E-readers forum

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What e-reader would you recommend for kids?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 14, 2013 9:52 AM PDT
What e-reader would you recommend for kids?

I was looking online for a PBS show on the Lipizzaner horses, and like always, it led me on another search. (Am I unique?) Somehow that led me to Marguerite Henry's book on the breed. Which led me to thinking of e-readers for my 7- & 8-year-old nephews.

I loved reading as a child and my relatives would encourage that love, so I want to pass it on to the boys. So what reader would be appropriate for two active boys?

I have an iPad that I love for iBooks and the ePub files format. My dad has a Kindle Fire that he likes. I am a firm believer of having electronics do "multiple use" functions. But when I think of the boys I want them to use it for reading, not games. I remember how colorful children's books were when I was a child. How I love the drawings, and would thumb to them first.

I guess I am asking: Is there a good, sturdily built e-reader that is in color that active boys might enjoy and not break easily. They do love video games, but I DO NOT need another way for them to play games. (My budget) is under $100.00, and closer to $50 so if it is broken I won't regret the purchase if it is broken. I have a niece and nephew in their 20s and remember lessons taught. I still want to be able to afford to buy books for them also.

I think I have heard that some e-readers allow sharing of books. That would be wonderful. I know at one time public library's were sharing e-books so I will have to research that to see what file type is used. I don't borrow only because I am a hoarder of books and like to keep them. I hate reading a book and not being able to find it again when I want to reread it. Thanks!

--Submitted by: Holly P.
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Depends what you want.
by Justin400 / June 14, 2013 10:11 AM PDT

For color i would go with a nexus 7 or a kindle paperwhite for black and white. I have a nexus 7 and it is great for almost everything

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An e reader for kids?
by pauly1651 / June 21, 2013 12:35 PM PDT
In reply to: Depends what you want.

Go to the library.
Get some kids books.
Read to them.
Have them read the books.
Nothing can replace the real thing.
Tech gizmos are fine, but books are so much better, especially when you spend time with your children.

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Books are the best
by Prof321 / June 22, 2013 12:14 PM PDT
In reply to: An e reader for kids?

You can lend to a friend. If it drops in a puddle, no muddle.
Enough rhyming - also if it's lost or stolen your account can't be hacked, and a loss is low cost.

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eReaders are sometimes very appropriate over paper.
by tpatten / June 3, 2016 1:00 PM PDT
In reply to: An e reader for kids?

There are plenty of reasons to get an eReader as opposed to using books on all occasions. I've built a library in a 3rd world country before and it's expensive to get the books over there. My very young daughter goes through 30 books a sitting at her reading level. My son goes through 30 books a week at 8 grade levels above his class.

They're going to be spending 36 hours on planes soon. They'll be spending several months in the area we built the library. Even with those books, there's still not enough books to keep them occupied for 4 months.

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The best reader for children is??
by jereese / June 14, 2013 12:00 PM PDT

As a parent of boy and girl plus 7 grand-kids, the best reader is you. I believe when dad or mom reads a book to your children, you are sharing time and knowledge of your life. An e-reader is very poor choice and doesn't replace the parent. Take time to read aloud and add your own story to the pages. Later in life, this time reading will be share many times over. The books I read to my children are same ones I read to my grand-kids. A parent reader never breaks or need re-charging. My children like me to read jokes or silly stories or part of History. I love to read stories about a place which we are planning to visit.

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by Zouch / June 14, 2013 7:15 PM PDT

I couldn't agree more with this reply - there is time enough for kids to get into Gizmoland. We spent many happy hours reading real books to our two boys from pre-school right through infant and junior school. The joy of discussing the story with them, skipping back a few pages to review some detail of an earlier picture, just the feel of a real book, there is NO electronic substitute! And after a hard day at work, what better than to be net at the door by a toddler clutching a little book he wants to read WITH YOU.

And just for a smile, here's a link to a short video comparing paper to electronics:


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The best reader for children is...
by anniemcd59 / June 14, 2013 8:49 PM PDT

Yes, I agree with jereese. Read to them while they are young with paper books. Because once you get the e-reader it will be used as a game player. I'm a school bus driver and I have elementary school age children that own Iphones, Ipods, smartphones and other electronic devices; they are not using them to read any kind of book.
Their eyes are constantly on the gadget. The kids have better phones than I have. But enough of that rant.
My oldest son loved when I read to him.He had his favorite book, sadly I miss those simpler times. He is going to be 21. He forgot about his favorite book.I reminded him of the book, he smiled," yes it was a nice book Mom".
So yes, get a library card and get the old fashioned readers, a book.
The Library is free, and it's fun. It will give you and your nephews some great memories to share together.

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Read to them!
by tfitzmauro / June 21, 2013 11:01 AM PDT

Indeed, the love of books will come from you reading to them. Kids need to unplug and just wind down sometimes. If you even have to consider that the device will be broken, they aren't ready to own one. Let them discover books, display some self-restraint and consideration of electronics and then they will be ready.

