With ebooks gaining in popularity, and even outselling hardcover books on Amazon.com, more and more people are buying handheld ebook reader devices. There are a number of e-readers on the market now, making the decision of which e-reader to buy a confusing one. This article will provide an e-readers comparison that should help you in arriving at a decision. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders and Sony have all jumped into the fray offering e-readers for sale, not to mention the plethora of other devices such as the tablet PC, iPad and smartphones, which can all serve the purpose of a portable ebook reader.

E-readers comparison

Before launching into ebook reader reviews, we cannot omit mentioning the iPad, even though it is much more than an ebook reader device. The iPad is an all-around multimedia device, with it e-reader feature being just one among many. And as an electronic book reader, it does fall short in some respects over dedicated e-readers. Its screen is not easy to see in bright light because of its gloss, and can cause eye strain. It's also quite bit heavier than other portable ebook reader devices. Its battery lasts for about 10 hours, which is much less than the two weeks of power stored by most other e-readers. And then there is the price, which is two times or more than that of any dedicated electronic book reader. But the iPad offers so many multimedia features that other e-readers do not have, that it could be worth your while to get one. That said, if you are on the market for just a portable ebook reader without any other bells and whistles, you would want to look at some of the other best e-readers for sale.

The Barnes and Noble Nook

Some reviewers have only given middling grades to the Barnes and Noble Nook ebook reader. But it does have many redeeming features. The Nook boast solid construction, and its size and weight are well suited to long periods of time spent reading. Its display screen is pleasing to the eye, and screen refresh times are quick. It also has a touchscreen that aids in navigation. There are some other nifty features, such as being able to loan an e-book to a friend for two weeks at no extra charge. You can also read ebooks for free when you are inside a Barnes and Noble Store! You can get special content for free when you are inside a Barnes and Noble store. The ebook display on the Nook is also pleasing, and shows actual page numbers, which most of the other e-readers don't do. However, the Nook does have some drawbacks. The Nook's navigation system is not very intuitive. The touchscreen is also not very reactive, sometimes requiring repeated poking. It also won't display some popular text format files such as doc, rtf and txt. So, while the Nook offers some great features, it does not beat the competition all round. It retails from $150-$200.

The Kobo from Borders

Not to be outdone by Barnes and Noble, Borders has also released its own portable ebook reader meant for use with its ebook online store. It is lightweight (less than eight ounces which compares favorably to most paperback novels), and is comfortable to read for long periods at a stretch, without causing eye strain. Navigation is easy and intuitive using four side buttons and a directional pad. As a nice bonus, it comes pre-loaded with a hundred free ebooks! But some of the cons include general slowness of startup and page turning, and a big one – no Wi-Fi / 3G for uploading ebooks on the go, so that you have to plug it into a computer to upload your ebooks. It also supports limited formats, and for the price (currently around $130) it just doesn't offer all the bells and whistles other comparably priced portable ebook readers do.

Sony PRS-900BC Reader Daily Edition

The Sony PRS-900BC Reader Daily Edition has great touchscreen capabilities for easy navigation and page turning. There are also a number of buttons for additional features like changing font size and volume. On the minus side, it is relatively bulky and heavy at over 12 ounces, which makes it less portable and less easy to curl up on the couch with. And the touchscreen is a bit hard to read in bright light. It is also more expensive than some other e-readers at about $250, but the convenient touchscreen feature is a real bonus that potential buyers might want to weigh against this reader's potential cons.

Amazon Kindle

The Amazon Kindle is probably the portable ebook reader that people think of by default, and it certainly has a lot going for it. The newest version is quite a bit faster than older Kindle versions, and it is also slimmer and more portable, with extended battery life. It also has the most inexpensive Wi-Fi enable version as of this time. Navigation is easy and intuitive, and the screen is easy to use. Drawbacks include the lack of touchscreen capability, and no memory card slot. Also, you cannot read many document types directly on the Amazon Kindle, needing to first email them to it, and then convert them to the compatible format. Still, it does remain the best electronic book reader all around.

In the end, while doing an e-readers comparison there is probably no clear-cut answer to the question of which e-reader to buy. But the above ebook reader review should allow you to decide based on which features are most important to you.