Kindle Paperwhite

We’ve been previewing the hottest new devices for library eBooks, including the iPad mini and other new gadgets. Stay tuned for more device spotlights all month long! –Ed.


With all the new tablets hitting the market these days, some might wonder what happened to the old-school E Ink readers?  Well, Amazon and Barnes & Noble continue to answer that call with, respectively, the Kindle Paperwhite and NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight.


Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite is a Kindle all the way. If you’re already a citizen of the Kindle ecosystem, you’ll be very comfortable with this little reader. The specs include a 6-inch lighted screen, a weight of just less than half a pound (7.5 ounces), Wi-Fi, 2GB of internal storage and long battery life. The device’s profile is pencil-thin (literally).


The display lives up to its name, offering the look and feel of paper. To adjust the light, simply tap on the light-bulb icon along the top edge of the display. Unlike the early E Ink displays, which had a noticeable wait time when turning pages, the Paperwhite changes in the blink of an eye.


What else does the Paperwhite give you?  In addition to access to Amazon’s large selection of books–and cloud storage—you also have access to thousands of Kindle-format eBooks via your library’s OverDrive collection.*


NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight

Barnes & Noble’s NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight supports both EPUB and PDF eBook formats, while offering a comparable look and feel to the Paperwhite. With its 6-inch lighted screen, weight just shy of 7 ounces, Wi-Fi connectivity, 2GB of storage (expandable to an additional 32GB with a microSD card), and a similar level of battery life, the NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight matches the Kindle Paperwhite in many ways—but it doesn’t include the built-in ads. The NOOK gives you access to the huge collection of books from B&N as well as the full range of EPUB and PDF titles from your library’s OverDrive digital collection.


The NOOK’s display is just as easily adjustable as the Kindle’s, however the lighting feels different on the NOOK. The Paperwhite display uses a special screen layer that projects the light toward the screen, with no glimpse of lighting from the edges of the screen, creating a look that makes the light seem to emanate from the screen itself. With the NOOK’s GlowLight, there’s a noticeable light around the edges of the screen, creating a halo around the otherwise evenly lit screen.  That said, the GlowLight is a bit brighter than the more natural-looking light of the Paperwhite.


Both of these devices are durable, unobtrusive readers offering useful features and quality hardware.  Either device is a solid, entry-level E Ink reader for anyone who prefers a dedicated reading device. Both devices let you enjoy thousands of titles from OverDrive digital libraries, and if you’re not concerned with installing a ton of apps, don’t want to spend time browsing the web, and just want to read, then you could be the perfect candidate for an old school E Ink reader.


Justin Noszek is a Support Specialist at OverDrive.


*Kindle-format eBooks available in the United States only.


6 Responses to “Holiday Gadget Close-Up: Kindle Paperwhite and NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight”

  1. Simone Roseman

    please can you tell me why the Kindle Paperwhite is not supported by the library systems in canada? thx

    • Adam Sockel

      Hi Simone, Amazon has chosen to not make Kindle compatibility available outside the US at this time. Thanks.

    • Adam Sockel

      HI Delphina, yes we work with libraries around the world. Check with your local library to see if they offer our services. Cheers.

  2. Fran Higgins

    Hi. I am buying my first e reader. I decided on the Kindle Paperwhite. It sounded perfect. But now I am afraid that there will not be much available to borrow from the library. I don’t want to have to pay to borrow a book to read from Amazon. Will there be books from librarys to read that are compatible with this? Thanks