The 5 best Kindles and e-readers we tested in 2021

  • We read novel after novel on several e-readers and Amazon Kindles to find the best e-readers at every price point.
  • A few page-turners later, we found that the Amazon Kindle Oasis remains the absolute best e-reader you can buy in 2021.
  • We also recommend more affordable Kindles and e-readers from Kobo, Amazon’s main competitor.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

To a bookworm, there is no greater pleasure in life than diving into a good book. Although many people still prefer paperbacks, there are those who simply prefer ebooks and e-readers.

Ebook readers have come quite a long way since Amazon’s first Kindle came out in 2007. They are now much faster and more compact. Amazon still offers the widest range of e-readers, but its main competitor, Kobo, has a lot of great e-readers available, too. There is a big difference between the two when it comes to ebook file support – check our FAQ before you commit to one or the other.

I’ve been testing e-readers since 2014 as a tech journalist and book worm. In that time, I’ve tested every new Kindle and Kobo that has hit the market to find the best ones for all kinds of readers. Whether you love page-turning buttons, enjoy reading in the bath, or just want a cheap e-reader for travel, there’s one for you in our buying guide.

Note that all Kindles come in two versions: with special offers and without. If you choose the ones with special offers, you will see ads on the lock screen and potentially elsewhere, but you will save some cash upfront.

Here are the best e-readers and Kindles:

The best e-reader overall

Kindle Oasis

Amazon revolutionized the e-reader with the Kindle Oasis‘ daring design, great page-turn buttons, sharp screen, and giant ebook library.

Pros: Bright screen, page-turning buttons, thin and modern design, robust Kindle ebook store, easy library book access, waterproof, works with Audible

Cons: No EPUB file support and it’s expensive

Although the Paperwhite and Kindle are more budget friendly, Amazon’s Kindle Oasis remains the best e-reader I’ve ever tested. It’s the one I use every day when I’m not testing new contenders.

The Oasis has a modern design that removes the rubbery bezels around the screen and leaves you with a panel of glass and a 7-inch E-Ink screen. The new model is even thinner than the first Oasis and it’s waterproof. 

The asymmetrical design puts two page-turning buttons on the slightly thicker side of the e-reader along with the battery. On the opposite side, the bezel is super thin, as is the e-reader’s body. It is light and easy to hold during hours of reading.

The new adjustable color temperature screen limits the blue light that filters through, which can help prevent eyestrain and sleep disruptions if you’re reading at night. 

Amazon’s Kindle ebook library is very robust, its $9.99/month Kindle Unlimited subscription lets you read as many ebooks as you want. For a limited time, you can get a 2-month subscription of Kindle Unlimited for $5, or 75% off, or a free 30-day trial. Prime Members can also enjoy a selection of free ebooks each month and library books are easy to download once you’ve linked your library card. 

You can also pair the e-reader with Bluetooth headphones to listen to Audible audiobooks.

Kindle Unlimited (Monthly price after free trial) (small)
The best budget Kindle

kindle basic

Amazon updated its basic Kindle, and now that it has a front light, it’s the perfect e-reader for anyone who is on a budget.

Pros: It’s affordable, big Kindle ebook store, long battery life, a good option for kids, front light lets you read in the dark

Cons: A lower-resolution screen, not waterproof

Amazon’s basic Kindle is a great bargain. It may not have the highest resolution screen or water resistance, but it’s still a good e-reader for budget hunters and parents. After years of testing, this basic Kindle still performs perfectly and is a great reading device.

The Kindle comes in both black and white colors. Although the white color is nice, we’ve found that the black one holds up better over time. 

It’s the lightest Kindle in Amazon’s lineup, so it’s very comfortable to hold while reading. The 6-inch screen isn’t as crisp or bright as the Paperwhite’s, so if you have a little more to spend, we recommend you upgrade to the Paperwhite. However, the basic Kindle’s screen is just fine and the built-in front light lets you read at night without having to turn on the lights.

Amazon’s Kindle ebook library has great variety. If you read a lot, the $9.99/month Kindle Unlimited subscription service lets you read as many ebooks as you want. For a limited time, you can get a 2-month subscription of Kindle Unlimited for $5, or 75% off, or a free 30-day trial. Prime Members also get a selection of free ebook titles each month and you can link your library card to borrow ebooks.

Thanks to Bluetooth, you can listen to Audible books from it when you pair wireless headphones. 

Kindle Unlimited (Monthly price after free trial) (small)

 

The best budget e-reader

kobo clara hd

The Kobo Clara HD is an affordable Kindle alternative that supports more ebook formats and has a blue light blocking mode to protect your eyes.

Pros: Supports wide range of book formats, affordable, good size, 

Cons: Slightly pricier than budget Kindle, doesn’t support Kindle files

If you want an affordable ebook reader that supports a wider variety of ebook formats, Kobo’s Clara HD is the e-reader for you. The new Kobo Nia may be a bit cheaper, but it doesn’t perform as well as the Clara HD.

In my testing, this was the clear winner for an e-reader alternative for people who do not want to buy a Kindle.

Its 6-inch screen has a 300-ppi resolution so text is sharp and crisp, plus, the Clara features Kobo’s special ComfortLight PRO tech, which reduces blue light so reading before bed doesn’t disturb your sleep. The Clara HD weighs only 166 grams, so I found it comfortable to hold for long reading periods.

