We look back at the last 12 months and pick the best ereaders on the market today, including Kindles, Kobos and Glowlights.
If 2011 was the year of the touchscreen ereader, then 2012 is most definitely the year of the illuminated ereader. All the big players released devices with screens which you can read in the dark, without affecting battery life too drastically, and avoiding the eye strain suffered by those reading ebooks on emissive tablet screens.
Design-wise not much has changed. Almost all ereaders feature the same 6in E-Ink screen at their heart with the Kobo Mini the most notable exception.
With touchscreens and integrated lighting now coming as standard, I'm not sure how manufacturers will try to get us to upgrade in 2013, but I'm excited to find out.
Here's my top five ereaders of 2012:
5. Kobo Mini (from £59)
Kobo has to be praised for trying something a little different. I'm not convinced the Mini is the way forward for ereaders as the smaller 5in screen simply means turning pages more often.
That said, the more compact chassis of the Mini, the excellent battery life and the sub-£60 pricing means this will appeal to many, particularly those who have small pockets (and wallets).
Kobo ereaders have a style all their own, and the Mini follows that aesthetic, with the replaceable back cover meaning you can style the Mini in a range of covers - which will again appeal to a particular group.
Read our full review of the Kobo Mini here.
4. Amazon Kindle (from £69)
The Kindle is the daddy of all ereaders. Technically there may have been others on the market before Amazon launched the original back in 2007, but since launch it has been the standard bearer for the platform.
The fifth generation makes some small but significant tweaks to the previous version, the most obvious being the black case, replacing the grey/silver colouring of previous generations.
The black not only looks better, it also helps makes reading easier, making the text stand out more.
Page loads are slightly faster, the screen has better contrast and Amazon has introduced "hand-tuned" fonts to make everything look more appealing.
At just 170g it is the lightest Kindle ever and costing just £69 for the Wi-Fi only model, I expect this be once again be a huge seller for Amazon this Christmas.
3. Kobo Glo (from £99)
Kobo has replaced Sony as the third major player in the ereader market (joining Amazon and Barnes & Noble) and along with aggressive pricing and its partnership with WH Smith, it has already made a significant impact on the UK market.
The Glo is the company's flagship model and comes with an illuminated 6in E-Ink screen. The styling may not be to everyone's taste but the replaceable rear covers give you a bit of personalisation not available from other ereaders.
The Glo bookstore has a repository of three million books, newspapers and magazines, one million of which are free. It may not be the biggest in-built book store, but considering the Glo supports all the major file types, it is a simple case of buying the ebooks elsewhere and transferring them onto your Kobo Glo.
Read our full review of the Kobo Glo here.
2. Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch Glowlight (from £109)
Barnes & Noble is a major player in the book business in the US, but it hasn't had a presence in the UK until this year, when it launched a couple of tablets, as well as its Nook ereaders.
The Nook Simple Touch Glowlight is the flagship model and comes with a front-lit touchscreen. It is going head-to-head with Amazon's offering, matching it for price and features.
B&N has an extensive library of titles available on its own bookstore, as well as newspapers and magazines.
In terms of design, it is not as refined or sleek as the latest Kindle models, but it is extremely comfortable to hold for extended periods, thanks to the curved, soft-touch back.
A superb ereader, the Glowlight is an excellent first entry to the UK market by Barnes & Noble.
Read our full review of the Barnes & Noble Nook Simple Touch Glowlight here.
1. Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (from £109)
The Kindle has been refined over the past five years and while there has been the odd misstep, the evolution has reached its zenith with the Paperwhite.
Amazon has pared the Paperwhite down to the bare bones. No physical buttons at all, and a sleek, lightweight black design, with the addition of an illuminated touchscreen, make this the perfect ereader.
Not only has Amazon added a built-in light, but it has also boosted the screen resolution giving it a pixel density of 212 pixels per inch (up from 167ppi). Add to that 25 percent better contrast and "hand-tuned" fonts, and what you have is the closest thing to the printed page I've seen from an ereader.
Yes, the Kindle range still doesn't support the major ebook file types, notably ePub, but considering Amazon's extensive library of titles, and the new ability to loan some titles from other Kindle users, getting the book you want shouldn't be a problem.
At £109, the ereader is significantly more expensive than the regular Kindle, but the built-in light and higher resolution screen really do make it worth the extra money.
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