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Side-by-side comparison of 'e-readers'

June 2, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Electronic book readers are catching on. Amazon's Kindle and Sony's Reader Digital Book are the two biggest sellers. Consumer experts did a side-by-side comparison to see which one was the best.With the Kindle from Amazon, Karen Taggart says her whole library is at her fingertips at home and on the road.

"I keep it in my car for carpool with the kids. I take it everywhere with me. It's in my bag -- everywhere," said Taggart.

Consumer Reports was also impressed with the Kindle 2.

"The type is crisp and you can easily change the size," said Paul Reynolds, Consumer Reports. "Turning the page is about as fast as turning the page on a real book. And if you get tired of reading, the Kindle will read to you."

Consumer Reports also found the Kindle surprisingly simple to use.

"No computer is needed. You connect wirelessly to Amazon's huge collection of e-book titles, pick the book you want and it downloads directly to the Kindle in less than a minute," said Reynolds.

There is no connection charge and a bestseller costs about $10. The newest version of Sony's Reader Digital Book has the same screen size as the Kindle and costs about the same: around $350. Sony's bookstore has fewer titles, but you do get easy access to Google's library of free classics.

However, with the Sony, there are a lot more steps. You have to install software on your computer, download the book, and then you have to transfer it with a USB cord. For e-readers on the go, like Karen Taggart, Consumer Reports says the wireless Kindle is a lot easier to use.

Amazon is planning to introduce the new Kindle DX this summer. The company says it will have a bigger screen than the Kindle 2, and is designed for people who read newspapers easily. It will also cost more, at $489.

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