Kobo’s e-readers support 14 file formats, including EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, and CBR. You can also read ebooks in several languages, including English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Brazilian, Portuguese, Japanese, and Turkish.

Some ebooks won’t work, of course, so if you own titles from Amazon’s Kindle store or Apple’s iBooks store, don’t buy this e-reader. Otherwise, Kobo has its own bookstore with more than five million titles to supplement your collection. Borrowing from the library is also effortless, thanks to the app Overdrive, which is built into the e-reader.

The best mid-range Kindle

Amazon Kindle

Amazon’s waterproof Kindle Paperwhite sits in the middle of the Kindle lineup with a sharp 6-inch screen and lots of excellent ebooks.

Pros: Sharp screen, tons of ebooks in Kindle Store, lightweight design, grippy rubber finish, long battery life, Bluetooth for Audible audiobooks

Cons: No EPUB file support

If you want a Kindle but you don’t want to pay top dollar for the Kindle Oasis, the waterproof Kindle Paperwhite is the answer. It’s less than half the price, and if you manage to grab it when it’s on sale, you’ll pay even less.

The Paperwhite has a super sharp 6-inch E Ink screen that’s great for reading. There aren’t any page-turning buttons, so if you hate swiping to turn the page, you ought to get the Oasis instead. The grippy rubber finish makes it easy to hold for hours on end.

When we tested the new Paperwhite, we were impressed with the crisp screen and how bright it was. I still periodically use the Paperwhite to test it, and it’s held up well over time.

Amazon’s Kindle ebook library is robust. If you read more than one ebook a month, you might also want to get the $9.99/month Kindle Unlimited subscription service to read as many ebooks as you want. For a limited time, you can get a 2-month subscription of Kindle Unlimited for $5, or 75% off, or a free 30-day trial

Additionally, Prime Members can access a selection of free ebooks each month. Library books are also easy to download after linking a library card.

It has Bluetooth as well, so you can listen to Audible books from the Paperwhite when you pair it with wireless headphones. 

Kindle Unlimited (Monthly price after free trial) (small)
The best big-screen e-reader

kobo forma

You can read in the bath with the water-resistant Kobo Forma and enjoy your favorite books on its big 8-inch screen.

Pros: Water-resistant design, big screen, blue-light filter, supports EPUB formats, easy to get library books with OneDrive integration, supports graphic novels, and long battery life, page-turning buttons

Cons: It’s pricey and there’s no ebook subscription service

You’ll want to get your hands on the Kobo Forma if you’re not an Amazon user, you typically own EPUB ebooks, you enjoy reading graphic novels, or you want to have access to more file types on your e-reader.

You’re not limited to ebooks from Kobo’s store, either. As long as the file type is supported by Kobo, you can drag and drop the content from your computer onto the Kobo when they’re connected with a USB-to-Micro-USB cable. The Forma even has the popular library app OneDrive pre-installed, so you can easily connect your library account on your e-reader. 

Perhaps the best thing about the Kobo Forma is that it is water-resistant enough to take in the bath or to the beach. 

The large 8-inch screen is crisp, sharp, and even offers a blue-light filter to help minimize the amount of blue light the screen emits. This can help lessen eye strain and sleep disruptions.

The Forma also has page-turning buttons like the Kindle Oasis, which make it easier to read one-handed. It’s also the thinnest ebook-reader Kobo makes, so it’s very portable.

What else we considered

Kobo Libra H2O e reader on bookshelf wide view

I’ve tested ebook readers since 2014 during my time as a tech journalist. Over the years, I’ve tested dozens of e-readers by Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. Here are the other e-readers we considered for this guide, and why they didn’t make the cut.

Other e-readers we recommend:

Kobo Libra H2O: Its 7-inch Carta E-Ink touchscreen is manageable to hold, and the screen is super sharp with a 300 pixel-per-inch pixel density that mimics print. It’s waterproof and more affordable than the Kobo Forma, though pricier than the entry-level Clara HD and Nia.

Amazon Kindle Kids’ Edition: The kids’ version of Amazon popular basic Kindle is more or less the same, but it comes with a special kids’ case, a year’s subscription to Amazon Kids+ (FreeTime Unlimited), and two-year guarantee that covers damage. For parents, these kid-friendly features may be worth the extra money, but we still think the regular budget Kindle is good enough and it’s cheaper.

Kobo Nia: The Kobo Nia is an affordable Kindle alternative that supports more ebook formats and comes with enough storage to hold up 6,000 ebooks. It’s still a decent budget e-reader, but the resolution is lower, making the text less crisp, and it has a slower processor that can make searching for titles irritating. 

E-readers we don’t recommend:

Barnes & Noble Nook GlowLight 3: The downfall of the Nook is that it is tied to Barnes & Noble’s ebook store, which is not as robust or budget-friendly as the Kindle ebook store or the Kobo ebook store. The Nook is also more expensive than the entry-level Kindle and Kobo e-readers we recommend, but doesn’t have any cool features to justify the extra money.

Kobo Aura Edition 2: The Kobo Aura isn’t waterproof and it has half the amount of storage, so we recommend the Aura H20 Edition 2 instead. 

