Top Five eReaders For Students

eReader’s aren’t for everyone.  Namely, students.

We know you’re thinking,  “Isn’t this called the ‘Top Five eReaders for Students'”?

Here’s the point: Not all ereaders are created equal, and more importantly, not all ebook stores are created equal either. The Amazon Kindle bookstore offers up 30,000 academic texts in its textbook section; Barnes & Noble’s digital store , not so much.

On top of that, some devices allow students to take notes as they power through required reading, others support reading texts on multiple devices, i.e. reading on an eReader before class and then squeezing in a chapter with your notebook before bed.

If you’ve already committed fully to buying an eReader for the student in your life, check out our five recommendations below.

If not, there’s more buying advice in our guide “eReaders for Back-to-School: Should You Buy?” There we explain which reading devices offer the best selection of textbooks, the most versatile functionality, the lowest prices, and the highest ease of use. Once you’ve decided whether you’re enrolled in eReaders 101 or not, come back here and check out the Top Five eReaders for Students.

Amazon Kindle 2


Read Full Review

What We Like: More than 620,000 titles (plus 1.8 million free, out-of-copyright ones), including a dedicated textbook section on Unparalleled ergonomics. The easy-to-read eInk screen presents text in 16 shades of gray. Full QWERTY keyboard. Sprint-powered Whispernet connection remains one of the fastest on eReader. Built-in speakers and 3.5mm headphone jack. Text-to-speech feature reads books aloud, albeit in a monotone voice prone to mispronunciations. Built in dictionary comes in handy. Excellent battery life.

What We Don’t: Limited built-in browser. Battery not user-replaceable.

Bottom Line: Amazon is missing some popular books, but its overall content selection is quite good, and there’s certainly plenty of space for storing a massive library on this sleek device. The Kindle 2 looks great and works well.

Amazon Kindle DX


Read Full Review

What We Like: 9.7-inch display boasts 50 percent better contrast than the previous generation. Fast, free 3G, courtesy of Sprint Whispernet. Now costs $110 less, making it more accessible. Promises one week of battery life (two if you turn off the wireless). Like the Kindle 2, it has a QWERTY keyboard beneath the screen, a 3.5mm headphone jack, speaker, and (robotic) text-to-speech feature.

What We Don’t: Like the Kindle 2, it has a frustrating built-in browser and a non-user replaceable battery.

Bottom Line: The Kindle DX is ideal for people who need to read textbooks and periodicals as much as they want to consume novels. Just make sure Amazon has the textbooks you want.

Apple iPad

Starting at $499


Read Full Review

What We Like: Responsive high-resolution 9.7-inch multitouch LCD display. Supports music and video files, in addition to eBooks. Engaging reading experience through the free iBooks app. Vast collection of apps available through the App Store.

What We Don’t: Although textbook companies have inked deals with Apple, textbooks aren’t yet available in the store. The 10-hour battery life is long, but not as long as the week touted by the Kindle. At 1.6 pounds, it’s heavier than competing eReaders. Screen difficult to read in sunlight.

Bottom Line: Multitaskers will like the iPad, but students should hold off until the textbook selection beefs up.

Barnes & Noble Nook

$149 (Wi-Fi only) or $199 (3G)

Read Full Review

What We Like: Inexpensive Wi-Fi only version. Easy-to-read eInk screen presents with 3.5-inch color touchscreen at the bottom. Built-in speakers and 3.5mm headphone jack. Large content selection. You can lend eBooks, as you would paper ones.

What We Don’t: Interface can be confusing. Bottom screen does not browse web pages. No dedicated textbook section in the store (although many are still for sale in other sections). Slower page turns than competitors.

Bottom Line: Barnes & Noble’s able challenger to the Kindle has the basics down: a good display and a wealth of available content—not to mention the low price of $149 for the Wi-Fi only version. We just wish the Nook were easier to use.

Sony Reader Touch Edition


What We Like: Responsive 6-inch touchscreen is ideal for taking notes. Users can sign into their local libraries’ sites to download EPUB and PDF books on loan (Kindle, for one, can’t do this). Supports PDFs and Word documents. Can play back MP3s.

What We Don’t: The screen appears muted and reflective compared to other eReaders’. Sluggish performance. Dedicated page turning buttons inconveniently located.

Bottom Line: Sony’s touch-enabled reader isn’t perfect, but with a slashed price (it used to cost $299), its reflective display and sluggish performance are easier to forgive in favor of its compatibility with libraries’ digital lending programs.

Email* (will not be published)
*Indicates required field
Submit Comments

  1. Krypter Says:

    …except the iPad is not an eReader.

    I’d like to consider my laptop an eReader, or my phone an eReader, but they aren’t.

    Please learn the definition of the word before basing a whole article on it.

  2. Jacj Says:

    What about something like a SmartQ Q7? Their pretty much full netbooks sans keybord and mouse for under 180 usd. Check ‘em out their really useful, if rather a bit hard to find outside of asia.

  3. kalani Says:

    The truth is that any smartphone will do the trick. A couple months ago I was thinking about getting an ereader but it turn out that reading in my htc was kind of better since it fit in my pocket so whenever I got some time I read on it and you got some good app like aldiko wich is related to project gutenberg so you got a lot of free books.

All Product Types Accessories Cars Digital Camcorders Digital Cameras eReaders GPS Laptops MP3 & Video Players Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets / MIDs VoIP Wi-Fi
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS Averatec BenQ CTL Corp. Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Sager Samsung Sony Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1920x1080 1920x1200 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options