There's nothing like escaping into a good book -- especially after spending the whole day hunkered down in a home office, enduring endless emails and. This year, the best gifts for readers largely encourage the book lover in your life to ditch the dead trees when they dive into their favorite book.
An e-reader is ideal for people who want access to their whole digital library wherever they do their book reading. Sure, ebooks require a screen, but some of our favorites use paper-like E Ink screens that are easy on the eyes. They're also backlit, eliminating the need for an external book light.
So do you have a bibliophile in your life who deserves some literary gifts? Read on to see the best gifts for readers this holiday season. And, if you know a bookworm still addicted to old-fashioned paper books, I've got a perfect gift suggestion for them as well (see the bottom item on this list).
One important note: You should never pay full price for an Amazon device, as they get frequent deep discounts throughout the year. We've included the Prime Day prices where relevant below -- we'd expect them to return by Thanksgiving orat the latest.
Yes, Amazon's top-end Kindle is too expensive for what it is -- but that's what makes it a great gift idea. It's an extraordinary upgrade from reading on the standard Paperwhite. I upgraded last year during Prime Day, and was knocked out by how much better the Oasis is in terms of book readability and responsiveness. Plus, the physical page-turn buttons are so much better than swiping. Amazon runs a lot of deals on this, and watch out for trade-in bonuses on older Kindles to get it for a reasonable price.
Note that the Oasis dropped to $175 during Prime Day in October, so that's the price to beat for Black Friday shopping. Read our Amazon Kindle Oasis (2019) review.
It hasn't changed much in the last few years, but the latest Paperwhite is waterproof and has more onboard storage. I'd consider it the default Kindle to consider. The backlight is excellent; the size and weight make it highly portable as well.
The Paperwhite bottomed out at $80 on Prime Day -- that's the sale price worth hunting down. Read our Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2018) review.
I'm not going to sugarcoat it. This basic Kindle is nowhere as good as the Paperwhite or Oasis. But it's also a great impulse-purchase-price gift for a casual reader or someone just getting into ebooks. The latest version adds a built-in light, which makes it much more usable.
The entry-level Kindle hit $60 on Prime Day -- that's the strike price for bargain hunters. Read our Amazon Kindle (2019) review.
Amazon makes several different versions of its Fire tablet, and it's basically the only budget-priced small tablet I'd recommend. The Fire tablets, including this slightly more upscale 8-inch version, are good for video streaming and some basic games, but they also double as excellent ebook readers, and the color touchscreen makes them especially suitable for digital graphic novels.
The best iPad for ebooks is the iPad Mini. The 8-inch screen and light weight are perfect (smaller than a book, even), and besides reading, you can do all the other great things -- from games to movies to apps -- you can do with an iPad. Again, this isn't an E Ink display, but it's an excellent high-res LCD and now has Apple's True Tone technology for automatically adjusting white balance.
Just note two important caveats for this product: It frequently sells for as low as $350, and the 2020 eighth-gen full-size iPad has nearly the identical specs for less money ($300 now, and likely lower come Black Friday). You're paying a premium here for the small size and slightly better screen. Read more.
I've tried many book lights over the years, and this is my hands-down favorite. It's bright, rechargeable, has a very solid clip and a long neck. It can also stand up on its own, using the clip as a base. It's popular around my house and my wife keeps stealing it, so I'm about to order a second one for myself.