Sony Digital Paper: Sony’s Digital Paper is an expensive, but intriguing 10-inch e-reader that doubles as something of a smart notebook. It’s more of a smart notebook than an e-reader, though, and the price makes us hesitate to recommend it, even though it is certainly cool. 

Onyx Boox Nova Pro (currently unavailable): Like Sony Digital Paper, Onyx Boox straddles the line between e-reader and smart notebook. This one is 7.8-inches in size, so it’s smaller and cheaper than the Sony model. 

Older Kindles: Amazon has discontinued older Kindles like the Voyage, the 8th-gen Kindle without a backlight, and the original Oasis. Since they’re no longer available, we don’t recommend them.

How we test e-readers

kindle kids

To state the obvious, to test an e-reader, you need to read on it — a lot! But there is a lot more to it than just that. Here’s what we look for when we test e-readers.

  • Is it easy to set up?
  • Is it easy to get ebooks on the device to read?
  • How wide is the selection of compatible ebooks?
  • Can you get ebooks from other sources (like the library) on the device easily?
  • What special features does it have (Bluetooth for audiobooks, adjustable light, etc)?
  • How long does the battery last and how long does it take to recharge?
  • Is it comfortable to hold while reading for hours at a time?
  • Is the text clear and can it be enlarged as needed?
  • Is the screen bright enough to read in the dark?
  • If it’s rated for water resistance, does it survive a dunk in the tub?
  • Is it good to travel with, based on its durability, weight, and portability?

First, we set up the e-readers and download ebooks on them from a variety of sources, including the built-in ebook store, the library, Project Gutenberg, PDFs, and articles online. We note how easy or difficult the process is and we pay attention to the ebook selection available to ensure that popular titles and classics are readily available.

Then, we read on them until we run out of battery, paying attention to how long that takes, using the brightness setting recommended by the manufacturer. We then charge the e-readers and time how long they take to recharge.

After that, we check how long the battery lasts when we read at whatever brightness we need for however long we like to see how the e-readers handle extreme book reading binges. We also test special features like adjustable lighting, Bluetooth audiobooks, and so on.

If an e-reader claims to be water resistant, we test the claim by dunking it in a tub of water for the time it’s rated to withstand. For further durability tests, we travel around with the e-readers in our work bags and travel bags without cases. We also drop them from the height of a bed, chair, and table to see how they handle falling.

The most important test is obviously what it’s like to read on the e-reader, but all these other factors matter, too.

E-reader FAQs

Is Kindle or Kobo better?

Kindle and Kobo are both excellent e-readers. They are fairly evenly matched in terms of features, book selection, and hardware pricing. The main advantage of Kobo is that it supports the more readily available EPUB format natively, while Kindle does not. It is also easier to borrow ebooks on a Kobo e-reader with OverDrive integration. If you do not want to buy ebooks from Amazon, you already have a collection of EPUB-format ebooks, or you prefer library books, Kobo is the better option for you. Alternatively, if you already have Amazon’s Kindle ebooks, Kindles are the better choice because Amazon’s ebook format is not supported on the Kobo e-readers. It is also really easy to get library books on Kindle, though it does take an extra step.

Should I get an e-reader or a tablet?

If you read regularly, you should get an e-reader instead of a tablet. Not only do e-readers have E INK screens that are easier on the eye, but they also provide zero distractions from your reading material. When you read on a tablet, it’s easy to get distracted, go check email, hop on social media, and lose your focus while reading. E-readers also have longer battery life so you can read more between charges. However, know that all the platforms offer an app for iOS, Android, and more, which means you can put down an e-reader before you go to bed and continue reading on your phone, tablet, or computer during a lunch break.

What is the best e-reader for library books?

Kobo’s e-readers are the best e-readers for library books. They have a library book borrowing app called OverDrive installed so it’s super easy to download library books for free. However, it is also very easy to borrow ebooks on a Kindle, too. It just takes a few extra steps.

What is the cheapest ebook reader?

The Kindle is the cheapest ebook reader we recommend in our guide. Its full retail price is $90 and it frequently goes on sale or less. Kobo also has a cheap e-reader called the Kobo Nia for $100 full retail price, but we recommend spending a bit more on the Kobo Clara HD, which costs $110 full retail price, if you prefer a Kobo to a Kindle.

Is there a color e-reader?

Yes, there are a few, but they are harder to find and buy in the US. Color e-readers are still in their infancy and the colors displayed do not rival those of the LCD or OLED screens on phones and tablets. The site Good EReader lists several color e-reader options, some of which you can buy through its online store. I have not yet tested any of these e-readers.

The best deals on e-readers and Kindles from this guide

E-readers make reading easy. They can fit an entire library and don’t need to be charged for weeks. Better still, these devices are now pretty affordable and see discounts of up to $20 regularly — for all-time lows, you’ll need to wait for Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday. Last year, we saw our top pick, the Kindle Oasis, drop to $175, a huge $75 discount.  

To save money on your favorite reads — we rounded up the best deals on our favorite e-readers below. After testing a bunch, we’re recommending our top e-readers below, with savings of up to 21%. 

Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.

