Update on 2/17/12:  Since writing this review, I have experienced quite a few problems with my Literati, to the point that I don’t use it anymore.  I bought a Kindle and I would NEVER go back to a different eReader after this.  The Kindle is no hassle at all and always works so efficiently and smoothly – not to mention they have great customer support.  The Literati website isn’t working anymore, there is no answer to calls for support (or it is VERY hard to get ahold of anyone), and there seem to be a lot of frustrated buyers of the Literati.  I don’t even think I’d recommend getting it for a kid – it’s just too much of a hassle getting books onto it.  The Kobo library was a joke – I never could get it to sync with my library.  If you’re looking for a good reader, I have to recommend the Kindle.  And if you want it in color, get the Kindle Fire or the Nook.  :)

If you’re here because you are looking for a way to troubleshoot your Literati, I recommend checking out this post.

Ever since the Kindle was released and eReaders became insanely popular, I’ve wanted one.  I’m an avid reader and have so many books that my husband almost goes cross-eyed at the thought of moving them.  So imagine my delight (and my husband’s) upon finding out that I had been chosen to review a  Literati Wireless Reader, one of the TOP items on my Christmas wishlist!  This electronic reader, released by The Sharper Image, was my first choice for the following reasons:

  • It’s a COLOR reader, unlike many of the popular eReaders on the market.  I wanted this feature so my daughter could enjoy children’s books and so that I could read magazines and cookbooks on it.  What can I say, I love color pictures!
  • It has a night reading mode so that I can read in bed without turning on lights and disturbing my husband’s sleep.  I was so excited when I realized that you can lower the brightness significantly, making reading at night on a screen much easier on the eyes.
  • For an eReader with these two much-desired features, the price of $149.00 is TERRIFIC.  And there are great sales around the web, too – I’ve seen it as low as $119 at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and I know they have coupons you can use so you could get a really great deal.

My Thoughts on the Literati Reader…

The Literati arrived via FedEx in this book-shaped magnetic box:

I like this box so much I’m trying to figure out how I can re-use it, haha.  But of course the real treasure is inside…

Isn’t it beautiful???  Emma was so thrilled to see Winnie the Pooh on it – there are classic illustrations on almost every page!

Included with your Literati eReader:
  • A really nice soft leather case to protect your Literati
  • USB cord for connecting to your computer and power adapter for charging.
  • 25 free ebooks are pre-installed and you have access to 150 free ebooks including classics in the Kobo Bookstore!

What You Should Know Before Buying
  • It measures 9 1/2″ long x 5″ wide, has a 7-inch color screen, and is only 1/2 inch thick.
  • It features the ability to connect to wireless internet, making downloading books from the Kobo Bookstore super easy.  It does not allow you to surf the web.
  • You’re able to read easily at night or in dim light thanks to the night reading mode!  You can adjust the brightness on quite a few levels, so finding that perfect level of brightness for your environment is simple!
  • It is very simple and straightforward to navigate with the directional pad (see diagram below).  It is not a touch screen but I wish it was!
  • It offers SD memory card storage – this is optional.  The reader does not come with an SD card.
  • Battery life lasts approximately 8 hours – if you’re not connected to wireless internet for all that time.  This isn’t a problem for me since I can charge it every night like I do my phone.
  • Ongoing updates and new features are added regularly.

How the Literati is Working for Me…

The Literati really has exceeded all of my expectations.  I’m SO pleased with all of its features – it’s perfect for what I want to use it for which is reading ebooks, cookbooks, magazines, and children’s books.  I found the navigational buttons and menus easy to navigate and figure out.  I especially like that page-turning is done on the sides of the eReader at the arrows (see diagram above).  They aren’t even buttons, it’s just a touch-sensitive area that turns the pages when touched lightly.  It’s appropriate for both left-handed and right-handed reading since page-turning buttons are on both the left and right side.  This is going to be SO GREAT for those times when I’m nursing my baby boy and want to read at the same time.  One arm can hold baby and the other can be reading and turning pages.  Love that!

Other things to note about navigational menus and customization:

  • At the very top of the screen you’ll find the battery life indicator, wireless connection indicator, and time and date.
  • Font size is adjustable.
  • Two different fonts are available including serif and sans serif.
  • You can browse your downloaded book library by New, Title, or Author.
  • You can store and view documents such as PDF files under the “Documents” tab.
  • There is also a built-in dictionary!
  • When your reading is interrupted, the Literati saves your page for you!  The “I’m Reading” tab will show which books you’re reading and take you right back to the page you were on when you’re ready to continue.

I don’t have wireless internet, so I haven’t been able to try that out yet.  The perfect excuse to head to Starbucks, right?  I will update this review when I do try it out.  I have, however, gone to Kobo.com, created a personal account, and downloaded the Kobo Desktop Application and Adobe Digital Editions so that I can connect the Literati to my desktop computer anytime and add books.  I’ve added quite a few and have been really happy with their selection of free books!  All of the ones in the screenshot below of the Kobo Desktop App were free.  :)

Regarding the Kobo Desktop App, I have had some trouble with it and have switched to using Adobe Digital Editions to manage my ebooks instead.  At some point I’m sure Kobo will work out the kinks with this Desktop application and I can go back to it because it is nice that I can shop for and add books with it.  For now, though, it doesn’t affect my experience with the Literati.  And if you have wireless internet you really won’t care about the desktop application issues.

