacks and hardcovers alike may be difficult to come by around the holiday season. But books are one of the all-around best presents you can give your dad, your spouse, your friend, anyone at all, really. How are we meant to gift bestsellers this year when the shelves are empty?
At least, as we near 2022, paper isn’t even necessary to read a good book anymore. We’ve created technology that’s so good at replicating the experience of ink on paper that, in some situations, it’s even better for reading than what’s provided by a paperback. If you’ve ever tried to read while your partner falls asleep on the other side of the bed, you know exactly what we mean.
Perhaps you’ve heard of a little device called the Kindle? Amazon’s Kindle e-reader has a vice grip on the market, and for some people, the most mainstream e-reader is the best option. There’s an entire world of e-readers out there, though. Each offers something a little different. All will let your loved ones read books without ever worrying about hardcover shortages.
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Kobo’s Libra 2 is a mid-range e-reader that will rarely — if ever — let you down. It’s designed with both serious and light readers in mind, with a comfortable grip and clicky page-turn buttons to keep your reading easy no matter how long you’re at it. The ability to connect directly to your local library’s Overdrive collection means your gift recipient won’t even need to purchase books to get started. The updated Libra includes 32GB of internal storage and a Bluetooth connection, so it can carry all your audiobooks, too.
The world’s most popular e-reader is sleeker and faster than ever. The Paperwhite’s first update in three years packs a slightly larger screen, ludicrously long battery life, and faster page turns into the same streamlined package Kindle fans have come to know over the years. The new 2021 Paperwhite is a great choice for someone who’s owned a Kindle in the past; their library will sync up nicely with the new e-reader. Don’t bother with the Signature edition, though.
Onyx’s tablet-like e-readers are not for everyone. They run on a modified version of Android 10, which both opens it up to potential uses and makes it more complicated to use than other e-readers. You can do almost anything with the Boox Nova Air that you would with an iPad: check your email, edit documents, even use it as a second monitor. This one is for a loved one who likes books but doesn’t want to carry around a dedicated reading device alongside a laptop or tablet. Don’t bother with the $60 book-style case, though — it’s not worth it.
The Elipsa is expansive, with a 10.3-inch touchscreen, and Kobo’s first-ever stylus support. That screen size makes it ideal for note-taking sessions, while Dropbox support makes it super easy to sync notes to your other smart devices for later viewing and archiving. Since we first reviewed the Elipsa this summer, Kobo has updated its software to better anchor underlines and marginalia in your ebooks. This one is for all the serious readers and academics in your life.
Okay, e-readers are expensive. You probably aren’t going to be able to afford to buy one for every person you’d usually give a book to. You can still give the gift of electronic reading, though — just buy them an ebooks gift card. Ebooks.com is an ideal choice for this gift because its ebooks are compatible with any e-reader they have (or might purchase in the future). They can also be read on your laptop or smartphone. Just don’t give one of these to grandma and expect her to know what to do with it.