Read our top Kindle how-tos for more tips and tricks

Kobo Nia e reader
Read the original article on Business Insider

The best early Kindle deals for Amazon Prime Day 2021, plus what to expect to go on sale tomorrow

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Kids Kindle Cover on Bed - Kindle Deals on Prime Day 2021
These are the best Kindle deals during Prime Day 2021.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Amazon Prime Day 2021 is almost here, and the annual shopping holiday is usually synonymous with deals on Amazon products. Amazon’s line of Kindle e-readers is no exception, and we’re already starting to see some early discounts.

Last year, we saw plenty of deals on various Kindle models and bundles, as well as Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited subscription service. Kindle devices were up to 30% off and we anticipate similar discounts during Prime Day 2021.

Prime Day isn’t here yet, but Amazon is already offering deals on select Kindle bundles. We anticipate that better deals on Kindle devices will be coming closer to Prime Day, and we’ll update this story as they appear.

If you’re looking for discounts on more than just e-readers, check out our Amazon Prime Day 2021 hub page for all the latest deals during the sale. Learn more about how Insider Reviews researches deals and tests products.

The best early Prime Day 2021 Kindle bundle deals

If you’re planning to give a child a new Kindle or gift it to a friend, you may want to grab a bundle with a case and power adapter to complete the package.

The Paperwhite Essential Bundle adds a leather cover and a power adapter for charging, while the Kindle Kids Edition Essential Bundle comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, as well as a cover, screen protector, and charger. Amazon is also offering discounts on the essential bundles for its standard Kindle and the Kindle Oasis, both of which come with a power adapter and cover.

These bundles are on sale right now, but we expect better deals when Prime Day 2021 begins. Last year, the Kindle Paperwhite Essentials bundle was $70 off and the Kindle Kids Edition Essentials bundle was $50 off.

Paperwhite Essentials Bundle (medium)Kindle Essentials Bundle (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Kindle Oasis Essentials Bundle (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Top early Prime Day Amazon Kindle Unlimited deals

Amazon occasionally offers ebook credit when you buy a new Kindle or subscribe to Amazon Prime. During last year’s Prime Day, select Kindle purchases came with a $5 credit, and Prime members were able to choose two free Kindle books from a list.

Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service offering thousands of ebooks and magazines, also had a special offer during Prime Day. New members can try a 30-day free trial, or get two months of Kindle Unlimited for $5. That’s $15 (75%) off the regular price. While that’s a solid promotion, a better deal could be available on Prime Day.

Kindle Unlimited Subscription (2 Months) (medium)

Some Amazon Prime Day 2021 Kindle deals are not live right now

Kindle tops our list of the best e-readers, with prices normally starting at $90 for the basic ad-supported model. During the last Prime Day sale, Kindle devices were discounted by 30% or more, including $75 off the Kindle Oasis (normally $250), $50 off the Kindle Paperwhite (normally $130), and $30 off the basic Kindle (normally $90).

While there are no current deals on Kindles, we expect big discounts when Prime Day 2021 starts on June 21.

All-New Kindle (medium)Kindle Oasis (medium)Kindle Paperwhite (medium)Kindle Kids Edition (medium)

Frequently asked questions

When is Amazon Prime Day 2021?

Amazon Prime Day 2021 will begin on June 21 and run through June 22. We’ll be keeping track of the best deals as Prime Day approaches and throughout the shopping event.

Prime Day deals are exclusive to Amazon Prime subscribers, so you’ll need to sign up to get these Kindle discounts. Amazon Prime normally costs $13 a month or $120 per year, but new users can get their first 30 days of Prime with full benefits for free.

Prime Monthly Subscription (small)

How to shop for a Kindle

When shopping for the best Kindle or e-reader, start by figuring out how frequently you think you’ll use it, and where. If you only plan to occasionally use your Kindle at home, you might not need to pay more for the Paperwhite’s extra features like backlighting and water resistance, which can come in handy if you’re reading on a camping trip or beach day.

You can save $20 by buying an ad-supported Kindle, but I don’t recommend it; the savings feel good at purchase but the long-term annoyance of uncontrollable ads on your home screen is a steep price to pay, and it’s even worse when giving a Kindle as a gift.

If you’re not a frequent reader, you may want to download the free Kindle app and try downloading a few ebooks to read on your phone, tablet, or computer. You may realize you’re just fine without a dedicated reading device, or maybe you want a bigger color screen for comic books and magazines, like the Fire HD 10 tablet.

Kindle Unlimited offers a ton of magazines and ebooks at a tempting price, but think about whether you’ll have time to dig into all of that material before you invest in the subscription. If you want, you can test out a free 30-day trial, or try a 2-month subscription for $5 as part of a Prime Day deal (normally $9.99 per month).

Also, keep in mind that Kindle is Amazon’s brand of e-reader, but it’s not the only one out there. For example, Kobo earned top marks in our buying guide with its large screen and water-resistant models.

Kindle Trade-In: how to trade your old Kindle for Amazon Credit

Amazon offers an upgrade program for Kindle owners to trade in their old devices for store credit and get a 20% discount on a new model.

The amount you’ll receive for your trade-in will depend on how old your Kindle is, and it will be applied to your account as an Amazon gift card. A separate credit for 20% off a new Kindle will also be added to your Kindle account, regardless of how old or broken your Kindle is, and you can apply that to Prime Day discounts.