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Point well made, but...
by Cleon7177 / June 21, 2013 12:30 PM PDT

Your point is well made, but Holly did say that the device was for her nephews. We are probably assuming that she lives with them, too.

The discussion is interesting, nonetheless - just this week I was looking at a 7" tablet that I plan on rewarding my 8-yr old son with for good grades this term (Barbados). He reads books alot already and was attracted to my Paper White which I got as a gift.

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I will agree to see a different picture
by vrmsr / June 21, 2013 9:17 PM PDT

Not too many free books and the library isn't always available. I find reading to the grandsons just as rewarding with a tablet as with the real books.
I do agree the important thing is to just read to them but make them available to be able to read to themselves and each other.
My 7 year old reads to the baby, now 8 months old, and to his younger brother, now 5 as well as to himself. But his favorite time is when I read to him and he reads to me.
E-books open a world of books not available in print and 1,000's are free.
As for the fear of new things... well I still have my VCR but I bought a 3D Blu-ray too. There are only so many trees in the forest too.

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Good idea!
by Clairegg / December 9, 2016 5:37 AM PST

Very well said. Plus you can tell your own stories in life where they can learn a lesson, just exaggerate a bit. Grin

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Barnes & Noble slashes Nook HD prices for father's day
by booch221 / June 14, 2013 12:05 PM PDT

This week only, you can get the Nook HD (8GB) 7-inch tablet for $129 shipped and the Nook HD+ (16GB) 8.9-inch tablet for $149 shipped.

Those are unprecedented deals, especially considering that these are new units, not refurbs. The Nook HD normally sells for $199; the Nook HD+, for $269.


I went to B&N and looked at both. I think I prefer the 7-inch tablet, because it's easy to hold in one hand. Both models can take up to 32GB cards for additional storage.

Bonus: These nooks now have access to the Google Play store.

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Nook HD is the Best Match for What You Want
by Raven_quill / June 15, 2013 1:16 AM PDT

To my knowledge, no device has a color screen for under $100. To get color, currently you need an LCD screen, as no one has yet been able to produce color e-Ink for the mass market. Having a tablet means having apps, but Nook HDs allow you to create multiple user profiles with strict parental controls. This means that the parent sets up their own administrative account, and then can set up one or more children's accounts that can be locked out of accessing games, web browsing, shopping, viewing inappropriate books in the shop, or whatever you want. As a B&N employee, I have seen many children with Nooks of all models, and we have only once or twice encountered ones that a child had actually broken. No electronic is indestructible, but put it in a case and tell them it's their responsibility, and most children seem to do okay. Remember that the sale price ends with Father's Day!

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Nook HD+ is sturdy
by novumva / June 21, 2013 11:32 AM PDT

With the current very low prices, get a Nook HD+. You can set up a separate child account to allow only the books and apps you wish the child to use, and still get plenty of use from the tablet yourself. My 3 year old grandson started reading/playing with my Nook Color when he was only 2, and now has access to my Color and HD+, and his mother's Nook tablet and HD+. He is not allowed to have them with him at nap or bedtime--he gets a cuddle and real book read to him then. While there are few formal restrictions on the length of time he can use them, he has no problem setting them aside to interact with other people, toys, or pets. The devices are in sturdy covers ,and have not broken yet. Paper books are wonderful, and he loves them; e-books can be interacted with in way paper books cannot.

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nook low prices extended!
by booch221 / June 21, 2013 12:14 PM PDT
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B&N Nook HD & HD+
by Bob_Meyer / June 15, 2013 1:48 AM PDT

This weekend, the Nook HD and HD+ are the best deal for what you want, if you can get beyond your unrealistic price expectation.

In addition to the advantages put forth by other posters, consider this:
- Nooks can share a single B&N account
- Nooks are open, standards based so you can get books from multiple sources, including libraries, Project Gutenberg, and e-Book stores other than Amazon or B&N.
- For about $20 plus the cost of a micro-SDHC card you can download a dual boot version of Android, so you can have a Nook and a straight Android tablet on the same device.

Nook: Color, Touchscreen, open, Android, full Google Play Store (Apps, music, video, books), unbeatable price

This weekend only.

My immediate family is mom & me plus three adult children. We have 1 Nook simple touch, 2 Nook Color, 1 Nook tablet, 3 Nook HD+, 1 Kindle Fire, 1 Nexus 7. So we're knee deep in tablets.

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What is like a book, but isn't a book
by mitchcpi / June 14, 2013 1:00 PM PDT

You already provided your answer. You want a single purpose device. As close to being a book as possible, with none of the extra bells and whistles that are so pervasive in e-devices today. There's no substitute for the feel of a real book. Turning the pages and being able to flip back and forth at will. It's always there and available, with no battery packs to die or connections to worry about.

