Review: 5 eBook readers for less than $175

Price can often play a big part in selection with so many eReaders on the market.

When’s ground-breaking Kindle eBook reader came out in 2007, it cost $399. Now, some eReaders, including the most recent Kindle entry, can be had for just north of $100.

At the price of five or so hardcover books, it’s close to impulse-buy territory for many people. And if people give in to their desires, what do they get? An AP reviewer’s test of five e-readers priced from $114 to $164 finds that cheap, in most cases, means good value.

All five have black-and-white screens that are about half the size of a paperback book. They can connect wirelessly to the Internet for e-book downloads.

The AP reviewer didn’t look closely at battery life, because with one exception, they all claim more than a month of use. The company time machine was occupied.

Here’s the rundown:

• Kindle with Special Offers ($114) is the cheapest Kindle model yet. It’s indistinguishable from a device that costs $25 more, except that it shows advertising as its screen saver and at the foot of the menu.

The reader doesn’t, mercifully, see any advertising when he or she is reading, and overall the ads didn’t feel intrusive. The selection was limited, for the most part, to Oil of Olay, Visa and a car company or two, making reviewers wonder if advertising companies are really sold on Kindle ads.

And it left the reviewers wondering if there is any attempt (or might be in the future) to profile users based on their Amazon account. That could get a bit embarrassing because the ads are visible if a person leaves the Kindle lying around.