Most Kindle models are worth between $5 and $25 in Amazon trade-in credit, while the latest Kindle Oasis can be traded for $75.

More Amazon Prime Day 2021 Kindle deals

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best Kindle deals we expect on Amazon Prime Day 2021, plus early deals you can shop right now

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Kids Kindle Cover on Bed - Kindle Deals on Prime Day 2021
These are the best Kindle deals during Prime Day 2021.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Amazon Prime Day 2021 is almost here, and the annual shopping holiday is usually synonymous with deals on Amazon products. Amazon’s line of Kindle e-readers is no exception, and we’re already starting to see some early discounts.

Last year, we saw plenty of deals on various Kindle models and bundles, as well as Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited subscription service. Kindle devices were up to 30% off and we anticipate similar discounts during Prime Day 2021.

Prime Day isn’t here yet, but Amazon is already offering deals on select Kindle bundles. We anticipate that better deals on Kindle devices will be coming closer to Prime Day, and we’ll update this story as they appear.

If you’re looking for discounts on more than just e-readers, check out our Amazon Prime Day 2021 hub page for all the latest deals during the sale. Learn more about how Insider Reviews researches deals and tests products.

Amazon Prime Day Kindle deals right now

Kindle tops our list of the best e-readers, with prices normally starting at $90 for the basic ad-supported model. During the last Prime Day sale, Kindle devices were discounted by 30% or more, including $75 off the Kindle Oasis (normally $250), $50 off the Kindle Paperwhite (normally $130), and $30 off the basic Kindle (normally $90).

While there are no current deals on Kindles, we expect big discounts when Prime Day 2021 starts on June 21.

All-New Kindle (medium)Kindle Oasis (medium)Kindle Paperwhite (medium)Kindle Kids Edition (medium)

Best early Prime Day Kindle bundle deals

If you’re planning to give a child a new Kindle or gift it to a friend, you may want to grab a bundle with a case and power adapter to complete the package.

The Paperwhite Essential Bundle adds a leather cover and a power adapter for charging, while the Kindle Kids Edition Essential Bundle comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, as well as a cover, screen protector, and charger. Amazon is also offering discounts on the essential bundles for its standard Kindle and the Kindle Oasis, both of which come with a power adapter and cover.

These bundles are on sale right now, but we expect better deals when Prime Day 2021 begins. Last year, the Kindle Paperwhite Essentials bundle was $70 off and the Kindle Kids Edition Essentials bundle was $50 off.

Paperwhite Essentials Bundle (medium)Kindle Essentials Bundle (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Kindle Oasis Essentials Bundle (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Top early Prime Day Amazon Kindle Unlimited deals

Amazon occasionally offers ebook credit when you buy a new Kindle or subscribe to Amazon Prime. During last year’s Prime Day, select Kindle purchases came with a $5 credit, and Prime members were able to choose two free Kindle books from a list.

Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service offering thousands of ebooks and magazines, also had a special offer during Prime Day. New members can try a 30-day free trial, or get two months of Kindle Unlimited for $5. That’s $15 (75%) off the regular price. While that’s a solid promotion, a better deal could be available on Prime Day.

Kindle Unlimited Subscription (2 Months) (medium)

Frequently asked questions

When is Amazon Prime Day 2021?

Amazon Prime Day 2021 will begin on June 21 and run through June 22. We’ll be keeping track of the best deals as Prime Day approaches and throughout the shopping event.

Prime Day deals are exclusive to Amazon Prime subscribers, so you’ll need to sign up to get these Kindle discounts. Amazon Prime normally costs $13 a month or $120 per year, but new users can get their first 30 days of Prime with full benefits for free.

Prime Monthly Subscription (small)

How to shop for a Kindle

When shopping for the best Kindle or e-reader, start by figuring out how frequently you think you’ll use it, and where. If you only plan to occasionally use your Kindle at home, you might not need to pay more for the Paperwhite’s extra features like backlighting and water resistance, which can come in handy if you’re reading on a camping trip or beach day.

You can save $20 by buying an ad-supported Kindle, but I don’t recommend it; the savings feel good at purchase but the long-term annoyance of uncontrollable ads on your home screen is a steep price to pay, and it’s even worse when giving a Kindle as a gift.

If you’re not a frequent reader, you may want to download the free Kindle app and try downloading a few ebooks to read on your phone, tablet, or computer. You may realize you’re just fine without a dedicated reading device, or maybe you want a bigger color screen for comic books and magazines, like the Fire HD 10 tablet.

Kindle Unlimited offers a ton of magazines and ebooks at a tempting price, but think about whether you’ll have time to dig into all of that material before you invest in the subscription. If you want, you can test out a free 30-day trial, or try a 2-month subscription for $5 as part of a Prime Day deal (normally $9.99 per month).

Also, keep in mind that Kindle is Amazon’s brand of e-reader, but it’s not the only one out there. For example, Kobo earned top marks in our buying guide with its large screen and water-resistant models.

Kindle Trade-In: how to trade your old Kindle for Amazon Credit

Amazon offers an upgrade program for Kindle owners to trade in their old devices for store credit and get a 20% discount on a new model.