As far as book availability in the Kobo bookstore goes, there are over 2 million to choose from and many of them are new and popular.  At first I was disappointed when I realized I couldn’t read kindle editions from Amazon.com on my Literati since Amazon is probably my favorite place to shop for books, but then I discovered you can purchase ebooks from Borders.com and other places like Powells.com, plus you can get tons of free books from Gutenberg or your local library via sites like overdrive.com.  Suddenly it didn’t seem like such a loss after all.  ;-)  The Kobo Bookstore also has free ebooks which you can find here.

Final Thoughts & Recommendations:

Before the Literati, I was skeptical about electronic readers in general.  I had seen the Kindle (my mom has one) and hadn’t fallen in love.  I feel SO differently about the Literati, though.  It is now the most awesome electronic device I own and I’m thrilled to be able to be able to pick up where I left off in a book easily, have my library all in one place, and I love the fact that my daughter can look at children’s books on it, too!  As someone who gets frustrated because my toddler is always “reading” my books and ends up tearing them, losing my place, and/or putting them somewhere so I can’t find them easily, I’m thrilled with this reader!

Oh, the other thing I REALLY appreciate and will use it for often is cooking!  I can load cookbooks onto it (mine came with three Hungry Girl cookbooks so I got to try this out right away) and have the idea that I can create a document with my favorite recipes on it and put that in the “Documents” area of the eReader, giving me a place to go back to favorite recipes that aren’t in cookbooks.  I also love that I can throw it into my diaper bag/purse and it’s not going to take up too much space or add much weight at all.

The features are really everything I wanted and even the negative reviews I’ve read recently outlining this reader’s failings haven’t dimmed the electronic reading experience for me one bit.  I’m not sure what happened to them but I do know there has recently been a software update and I’d say it successfully fixed any glitches since I haven’t had problems.  I think the Literati is a terrific gift idea for yourself or a loved one.  You’re getting a lot of great features for a low price that even the most popular readers don’t have and, based on my experience, I’m glad to be able to recommend it!

Want One?

You can purchase a Literati Wireless Reader at The Sharper Image for $129.99.  You can also find it in-store and online at stores such as Kohls, JCPenney, and Macy’s.  There are some GREAT deals at Macy’s and Bed, Bath, and Beyond so I would check there first.  :)  I know that Bed, Bath, and Beyond had it on sale for $119 with a $20 rebate at one point.  You can also purchase the Literati at Amazon.com here.

Links of Interest

Sharper Image Online
Literati Wireless Reader Official Page
Literati on Facebook
Literati on Twitter

Thanks to The Sharper Image, you have the chance to win a Literati Wireless Reader of your own!

Giveaway closed – Congrats to the lucky winner!


{Prize} Literati Wireless Reader.
{Eligibility} Open to the US and Canada.  One person per household.

{Mandatory Main Entry – do this before moving on to extra entries}

Tell me in a comment who this reader would be for if you win AND what your favorite feature is!

Optional Extra Entries – Get 1 extra entry for each unless otherwise noted:
(Leave a separate comment for each extra entry!)

  • Watch one of the four Literati demos HERE and then come back and tell me what you learned (+2 extra)
  • Follow Literati on Twitter and/or Fan Literati on Facebook (+1 extra entry each)
  • Follow me on Twitter (@kindred_spirit)
  • Share this giveaway via Facebook and/or Twitter – Finish the sentence and say the following:
    If I #win the Literati eReader @kindred_spirit is giving away, I will use it to _______.  http://bit.ly/em43j6
    You can tweet/Facebook this daily for 1 extra entry each, limit 2 times daily for this giveaway only
  • Grab this button and put it in your sidebar – must be in full view at all times, not in a scrolling line of buttons (5 extra entries!)
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  • Follow my blog, Subscribe to my blog by feed reader, and/or Subscribe to my blog by email (1 extra each)
  • Blog about this giveaway and include a link to this giveaway and www.literatireader.com. (+5 extra)

Giveaway will be closed on January 10, 2011 at midnight PST and winner drawn randomly.  Winner will be notified by email and will then have 48 hours to reply to my email or I will have to draw another winner.  Good luck, everyone!

Other Places to Enter to Win a Literati Right now:

Southern Bella’s Ways to Save (Ends 12/31)
The Mom Reviews
(Ends 1/2)
Blommi (Ends 1/11)
Crazy Coupon Mommy (Ends 1/20)
Feisty, Frugal, & Fabulous (Ends 1/20)

I was provided with a Literati Wireless eReader in order that I might give you a thorough review. This post is 100% my own opinion, thoughts, and experiences, and was not edited or reviewed by anyone.  I do not feel obligated to write a positive review – I’ll always share my honest thoughts on products. I was not compensated monetarily for this post.

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