Best gifts for readers in 2023: Kindle, iPad Mini, Kobo and more
It could be confusing to choose the best gifts for the readers in your life. If you’re looking for a gift for readers, you might be surprised to learn that what you’re looking for isn’t a single book. Why buy someone a single book for the holidays when you could gift them a whole digital library instead?
When you gift a friend or loved one a book reading device, they have access to a wealth of titles. I particularly like how E Ink readers have largely remained single-function devices, focusing on reading (and sometimes note-taking), rather than branching out into games, video chats or work apps.
The best-known e-book reader is Amazon’s Kindle line, which uses E Ink screens and supports Amazon’s e-book storefront. Current models offer self-illuminated touchscreens, eliminating the need for an external reading light. But beyond Kindle hardware, the Kindle app works on smartphones, iPads, and other devices.
If you don’t want to buy through Amazon, there are other alternatives. For example, Rakuten’s Kobo e-book readers work with most third-party vendors using the ePub book standard. And Kobo and Kindle leave you free read loan books from your local library.
We have also collected even more ebook readers hereand tested several Large screen multifunctional E Ink devices which look more like tablets and add stylus support.
My biggest overall buying tip is that most Kindle devices go on sale frequently and sometimes have cumulative trade-in offers on top of that, so you can often expect to pay less than the official retail price. .
Amazon has released a basic Kindle E Ink e-reader for $100 that doesn’t seem so entry-level anymore. While its 6-inch screen makes it a smaller and lighter e-reader than the Kindle Paperwhite ($140), its screen has the same 300 ppi resolution as the Paperwhite. However, the Paperwhite model adds waterproofing and incorporates a more sophisticated front lighting scheme, with 17 LEDs compared to the base four LEDs of the 2022 Kindle.
In the past, we’ve recommended upgrading to the Paperwhite if you could afford it, mainly because it had a higher resolution screen than the entry-level Kindle, which allowed text to appear crisper. But with both models now featuring similar screens (at least as far as resolution goes), we may need to revise that recommendation.
The Kindle (2022) is available in black or denim blue.
Read our Kindle (2022) review.
You receive price alerts for Amazon Kindle (2022)
Yes, Amazon’s top-of-the-line Kindle is overpriced for what it is, but when I upgraded from a Kindle Paperwhite to the Oasis a few years ago, I was bowled over by the quality of the device. ‘Oasis in terms of readability and responsiveness.
It has a larger screen and I find the physical page-turning buttons to be much better than swiping. The latest version allows you to adjust the color temperature of the screen (monochromatic), for better night reading.
Amazon has plenty of deals on this and also watch out for trade-in bonuses on old Kindles to get it at a reasonable price.
Read our Kindle Oasis review.
You receive price alerts for Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019)
The Paperwhite is Amazon’s intermediate Kindle, between the base model and the Oasis. Last year it got a big upgrade in the form of a bigger 6.8-inch screen and better battery life, making it my preferred choice because it’s almost as good than the more sophisticated Oasis now.
While the Paperwhite is waterproof and can adjust its display color temperature, the Oasis lacks the physical page-turning buttons.
There’s also an upgraded model, the Signature Edition ($190), with 32GB of storage (up from 8GB) and an auto-adjusting front light. More importantly, it also works with the same Qi wireless charging pads as your phone. Again, expect a sale or a bargain trade on these.
Read our Kindle Paperwhite (2021) review.
The iPad Mini got a facelift last year, with a bigger and better screen (now 8.3-inches), a new processor, optional 5G, and a thinner, lighter design. It’s the perfect size for ebooks, and the color screen makes it a great choice for reading digital comics (ahem, graphic novels). At $500, it’s more expensive than the most sophisticated Kindle reader, but you get a full-fledged iPadOS device that can double as a streaming video player or gaming machine.
Read our review of the iPad Mini (2021).
You are receiving price alerts for the Apple iPad Mini 2021 (space gray, 64 GB)
Amazon has long (until this year) ignored the need for larger e-ink displays, leaving the doors open to brands like Kobo. This 10.3-inch display supports the stylus for note-taking and includes 32GB of storage, 227dpi resolution, and front lighting for nighttime reading.
No, it doesn’t officially support Amazon’s Kindle book format, but it reads key formats like PDF, ePub, MOBI, and CBR, and it works with OverDrive, which is the e-book lending service that most libraries use.
We’ve also collected a few other large-screen E Ink readers here.
You receive price alerts for Kobo Elipsa
Amazon’s latest E Ink reader isn’t on sale yet, but it’s pre-orderable for a slated November 30 launch. I’m very interested in the Scribe because it’s the first large-screen Kindle since the discontinued Kindle DX. It also adds stylus support and has a 10.2-inch 300dpi display (which is the same dpi as other Kindles).
It’s a hefty $329 to start, or up to $419 with an upgraded premium stylus and larger storage options. That’s a lot for a product we haven’t tested or reviewed yet, but it’s also – on paper – the bigger-screen Kindle I’ve been hoping for in years.
Learn more about Kindle Scribe.
You receive price alerts for Kindle Scribe
And once you have an ebook reader, why not fill it with books written by CNET authors? Here are a few to get you started:
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