Revisiting eReaders in Schools

Howdy! Some time ago, I shared some recommendations for eReaders for Schools. Since then, we've had a few new devices and changes to existing ones. I would love to read what device you have decided to use for ebook consumption in your school district or situation.
My bias: I'm looking at eReaders to find the most compatible, low-cost device with District network infrastructure in compliance with CIPA, also compatible with OverDrive.
Based on my reading, it looks like the preferred eReader is the Amazon Kindle $89 4th generation model (without advertising). I've shared a GoogleDoc with the breakdown below. The distinguishing feature is the lack of a need for a credit card for the Kindle. Nook once had it that way, but they've changed. I created new accounts on all the services to verify when/where a credit card is needed.
(chart appears further below)

Kindle Fire is not even mentioned because it's a bit of "overkill," as one colleague put it, for eReaders.
What are your thoughts? 

And, if you have deployed either Kindle or Nook as eReader WITHOUT a credit card, please let me know!

Tweet Update: deerwood: Revisiting eReaders in Schools but is there a place for one function devices?
Great question! Yes, I do think there is a place for 1 function devices, especially when we're talking about reading.

eReaders in Schools
Alternative Comparison chart:
Highlighted item is recommended item.

(4th generation)
NooK Simple Touch WiFi
Kobo Touch - WiFi Version
Web Site
$69.00 with advertising; $89 without advertising
$99.00 without advertising
6.5" x 4.5" x 0.34"
4.5 in. X 6.5 in.
5.98 oz
7.48 oz
6.5 oz
microUSB 2.0
microUSB multiple syncs
Screen Size
6" 16 level gray scale
6"  16 level grayscale
6” 16 level greyscale
Touch Screen
MP3 Player
Battery Time
1 month
2+ months
1 month
Supported ebook Formats
Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively
Other formats supported with Calibre (free) Converter: LIT, HTML, MOBI
Books: EPUB, PDF and MOBI
Documents: PDF
Images: JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP and TIFF
Text: TXT, HTML and RTF
Comic Books: CBZ and CBR
Account Management Process
Requires an Amazon account (no credit card needed for free books, only for at-cost books)
Requires a Barnes and Noble account AND Credit card to get free books and/or at-cost books.
Requires a Kobo account (no credit card needed for free books, only for at-cost books)
Credit card required?
OverDrive Compatible?
Public library books can be sent wirelessly to Kindle devices via an active Wi-Fi connection or transferred via USB. Due to publisher restrictions, some titles may not be wirelessly delivered to your device and instead require USB transfer from your computer to your device. These restricted titles also may not be accessed on Kindle reading applications. 
Additional Features
Kindle allows owner to check email and news,
Non replaceable battery
  1. Can be unregistered
  2. Not allow shopping in bookstore;
  3. No Browser
  4. MAC or PC  
  5. Only allows shopping in B&N store
  6. Can turn off WiFi or place in Airplane mode.
  7. Replaceable battery

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


Linda said…
Great comparison...helpful for teachers and librarians.
Molly Valdez said…
Ha! Welcome to the Kindle side, finally!! I still think the "Read to Me" feature of the native Kindle devices is a strong feature for reluctant or low ability readers.
Unknown said…
Hi Miguel,
We are piloting Nooks with our AP English students this year (40 devices) and are VERY pleased with them. Barnes and Noble has been extremely easy to work with and if you go through BN and have BN managed devices you do NOT need to have a credit card on file and no account is required. We purchased our Nooks preloaded with books (both free and paid) - it was very easy! They also offer educational institutions bulk device discounts starting at 10 or more devices. After all of the hassles we have endured with our iPad app management I have been THRILLED with how easy Nook management has been.

I forwarded your blog post to our local BN contact, and in addition to the information above she also said that the note on your chart about the Nook only allowing shopping in the BN store is actually incorrect - she said you can side-load non-proprietary content. Also, she said there is now an OverDrive app for the Nook that allows students to download library eBooks directly onto their devices (we have not tried it though).

If you are interested in talking with our BN rep, DM me and I will send you her contact info - she should be able to put you in contact with the BN education rep in your area.
@Susan, thanks so much for the information!! Please do share my email address ( with the BN rep so I can get more (and correct) information!

Grateful for your sharing,

Miguel Guhlin
James Palus said…
Hi Miguel,

Where do you plan on getting eBooks for thee students that meet the core curriculum standards? We tested Kindles only to find out they are limited on where you get books. Kindle books come only from amazon and overdrive. It was good for novels but not full length text books. We spend the most money on larger more professional texts.

We wound up using jetbooks from a company called Ectaco. They had better format compatibility and overall it was easier to find electronic textbooks for the device.

They are slightly more expensive but you get what you pay for. The kindle costs over $100 to make, who do you think is paying for the difference in the price?

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