The amount you’ll receive for your trade-in will depend on how old your Kindle is, and it will be applied to your account as an Amazon gift card. A separate credit for 20% off a new Kindle will also be added to your Kindle account, regardless of how old or broken your Kindle is, and you can apply that to Prime Day discounts.

Most Kindle models are worth between $5 and $25 in Amazon trade-in credit, while the latest Kindle Oasis can be traded for $75.

More Amazon Prime Day 2021 Kindle deals

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best Kindle deals we expect on Amazon Prime Day 2021

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

kindle kids
These are the best Kindle deals during Prime Day 2021.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Amazon Prime Day 2021 is nearly here, and you can expect discounts on Amazon’s family of Kindle e-readers throughout the annual shopping holiday.

Last year, we saw plenty of deals on various Kindle models and bundles, as well as Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited subscription service. Kindle devices were up to 30% off and we anticipate similar discounts during Prime Day 2021.

Though the exact date for Prime Day 2021 isn’t set just yet, we’ll update this post as soon as Kindle deals appear. If you’re looking for discounts on more than just e-readers, check out our Amazon Prime Day 2021 hub page for all the latest deals during the sale.

Frequently asked questions

When is Amazon Prime Day 2021?

Amazon Prime Day 2021 is expected to begin in June 2021, but the exact date hasn’t been confirmed. We’ll be keeping track of the best deals as Prime Day approaches and throughout the shopping event.

Prime Day deals are exclusive to Amazon Prime subscribers, so you’ll need to sign up to get these Kindle discounts. Amazon Prime normally costs $13 a month or $120 per year, but new users can get their first 30 days of Prime with full benefits for free.

Prime Monthly Subscription (small)

How to shop for a Kindle or an e-reader

When shopping for the best Kindle or e-reader, start by figuring out how frequently you plan to use it, and where. If you only plan to use your Kindle casually at home, you might not need to pay more for the Paperwhite’s extra features like backlighting and water resistance.

You can save $20 buying an ad-supported Kindle, but I don’t recommend it; the savings feel good at purchase but the long-term annoyance of uncontrollable ads on your home screen is a steep price to pay, and it’s even worse when giving a Kindle as a gift.

If you’re not a frequent reader, you may want to download the free Kindle app and try downloading a few ebooks to read on your phone or another device. You may realize you’re just fine without a dedicated reading device, or maybe you want a bigger color screen for comic books and magazines, like the Fire HD 10 tablet.

Kindle Unlimited offers a ton of magazines and ebooks at a tempting price, but think about whether you’ll have time to dig into all of that material before you invest in the subscription.

Also, keep in mind that Kindle is Amazon’s brand of e-reader, but it’s not the only one out there. For example, Kobo earned top marks in our buying guide with its large screen and water-resistant models.

How to trade in an old Kindle for Amazon credit

Amazon offers an upgrade program for Kindle owners to trade-in their old devices for store credit and get a 20% discount on a new model.

The amount you’ll receive for your trade-in will depend on how old your Kindle is, and it will be applied to your account as an Amazon gift card. A separate credit for 20% off a new Kindle will also be added to your Kindle account, regardless of how old or broken your Kindle is, and you can apply that to Prime Day discounts.

Most Kindle models are worth between $5 and $25 in Amazon trade-in credit, while the latest Kindle Oasis can be traded for $75.

The best Amazon deals on Kindles right now

Kindle tops our list of the best e-readers, with prices normally starting at $90 for the basic ad-supported model. During the last Prime Day sale Kindle devices were discounted by 30% or more, including $75 off the Kindle Oasis (normally $250), $50 off the Kindle Paperwhite (normally $130), and $30 off the basic Kindle (normally $90).

While there are no current deals on Kindles, we expect big discounts when Prime Day 2021 starts in June.

All-New Kindle (medium)Kindle Oasis (medium)Kindle Paperwhite (medium)Kindle Kids Edition (medium)

The best Amazon deals on Kindle bundles right now

If you’re planning to give a child a new Kindle or gift it to a friend, you may want to grab a bundle with a case and power adapter to complete the package.

The Paperwhite Essential Bundle adds a leather cover and a power adapter for charging, while the Kindle Kids Edition Essential Bundle comes with a one-year subscription to Amazon Kids+, as well as a cover, screen protector, and charger.

Both bundles are on sale right now, but we expect better deals when Prime Day 2021 begins. Last year, the Kindle Paperwhite Essentials bundle was $70 off and the Kindle Kids Edition Essentials bundle was $50 off.

Paperwhite Essentials Bundle (medium)Kindle Kids Edition Essentials Bundle (medium)

The best Amazon deals on Kindle Unlimited and ebooks right now

Amazon occasionally offers ebook credit when you buy a new Kindle or subscribe to Amazon Prime. During last year’s Prime Day, select Kindle purchases came with a $5 credit, and Prime members were able to choose two free Kindle books from a set list.

Kindle Unlimited, a subscription service offering thousands of ebooks and magazines, also had a special offer during Prime Day. New subscribers could get one free month, and Prime members could get 50% off a six-month subscription.

