The Kindle is not the only e-book reader out there, though it is still the market leader.
Technophile: Devices let you hit the e-books
The cover Amazon's electronic book device, the iPad of reading-only, immediately made its mark when it debuted in 2007 and still sets the pace in the market it more or less created. It features a high-contrast grey-and-white "e-ink" screen (meaning it relies on reflected light just like paper books, unlike computers or tablets with backlit screens). The new Pearl design, with a six-inch screen is 21 per cent smaller than the original Kindle.
The library Kindle users have access to a wide selection of books (950,000) that are downloadable over its 3G network. However, the item cannot be shipped directly from amazon.com to the UAE, making the device more suited to travellers or expats who maintain foreign addresses.
The spine The Kindle, which has a text-to-speech feature and can play MP3 audio files, comes in two screen sizes (six-inch and 9.7-inch) and varying price points, the cheapest being ad-supported.
Kobo eReader Touch Edition
The cover This utilitarian, if not feature-rich, e-reader offers a six-inch e-ink screen and weighs less than 200 grams. It comes in several colours, from black to lavender, and also has an SD card slot if you want more space to hold more than 2GB of digital books. And, like most e-readers, international access to content and retailers can be hit or miss, but somewhat oddly, models can be found at amazon.com.
The library The Touch comes with a built-in bookstore with titles available for download via WiFi. Like its higher-end competitors, it also comes with a basic Web browser and a built-in dictionary, but it lacks text-to-speech or other audio features.
The spine The Touch is an affordable Kindle substitute for thrifty bookworms, although the interface can be a bit slow and sluggish at times.
Barnes & Noble Nook Color
The cover For readers who prefer more variety in their visual spectrum, the Nook Color offers a full-colour, seven-inch backlit LCD touchscreen, which makes it seem as much a tablet computer as an e-book reader. It also comes with a microSD expansion slot for all your literary, digital pack rat needs.
The library The Nook's built-in WiFi can access the Barnes & Noble Nookbook store and also comes with a surprisingly useful Web browser that even has Flash support. However, all this packed-in functionality makes the Nook rather heavy for an e-reader - it weighs in at about 400 grams.
The spine Readers who like to multitask will find the Nook Color a great device for reading, and a very useful device for Web browsing if they get bored. However, it's not as well app-supported as Android or iPad devices, so it's best to think of the Nook Color as an e-reader with benefits.