This summer the iPhone reached a milestone birthday. Ten years old! Perhaps the most important Sponge Bob cake that was ever baked, but who knows what the wish was before the candles were blown out, so let’s just brace ourselves!

Back when the bouncing baby pocket computer first chimed to life, the grandparents of news and views – newspapers, magazines and best sellers – were still relatively fit and flourishing. Understandably, those guardians of the ancient régime continue to fade.

Sure, there will always be those of us who love to hold and savor a good book, but even folks like me are waking up to just how convenient it is to carry the world’s wisdom in your bag. From space age to screen age, it’s been a journey from USA Today being sprawled across tables, desks, laps and coffee tables to it being almost nostalgic to see someone carrying a book.

The first e-reader I bought was the first generation of the Amazon Kindle. In many ways, it was amazing. In some, it was just a page flipping let down. Regardless, it was here to stay. Today’s e-readers are cheaper, faster, better in the hand and better on the eyes than ever before.

So, as you gear up for those last few days on the beach or squeeze in the last few quiet moments of reading while the kids are away at camp, what e-readers should be at your fingertips?

Patrick Hyde and Meredith Popolo help answer that question. Writing for, they suggest seven of the best e-readers of the year.

Let’s sum up.

Not surprisingly, Amazon steals the show. Four of the seven Hyde and Popolo recommendations are from Bezos’ online behemoth: there’s the Paperwhite, the Oasis, the Voyage and the Fire. Clearly, you’ll not want the good folks at Amazon to name anything for you, but putting the world of words at your fingertips? They’ve got that locked up.

Each Amazon device is a different creature. The choices among these and the devices that follow will really be about a few things: size, weight, screen type, screen clarity (resolution), and does it play nice in the water.

The Kobo Glo HD was the first offering on the list not from Amazon. Importantly, it sets itself apart from the competition by keeping your eyes on your text and not on ads. Fewer ads? Yes!

The runner-up large screen reader was the Kobo Aura H2O. Who names this stuff! Is it sparkling water? Is it a fantastical shampoo/conditioner combo? Nope. It’s a great option for a waterproof e-reader, though. I would have liked to have that in my backpack while at Siesta Key a few weeks ago. We had forgotten that our phones weren’t waterproof. We did go to Amazon for the rescue – but just for cases. If you’re into poolside reading or can’t keep your coffee in the cup, the H2O might be the one for you.

Finally, there’s the Barnes and Noble Nook Glowlight Plus. No. I promise you that I am not making this stuff up. Clearly, in the world of e-readers, the name of the game is the game of the name. Yikes! So, how does the Nook keep its head above water against the fearsome Amazonians? It’s smaller and lighter, but has the same size and clarity screen, for one. And, thanks to waterproofing, it can swim in the deep end without floaties. The store is better than Kobo, but alas, it’s not a Kindle. Variety is the spice of life, though, so you might want something a little different.

Okay, what’s the damage going to be?

You can have the cheapest of the offerings above for just $50. And, the most expensive one will set you back just south of $300. Most live in the neighborhood of around $150. That’s an amazing alternative to flagship phones that can easily cost 10 times as much!

Happy reading, friends!

Richard Singleton, MACE, MAMFC, LPC, is the executive director at STARRY in Round Rock.

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