Right now, new members can get two months of Kindle Unlimited for $5. That’s $15 off the regular price. While that’s a solid promotion, a better deal could be available on Prime Day 2021.

Kindle Unlimited (Monthly price after free trial) (medium)

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I’ve tested Amazon’s entry-level Kindle for a year, and it’s the best e-reader for less than $100

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How to send PDF to Kindle
The basic Kindle is an affordable e-reader with a front-lit screen.

  • The Amazon Kindle is a great entry-level e-reader for people who don’t want to spend more than $100 on a reading device.
  • It can hold thousands of ebooks, has a sharp screen with front lights for reading at night, and includes most of the same features as more expensive Kindles.
  • I’ve been reading on it for the past year, and think it’s the best e-reader for people on a budget.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

If you’ve been unsure about ebooks but want to give them a try, Amazon’s basic, entry-level Kindle is a solid option. It’s relatively inexpensive, often goes on sale, and is super easy to use. Now that it has a front light for reading at night and Amazon’s nifty new Bluetooth Audible audiobook feature, it’s a much better e-reader.

Although I still recommend the top-of-the-line Oasis and the mid-range Paperwhite, most people simply do not need the extra features like water resistance, page-turning buttons, or adjustable screen color gradients that block blue light. So long as none of those features I just mentioned jump out at you as must-haves, the basic Kindle is likely a smart choice for you.

As a tech journalist, I’ve tested just about every new Kindle and Kobo e-reader that’s launched since 2014. I’ve been testing the basic Kindle for a year now, and I’ve been perfectly happy with it. I typically read on the much more expensive Oasis, and I only miss three things: the page-turning buttons, the water resistance, and the screen’s better lighting options.

Specifications

KIndle dimensions
Amazon’s basic Kindle is the same size as the more expensive Paperwhite.

Design, setup, and interface

The setup process for the Kindle is quite easy: You simply charge it, start it up, connect to your Wi-Fi, log into your Amazon account (or make one if you somehow don’t have one yet), and start buying and downloading ebooks. Adding ebooks from your local library or other free ebook sites, like Project Gutenberg, require more steps, but it’s also quite simple. We have tips on how to use your Kindle and get free ebooks on it here.

Once you’ve finished downloading what you want to read, you can turn off the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to preserve the battery – I usually put my Kindle in Airplane mode for that reason. If you want to listen to Audible audiobooks by pairing your Kindle to some wireless headphones, you’ll need Bluetooth turned on, though.

After that’s done, you can happily read your ebooks for about four weeks before you need to charge it again. Of course, if you have the brightness on higher than 13, your battery life will run out sooner. I rarely need to amp up the brightness past 13, though, and you likely won’t either. Using the Bluetooth Audible feature also knocks the battery life down by a couple weeks, depending on how often you use it.

What it’s like to read on Kindle

kindle basic
I like to highlight my favorite quotations while I read on the Kindle.

One of the best things about the Kindle is just how comfortable it is to hold while reading. Its soft, grippy plastic body is just the right size, and its bezels give my thumbs a space to rest on between page turns. I have smaller hands, so I prefer to hold it with two hands or hold it one-handed while it’s propped up on a cozy pillow, tabletop, or what have you.

You can get a case for it to protect it from scratches and to ensure that the screen doesn’t accidentally get turned on while it’s in your bag, but it isn’t totally necessary. The main downside of the basic Kindle versus the Paperwhite and Oasis is that it isn’t water resistant, so water will damage it. However, so long as you don’t drop it in the pool or bath, it should be fine.

Although I personally prefer the page-turning buttons on the Kindle Oasis to having to swipe to turn the page, swiping is easy and effective. The Kindle’s screen is very responsive, so a light swipe or tap easily registers, and the page turns seamlessly. 

One of my favorite Kindle features is the ability to highlight quotations and share them on Goodreads, a social media site for avid readers. It’s also easy to look up the definition of words you don’t know, which is a helpful tool for kids who are learning to read – not to mention adults who are expanding their vocabulary.

I really appreciate that the entry-level Kindle also has the Bluetooth connection for Audible just like the more expensive models. It’s a welcome feature for those who like to use both audiobooks and ebooks. I was able to connect my wireless headphones to the Kindle in just a few minutes and get listening.

Front lights are great for reading at night

In the past, entry-level Kindles didn’t have built-in lighting, so it was harder to read in low light or at night. The new front light on the basic Kindle is a game-changer. I can read easily in total darkness or in the dim evening light. That said, I can definitively say that it is not as gentle or uniform a light as the Paperwhite’s or the Oasis’, but it’ll do.

The light is less precise on the basic Kindle because it only has 4 LED lights versus the 5 on the Paperwhite and the 25 on the Oasis. The lights are also located inside the chunky bezel instead of built in behind the screen like they are on the Paperwhite and Oasis, so the cast of the light is different. It’s more like using an attachable book light. Because of the location of the lights, if you read a lot at night, you may want to consider the Paperwhite instead.

The screen is a little more than half the resolution of the Paperwhite and Oasis, so it isn’t quite as crisp, but you’re unlikely to notice unless you’re looking very, very closely at the devices next to each other. The basic Kindle also comes with half the storage, so you may run out of space if you download thousands upon thousands of ebooks, but it seems unlikely. And, even if you do, you can simply delete older digital tomes in favor of new ebooks and redownload them any time you want because they live in the cloud.