Of course the Nook and the Kindle are the closest you'll come to simplicity of use, single purpose built, with the benefits that technology is supposed to bring to modern devices. It's wonderful to have dozens of books available in memory or an SD card. And, you won't need to build a library to keep all of them in. To me, that's the advantage of reading with an electronic device; convenience, ease of use, and portability.

The specific model to choose is a matter of personal taste, depth of pocket, and the type of reading you plan on. If you will be reading books with illustrations you will probably want a color model, like the Kindle Fire. I strongly suggest a high definition model, whichever way to decide to go. High definition (HD) will improve the readability of everything, including plain text. The rest all depends on your budget and taste.

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I don't think it's available yet...
by 4Denise / June 14, 2013 1:24 PM PDT

I think that e-readers for kids just aren't made yet, but if you are willing to give it a try, you could get a used Kindle on Amazon for a reasonable price. By getting the used product you may be giving up a guarantee that it will work for very long, but it can at least be painless to lose.

I don't think it will be long before someone comes up with something that is appropriate for children. Keep your eyes open.

Oh... and don't forget...many classic books are available for free. There is certain to be a large selection of books for you to choose from for kids and adults. No need to even concern yourself with buying books, unless they are books you specifically want to buy.

Note: This post was edited by its original author to combine 2 posts into one on 06/21/2013 at 5:23 PM PT

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A Kindle would be great
by mapdude / June 14, 2013 1:34 PM PDT

I was going to reccomend a kindle fire hd 7 inch, but you're right, if it's just for reading, a regular kindle would be best. If they will be reading in the dark, I would reccomend spending a little extra money for a kindle paperwhite. But of course, if you get them that, you may not get them to stop reading at night! Then again, that may not be a bad thing! Good luck!

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Consider something simple and basic
by daddywalter / June 14, 2013 3:38 PM PDT

Since the two boys are 7 and 8 years old, and you want them to be reading instead of playing games, I'd suggest one of the more basic black-and-white Kindles or Nooks. They don't need color graphics or a way to access e-mail or the Web; keep them focused on using the device to read.

I know some libraries lend Kindle-format books (I have a Kindle Fire), and I'm pretty sure the Nook format is available at libraries too. Just what the public library offers where your nephews live, you'll want to find out before you make a purchase.

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What e-reader would you recommend for kids?
by lusaney / June 14, 2013 7:39 PM PDT

I'm a librarian and we offer free downloadable books for children as well as adults. What would I recommend? Take them to the library! Take out that Marguerite Henry book, but let them loose in the stacks to find other books they would enjoy. Sign them up for summer reading (just about to start). Sure, you can find an ereader for them, but I agree with others that the gizmos can wait. I watched my son sit in his darkened room with no world but the screen in front of him for years. Nothing I could do (and my husband and I tried many things) kept him away from that screen for long, until finally he listened and went out into the world to socialize. This is true of far too many children, generally boys, these days. I'm not answering your question, I know, but offering advice. The electronics are too seductive. Give your boys books.

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Lusaney don't forget
by janitorman / June 23, 2013 8:00 AM PDT

Gutenberg.org and Calibre (free e-book management software)
Between those two things you can put whatever classics you'd like on the ebook device you choose without having to have wi-fi or hook up to stores or libraries. Simply download the books to your computer (there are other free sites as well.) Then, using Calibre, put the books on the device. Calibre even does conversions from one format to another (assuming no DRM.)
To the original poster, you're asking the impossible. You won't find a color e-book-only reader at ANY price, let alone under $100. You can find Android tablets for that much, or used black and white devices (ebay, etc.) You might consider trying to lock down apps on an Android device, get one that only hooks up via bluetooth or wi-fi and then make sure it isn't available, remove games from the device, etc. The benefit of a black and white e-reader (I like the Kobo original, as it has no touch-screen) is the battery life. My replacement one was only $40 used.

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Advice from a teacher
by byroni10 / June 14, 2013 10:28 PM PDT

For myself, I am an avid Kindle user and I promote e readers heavily to my friends----However for kids around 7 and 8 I really agree with many of the comments that have been posted here. First of all, kids at that age need books with pictures and colors, so if you got an e reader it would have to be in color, and right now there are none that I know of in your price range. Secondly, and more importantly, kids spend more than enough time working with computer screens and games. While this can be a great educational tool, the computer games are very seductive and I know of way too many youngsters who are practically addicted to them. Lastly, and most importantly, let your kids experience the wonder of a real book with great illustrations--let them become book literate and enjoy the process of reading with you. There is time enough for e readers--and there is definitely a place for them, but let your kids explore the wonder of books while there are still books left to explore.

