Vera Nazarian

Whenever you read a good book, somewhere in the world a door opens to allow in more light.

Tips to Help You Shop for a Totally Waterproof E-Reader

Summer is winding down soon, but as the legendary baseball Hall of Fame player and coach Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.” In fact, some of the best days of summer are still ahead of us, including one of the biggest holidays of the year for hardworking Americans, Labor Day Weekend. There will be plenty of days yet to come for kayaking down river, canoeing and paddle boarding on the lake, waterskiing, and volleyball or surfing at the beach. That’s why it may be the right time for you to consider owning a waterproof e-reader. Then you will also be able to read in the bathtub, put your e-reader near the kitchen sink without fear that it will be damaged as you read e-book recipes, or take it to a ski lodge knowing it’s protected if it takes a tumble in the snow.

Waterproof vs. Water Resistant

Even if already own another type of e-reader, a waterproof one really expands your options for worry-free use near water… which is hazardous to the health of most electronic gadgets. Many e-reader manufacturers may tout the water resistance of their e-readers, but they carefully avoid claims that they are actually waterproof. Read the small print and you’ll find lots of caveats, explaining how they can be really vulnerable to moisture, despite proactive measures like using a fancy waterproof protective case. Resistance won’t help you if your gadget takes a plunge…but a guarantee of waterproof protection should.

Nook GlowLight Plus

One of the most popular and reliable waterproof e-readers is the Barnes & Noble NOOK GlowLight Plus, which sells for $129.99. Barnes & Noble NOOK GlowLight Plus is a truly waterproof – and dustproof – e-reader. It’s made of sleek and durable but lightweight aluminum, weighs less than seven ounces, and has a high-resolution 6-inch touch screen. The GlowLight Plus also offers comfortable reading in both dim light or bright sunlight, and the battery can last up to six weeks on a single charge.

The Kobo Aura H20

Anyone who shops for a waterproof e-reader should definitely give serious consideration to the Kobo Aura H2O, priced at $159.99. It is regarded as the premium waterproof e-reading device. Although it is priced about $30 higher than the competing GlowLight Plus, it has a slightly faster and more responsive touchscreen and performs superbly in low light or bright sunlight. Think of it as a premium-level e-reader for all conditions…which carries the extra promise of being waterproof. Drop it in the bathtub and it’s no problem…which makes your reader experience pretty carefree.

Comparing the Two E-Readers

Since both the Aura H20 and the GlowLight Plus are fully waterproof, you don’t need to invest in a special waterproof or dustproof case. If it falls in the water, just dry it off with the provided cloth and you should be good to go. The size and battery power features are almost identical on both the GlowLight Plus and the Kobo Aura H20…with the Kobo unit weighing in almost an ounce lighter, which isn’t really noticeable for most readers. Both of these e-readers offer excellent portability, too, since (in addition to being lightweight) they have relatively small screens. You may prefer a larger e-reader screen for reading at home or school, for example, but smaller may be more appropriate if you’re toting your device to the lake or beach house…or want to set it on the side of the tub.

Kobo versus Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble used to be better poised to compete effectively against Amazon and the Kindle, but now Amazon has zoomed ahead of all the competitors while Barnes & Noble is struggling to innovate and lure new customers. Kobo, on the other hand, is a relatively new company…but it is doing exceptionally well and competes really aggressively in the global market. While it may not have the long-established brand name and chain stores that Barnes & Noble does, Kobo has definitely given the big players like Amazon some very healthy competition.  There are industry observers who believe that Kobo will continue to grow and expand, whereas Barnes & Noble may fall farther behind…since its business model was originally based on brick-and-mortar stores and not online e-commerce. If the longevity of your e-reader manufacturer is important to you, that’s something to factor in when you choose between a Kobo or a Nook.

It May Depend on Where You Live

Kobo is often preferred by customers outside of North America, because the company has always maintained a keen focus on international sales and service. But if you have a Barnes & Noble store in your hometown, that could give you a unique edge. That’s because Barnes & Noble manufactures the only e-readers that are supported by customer services in actual brick-and-mortar stores. You can walk into any Barnes & Noble and get hands-on assistance if you have any questions about setting up or using your NOOK…or if you encounter any problems or performance issues with it.