Should you buy it? 

Yes, if you want to save money and get the most affordable Amazon Kindle. The new front light makes it worth buying because it’s easier to read at night or in low light. However, if you do have more money to spend, we don’t think you’d regret getting the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite instead.

Which model should you get?

If you really hate ads on your lockscreen, you may want to pay extra for the ad-free version, but it’s not necessary, as the ads aren’t really intrusive.

What are your alternatives? 

The other, more expensive Kindles are also excellent. The Amazon Kindle Paperwhite is a fantastic upgrade with its water-resistance and back-lit screen that’s easier on the eyes at night. Although the Amazon Kindle Oasis is my personal favorite, we know that most people won’t want to spend that much on an e-reader. If you don’t want to get an Amazon-based ebook reader, we recommend the Kobo Clara HD. Kobo is Amazon’s main competitor, and it supports more ebook formats, including EPUB files.

The bottom line

The entry-level Kindle is a fine choice for people who are looking to save some money and those who are trying ebooks for the first time. It’s a joy to read on the Kindle, and it’s very easy to use. After a year of testing, it’s still in great shape and works just as well as it did when it first arrived in the mail. 

Pros: Affordable – especially when on sale, access to tons of ebooks, the front light makes reading at night easy, supports many ebook formats, easy to use, comfortable to hold, long battery life, Audible for ebooks

Cons: No backlight, not water resistant

 

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How to get library books on your Kindle for free and borrow the latest titles

Kindle in library
If you have a library account, you can borrow ebooks and read them on your Kindle.

  • You can get library books on a Kindle device through Amazon’s partnership with OverDrive, as long as you have a library membership with a participating institution.
  • You can download library books on your Kindle through your library’s website or using the OverDrive website. 
  • Not all libraries offer Kindle support, and some titles might be restricted and thus unavailable to download on your Kindle. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

While Amazon’s Kindle allows owners to purchase or rent ebooks from the company itself, some people may not know that access to your latest favorites on your e-reader is only a library card away. Those with a membership at their local library can access electronic books for free, thanks to Amazon’s partnership with OverDrive. 

It should be noted that not all libraries support the OverDrive lending system, so you’ll need to verify that yours does before proceeding. Additionally, some Kindle Books such as picture books, read-alongs, and graphic novels will not be supported by the Kindle app or some devices. 

When checking out a book, whether through your library or the OverDrive site, you’ll want to find a “Device restrictions” link, or something similar, under the “Available formats” section to confirm compatibility. You can also read the book, once borrowed, within the OverDrive app if you don’t have your Kindle handy.

Once all of that is in place, you’re ready to get started. Here’s how to read library books on your Kindle. 

What you need to read library ebooks on your Kindle 

Checking out ebooks through OverDrive is a relatively straightforward process, but you will need a few things in addition to your library membership before proceeding. 

  • A Kindle device, the Kindle Cloud Reader, or the Kindle app, which is available for iOS and Android devices.  
  • An access pin to the OverDrive catalog, which can be obtained from your library. 
  • A Wi-Fi connection or a computer and USB cord through which to load your borrowed books onto your Kindle device

How to check out library books on a Kindle through your library’s website

1. Visit the website of your local library and log into your account. 

2. Use the library website’s search tool to find eBooks or Kindle books. 

how to get library books on your kindle 2
You can browse your library’s digital collections for Kindle ebooks the same way you browse for other titles.

3. Follow the website’s instructions for checking them out. This will usually involve going to a title’s details page and hitting the “Borrow” link. 

how to get library books on your kindle 1
You will need to use the “Borrow” link to begin the process for loaning out the ebook to read on your Kindle.

4. During checkout, there should be an option to sign in to your Amazon account with your username and password. Follow the process, including selecting the Kindle device you would like your book(s) to be sent to. 

5. Check that your Kindle is connected to WiFi. 

6. Finally, download the library book via the device’s Archived Items or Cloud section, both of which can be accessed through your Kindle’s settings. 

How to check out library books for your Kindle through the OverDrive website 

1. Go to www.overdrive.com and sign in. 

2. Open your library’s digital collection. 

3. Search for and find the book you want to borrow using the site’s advanced search, format filter, or by visiting an ebook’s details page and verifying that Kindle is an available format.  

4. Titles will appear in two different formats. One will feature only an image of the book cover with the title and author. The other will feature the book cover, title, and author, with a designation that it’s an “Ebook” and a link to “Borrow” it.  

5. If the format you see has the “Borrow” link, click it. 

6. If prompted, sign in to your library account. 

7. If a lending period is available, select it now. 

8. Choose “Borrow” again.

9. If the format only features the cover, author and title, click or tap the “More” option to be redirected to the ebook’s details page. 

10. Select “Borrow” before signing in to your library account, if prompted. 

11. Go to your Account dashboard and access the Checkouts page. 

12. The process for both formats should now be the same, and you should see the option to “Read now with Kindle.” Click that link. 

13. You’ll be redirected to Amazon’s site. If you aren’t signed in, do so. 

14. Choose “Get Library Book” and verify that the “Deliver to:” device is your Kindle if prompted. 

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