Aluratek’s Libre eBook Reader Pro

Aluratek’s Libre eBook Reader Pro

This is one in a series of posts that compares different EBRs (E-Book Readers).   I have previously listed features of the nook, the Sony, the Kindle, the OpenBook, the eBookwise, the Kobo eReader and the Alex eReader.  You can read those articles here

Borders wants to be the supermarket of EBRs (E-Book Readers).  They keep pushing that they are going to have more than ten choices in their stores by the end of the year. 

If you are going to do that, you want variety.  Ideally, it’s like the characters on Glee: each one needs to be a standout.  😉

When I was in a Borders recently, they had four models featured: the Kobo; two Sonys (the Touch and the Pocket…at least, I think that’s right); and the Aluratek Libre. 

Well, you probably know something about the Kobo and the Sonys.

What niche does the Libre fill?

It’s the cheap one.  🙂

Right now, it’s listed at Borders as a $119.99 pre-order.

That in and of itself is interesting.  At the

Aluratek site

it’s listed at $169.99.

So, is Borders going to get a special deal and selling it for a thirty percent discount?  Or is Aluratek planning to lower the price by August 1st?  Well, I did find it for sale at a number of sites considerably cheaper than $170…down to about $130.

Amazon carries it:

Libre at Amazon

and, at the time of writing, it’s $134.72.

My guess is the latter, but that’s just my intuition. 

Let’s take a look at it as a device.

The Screen

Here’s the key: it’s not an E Ink screen.  I think E Ink is one of the things that made the Kindle a success.  Many people prefer reading on a “reflective” screen, like the Kindle, rather than a backlit screen.

Borders ad for it says this:

Exclusive Reflective Light LCD Screen Technology
The Screen looks like real paper, is easy on the eyes,
and there’s no flashing or flickering.”

Honestly, I don’t know what that means.  How can it be reflective and backlit? Oh, I found something…it’s NOT backlit.  That’s a big plus.   I’m going to have to see one, but I did find a couple of videos…and it looks fine in them:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2WoVRsap9Q

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_emtSU6QsQ

I’d have to see it in bright light, though, like sunlight. 

All of the descriptions seem similar to VizPlex’s E Ink (including 24 hours of reading on a single charge)…except that page turns don’t flicker.  It doesn’t look like E Ink, exactly…it seems, though, like it would be okay for reading.

It’s also worth noting that this is a five-inch screen, rather than the six inch on the Kindle and NOOK.  It does switch to landscape with a button, and that’s how the show it in use at the Aluratek site.

The Books

This device is going to run Borders ebook reader app, which means you have access to Borders e-book store.  For in-copyright books, that’s nowhere near Amazon at this point, but they do have the popular titles (what I call “People Magazine books”), and lots of freebies public domain freebies directly available.

It comes with 100 classics loaded on the included 2GB SD card.  I don’t find pre-loaded books particularly attractive: give me the choices, and I’ll make them myself…but that’s going to appeal to non-techies.  You could give it to somebody on a plane heading off to the South American jungle, and be covered for months of reading.

What about books from other sources?

According to

Aluratek’s FAQs

it supports EPUB and PDFs.  That includes ones with Digital Rights Management (DRM) using  Adobe Digital Editions.  PDFs with passwords can not be opened.  You can get books from Kobobooks.com. 

How easy is it to use?

I’ve watched a pretty thorough video, and while it has a ton of buttons (compared to a Kindle or a NOOK), it does seem pretty simple.  I liked the organization for music, photos, and e-books.  Changing text size was easy, and they actually showed you point sizes (up to 32, by the way, which is quite big).

I found a lot more details at

Tiger Direct

They say it supports txt and mobi (although Aluratek points out that it doesn’t do the PIDs ((Personal Identities)) required for secure mobi), that it has a lithium-ion battery (like the Kindle), and a list of the free books (the usual suspects, and a pretty good collection).  29 reviews on that site average 3.5 out of 5, which is not bad. 

It has some other unusual features: it’s waterproof (so you can be Gene Kelly “reeeaaaading in the rain”) 😉 , and supports animated gifs.  It also has a year warranty.  Oh, and they have a menu entry for autoturn…that’s an especially good thing for people with debilititating conditions (like muscular dystrophy).  It comes in a black casing, as well as a white one.

My overall impression is that this may be an excellent device for a casual reader who is comfortable with computers.  The Kindle store has a lot more in-copyright books, and the wireless on the Kindle is a considerable advantage.  I don’t think this is an equivalent device, but it might not be a bad way to go for somebody who reads, say, ten or twenty new releases a year, or who reads public domain freebies.  I’d like to know more about consumer experience and support (the manual isn’t online at this point, although there is a page for it).  It concerns me that I haven’t found much of a company history, but since the books aren’t in a proprietary format, you could hypothetically take them to some other devices (that use ADE) if the company went under…not a Kindle currently, though.

Official Site

Do you have a Libre or experience with one?  I’d love to hear from you…

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

7 Responses to “Aluratek’s Libre eBook Reader Pro”

  1. Kay Says:

    I have the Libre and find it very difficult to actually leave one book and find another. I don’t find the manual all that helpful. This was a gift so I’m going to keep it.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Kay!

      I appreciate that field report. 🙂 While the reading part is the most important, there is no question that the other parts of the experience matter, too.

      How does the screen look? Do you get the sense of a backlight, or does it look like a book’s page in the sense of not shining?

  2. gentlemanbeggar Says:

    I really like my Libre Pro. I find that the screen is comparable to the e-ink screens on some of the popular name brand readers. In fact, I held it up next to a sony pocket just last night, and found that I preferred my libre screen over sony’s. The slider button on the side is a bit sensitive, but with such fast page turning, it’s hardly an issue.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, gentlemanbeggar!

      I always appreciate good field reports like yours! I’m glad you are happy with it. It has seemed like a reasonable option to me for some people.

  3. petechan Says:

    I have had my Libre since this February. It is the only ebook reader I have had. The main thing I like it for is borrowing public library books. The Kindle cannot do this without conversion software. The Sony, Kobo can also borrow library books, but one thing that’s different from the Libre is that it has NO clock. Which means that I can take my sweet time reading a library book even past its return date. On the other readers, once your lending period is over, the ebook cannot be re-opened unless you re-borrow the book. On the Libre, I have been able to read an ebook for many weeks. And the popular fiction titles have long waiting lists, so this is a major plus.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, petechan!

      I really appreciate the field report! I haven’t heard much from people with Libres.

      That’s interesting about the clock!

      Since the books you are getting have Digital Rights Management (DRM), they can’t be (legally) converted for the Kindle. EPUB (which they probably are) books without DRM can be, but not with it.

      A couple of questions:

      How long does a battery charge last for you?

      How does the screen look for you? Any problem outside in bright sunlight?

      Thanks!

  4. ipad libraries Says:

    ipad libraries…

    […]Aluratek’s Libre eBook Reader Pro « I Love My Kindle[…]…

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