When ’tis the season to be jolly, consumers can be left with a difficult decision as they struggle to answer the question of how best to spend their ever-shrinking dollars and on which products. One such product could very well be an Amazon Kindle reader, most of which have now dropped from a high of $399 when they were first introduced approximately four years ago, to a $79 model today. In addition and more important, this new breed of e-book reader is offering better performance than its predecessor with screens that are clearer and easier to read.

However, what is most important about the e-book is our changing attitude about reading a book on a Kindle, Nook, or tablet device. This is evidenced by the fact that, even just last year, I could not see the advantage of purchasing and using a Kindle when having a book on hand to flip through seemed just as easy. However, after purchasing an iPad and using the Kindle, I can certainly see an advantage. First, when traveling, it is much less cumbersome; one is able to take a novel as huge as Tolstoy’s War and Peace with them in the space of a thin tablet. Second, with the nation going green, it is obvious that the environment will be a better place with fewer trees being cut down to produce those paperback and hardback books every year. However, some have countered this claim stating that physical books are biodegradable, while electronic devices are not.

Tablet or E-book Reader: Which Should You Buy This Holiday Season?So with that knowledge behind you, which of the available devices should you buy? I have tried the Kindle, the Kindle Fire, the Nook, and the iPad, and found that, as e-book readers go, they all do a great job. The one area where I believe that the Kindle and Nook are better, however, is in the area of their screen clarity. That is because both of these brands are manufactured with non-reflective screens, whereas both the Apple iPad and Kindle Fire have reflective screens. This means that the sun or bright light will create an annoying situation wherein the reader cannot see the screen due to the sun’s reflection.

However, one of the biggest determining factors to your purchase is likely going to be price. Here your choices seem limitless with basic bare-bones Kindles ranging in price from $79 and proceeding upwards to $199 for the Fire model. Then you have the top-of-the-line Apple iPad that starts at $499 and higher with others like Barnes & Noble taking up the mid-price point with its Nook at $99 and its Nook tablet at $249.

Last, the consumer must decide what retailer they prefer, since each of these companies has their own dedicated sources on where to get applications for their tablet models (e.g., iTunes for Apple products or Amazon Prime Member accounts for their Kindle Fire).

Comments welcome.