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I’m fully booked. My social calendar remains open, but my bookcases are packed like the rush hour Dan Ryan Expressway. Books are a passion, and we buy them faster than we can read them.

About a decade ago, realizing that book acquisition could not continue apace unless we devoted the whole house to shelving, I bought the first Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader, intent on not giving Amazon the business. The reading experience on the Nook proved less than stellar, and books from B&N were more expensive than the competition.

Every Christmas, a friend in Denver gifts us with three well-chosen books. For over a decade, she sent hard copies. Then she took the Amazon Kindle plunge and never looked back. She suggested we switch to Kindle so our books would arrive magically on-screen on Christmas morning. We took her suggestion and purchased two early, probably fifth-generation, Kindles. They were slightly better than the Nook. Although we continue accumulating hard copy books, we now mostly read from our Kindles.

About four years ago, I upgraded to the $200 Kindle Voyage, the deluxe model at the time. It was somewhat better than the original Kindle and provided a satisfactory reading experience.

Since then, Kindle introduced two new waterproof models, both superior to the Voyage. The Paperwhite 4, for $150 or less, which receives nearly unanimous rave reviews, and the Oasis 3, for $270 or less, which received mostly favorable reviews with the caveat that it is considerably overpriced.

Spending as much on an e-reader as two nicely sized bookcases seemed absurd. Then this recent Prime Day in October, Amazon hooked me. After several discounts and a $50 trade-in for my Voyage, I ordered an ad-free Oasis for about $150. At that price, the Oasis is a steal.

First, a digression: Amazon annoyingly offers two price levels for all of its e-readers. If you reject advertising on your Kindle, what Amazon coyly calls “special offers,” the price goes up $20. Also, you have a choice of WiFi only or WiFi and cellular connectivity. The latter raises the price by $100 and is totally unnecessary. Rarely will you be in need of an instant book download in an area without WiFi. I opted for the ad-free, WiFi-only Oasis.

Amazon frequently offers discounts on the newest Paperwhite 4. I’ve seen the ad-free model as low as $99. The Oasis rarely goes on sale. Thus, at non-discount prices, the Paperwhite remains a much better option than the Oasis. However, if you can nab an Oasis for $200 or less, choose it over the Paperwhite. Black Friday discounts are coming soon, and I suspect Kindles will receive major discounts. Kindle e-books tend to be less expensive than hardbound books.

After this extended preface, the Oasis provides a remarkable e-reader experience. It is about an inch wider than Amazon’s other Kindle models, elegantly thin, with a larger screen, but easier to hold and extremely light at 6.6 ounces. Its large vertical lip contains two large, oval physical page-turn buttons for forward and back. The Oasis automatically flips its display so the lip can be on the left or right as you read. You also can tap the display as with other Kindles to turn pages, as well as bring up menus and settings.

While it’s the “whitest” Kindle display yet, it remains a light gray rather than true white. The backlighting evenly suffuses the display without bright or dark areas and can be adjusted for brightness as well as for “warmer” light for nighttime reading. The clear, crisp typefaces reduce eyestrain. You can choose from a variety of fonts and 14 font sizes. So even if you forget your glasses, you can still read.

If you love reading and are short on space, choose the Oasis when it goes on sale. It delivers the best available e-book reading experience.

Rich Warren, who lives in the Champaign area, is a longtime reviewer of consumer electronics. Email him at

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