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Kindle Fire is the best, but your budget is too low.
by kawshops / June 15, 2013 12:47 PM PDT

My eight year old grandaughter takes her Fire everywhere. She reads at the eighth grade level, but she does also play games on her Kindle -- but only the free ones.

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My recommendations...
by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / June 21, 2013 5:57 AM PDT


If you are looking for exclusively an e-reader at your price point,I would recommend either getting a

Amazon Kindle (price point at $69)


Barnes & Noble Simple Touch (price point at $79)

Note that both of these display content in gray scale so there are no colors and do not have lighted background for better reading in low or no light. For the lighted ones, you have to go up one model higher (see Kindle PaperWhite or B&N NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight), however they will cost you more. These are simple and easy use e-readers for kids and adults. I don't think they make color e-readers--unless it ones from LeapFrog or V-Tech which are made for younger children. Anything in color you will have to go to a tablet.

Given these couple of recommendations, there are somethings to consider. For my daughter who is 7 years old, she loves to read, but at her age, she still loves vibrant pictures and colors in a book, so having these e-readers presented books in only gray scale will be draw back for her. And knowing my daughter at this age, gray scale pictures just isn't appealing and soon she'd more than likely find here way back to physical books with colorful pictures. But I know as she grows older and more mature, a good story will outweigh the colorful pictures, but in time. For my 10 year old son, he could careless if the book had pictures or not, as long as it had text and a good story line, it would suit him just fine.

Holly, I get that you only want your grandkids to use an e-reader only, not for games, movies, etc... However, I would like for you to keep an open mind on tablets. Sure they do cost a bit more, but they can serve as a color e-readers, and much more. There are plenty of educational games and apps available for kids of all ages. My daughter's school as part of her homework, requires her to log into an academic Website and do math assignments and she does this all on our tablet.

As for sturdy build e-readers and tablets--I don't see many that come built abuse proof out of the box, but I would just recommend get a good sturdy case for whichever device you get. There are plenty of them out there: https://www.google.com/search?q=child+proof+tablet+case&client=firefox-a&hs=sRT&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=1a3EUf2XMIb8igLG14HABg&ved=0CFIQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=960

Anyways, there are my two cents... and I hope it helps in your decision.

I wish you the best of luck in finding something for your grandkids. There are going to be a lot of opinions on whether an e-reader vs. paper books are good or bad for kids--and ultimately it's your decision to make. For me personally, I really don't care how books are presented to my children whether on paper or digitally, because as long as my kids are reading, reading frequently, and enjoying it, is all that matters to me.


Note: This post was edited by its original author on 06/21/2013 at 1:58 PM PT

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Try ePub books from your local library
by stevevic57 / June 21, 2013 12:28 PM PDT
In reply to: My recommendations...

I would keep away from the expensive ereaders. I was given a KIndle, and it is great, but I am an adult with a disposable income. I bought my wife a HipStreet ereader, which is backlit and very inexpensive. Unfortunately, she cannot readily download books from the web onto it as it does not have an internet connection. BUt books can be readily obtained through many sources on the web for free. You just need to download them onto your desktop or laptop, then transfer them through a usb connection. The HipStreet ereader will read many different formats, but the most versatile is epub books. Download a free program called Calibre, and it will manage all of your library of books, plus much more.

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Concur and advice if you get a tablet
by jimbo_the_miser / June 23, 2013 11:53 PM PDT
In reply to: My recommendations...

I bought a cheap tablet for $80 last Christmas. Ended up taking it back and bought a better 7 inch tablet for $150 on sale. I'd highly recommend putting something on it to protect your childs eyes if yo go this route. I installed Funamo (our tablet is Android-based) which limits the apps and times she can use them. Also restricts Youtube to safe mode amongst other things. I also found she liked the color books better than black and white. Also found many educational apps in the google store and online. She uses the camera to make videos of stories she makes up with her littlest pet shop toys.

There is a tablet called Nabi, that has a rubberized cover that looks like it could take a beating. We just tell my daughter it's her first and only tablet and we've had no problem with her being careless with it.

Hope this helps.

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no e-readers!!
by aeparker / June 21, 2013 10:56 AM PDT

I can't stand e-readers. What a nasty thing to have in your hands compared to a real book.

I will never ever give anyone an e-reader. Children need books, real books. And a good flashlight Happy

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Best e.reader
by Darvel_Silda / June 21, 2013 4:48 PM PDT
In reply to: no e-readers!!

We do not fall in love with each other or things like books by gazing lovingly in th the screens of our e-readers. We bond with each other by sharing time and experiences. Go to the thrift stores and buy used books and learn what interests your youngsters have. Start a book exchange with your neighbors and family, and maybe have a family home reading evening where everyone can share what books they are reading or have read and would like to share with others. Remember 'Books will get you through times without money better than money will get you through times without books!' and finally, "Outside of a book a dog is man's best friend! Inside of a dog it's to dark to read!"
Mister E!

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