The cheapest ereader there is? The Sharper Image Literati ereader for only $39.99!

I got excited when ereader prices dropped below $100……  But this is astonishing.

OK, obviously not the best ereader there is, but for that price one can surely forgive its lack of all manner of fancy functions, and accept it for what it is, simply a very basic device on which to read ebooks, no more, but also, no less.

The normal price for this ereader is around the $200 mark, which is way too much for such a device, which is probably why online eshop Bed, Bath and Beyond are currently offering it for $39.99, and apparently if you sign onto their online News Letter you will get a further 20% reduction, bringing the price down to $31.99.   Even if you go to one of the online Chinese sites, where you are offered hundreds of different ereaders for very little money (if you buy at least 100 of them at a time) you wont find an ereader for this price, I am sure.

Coloured screen here:

This is an ereader that uses a coloured LCD screen, which is both good and bad.  The good is that it is great for kid’s ebooks and magazines, easy to read in low light – or even no light, but lousy in bright sunlight (ever tried to use a laptop in the full glare of the sun?) and its battery empties in a matter of hours, rather than the several weeks a monochrome e-Ink screened ereader gives us.   But these are matters of personal preference, obviously.

WiFi or 3G?   Nope.

Further, it has no form of WiFi or 3G connectivity, which means in order to get ebooks into it, you need a computer and an internet connection.   However, there are plenty of very good ereaders out there that are the same, and most users of those ereaders get on fine with that, simply get into the way of doing it and are happy.

What else does it not have?

Given that it has a coloured LCD screen, one might imagine it would be great for playing videos on, but nope, it does not support that activity, perhaps sadly.

And on the positive side…

Here things get better, it supports both Adobe protected ePub files and non-protected ePub files, as well as TXT and PDF files, so you will be able to get enough ebooks to keep you happy for years and years…. Though I sort of suspect the ereader itself wont last that long, somehow.

There are 5 different text sizes to choose from, and as a nice extra, you can choose between two text types as well – serif and sans-serif.

Also, rather impressively, it has a range of screen brightnesses, 7 of them to be exact, which does impress me a lot.

There is also a dictionary, but unfortunately you have to type in any word you wish to look up, rather than is normal on ereaders,  where you simply highlight any word you wish to look up.. But it is a dictionary, so…….

What more?

Oh yes, it has 256MB of internal memory and has an SD memory card slot as well, so you can store many thousands of ebooks either in its own memory, or on a collection of SD cards.

As a nice touch, it comes with a cover as well, though people have complained about how it holds the ereader in place, as it seems the fixing gets in the way of the main control buttons on the device.

They have made a link with Kobo, so you can sync with any Kobo reading App and connect directly (via your computer) to the Kobo online ebook store, which is useful as well.

As you will have noted from the picture, it has a very large keyboard and a number of control buttons around the place, so no touch screen here (I did say it was basic), but via the keyboard and the navigation buttons it all seems to work fine.

Point to remember:

Should you buy one of these ereaders, please ensure that you have one with the latest firmware (the software that makes it work) installed, this should be Version 1.9.  If you have firmware with a lower number – 1.6 for example – you will have all manner of problems with the device and I seriously recommend that you download and install the most recent version as soon as you get the ereader home.


As is obvious, this is about as basic an ereader as one could find, but having said that, it works with both DRM and non DRM protected ebooks as well as PDF files, has colour and is extremely cheap, so if it does what you want, and you like LCD screens, then this is definitely a device to consider buying.

Seems to me to be an ideal device to give to kids as their first ereader (cheaper than any toy ereader I have seen), or to have a number of around the house… in the kitchen filled with recipes for example.    Certainly a good thing to keep in the family car to ensure that your kids are happily occupied as you go on longish trips….  The list of possible uses goes on… and on…..


Share with us:

Do you have one of these ereaders?  If so, how did you find it to be?   Any use?  Do let us know your feelings about this baby.

12 thoughts on “The cheapest ereader there is? The Sharper Image Literati ereader for only $39.99!

  1. Joe

    At first I was quite upset about this. I ordered an Augen “The Book” sunday night, $104 with shipping. But as I think about it, the Augen with its nice case, extra features and such, I probably still made the right choice.

    But at that price one should probably pick one up if only for an extra.

    1. Tony Post author

      @ Joe,
      Sorry that happened to you…. Next time I shall try and write such posts before such offers happen…..

      But as you say, at $40 a time, it seems like a good idea to have a couple of them lying around the place….

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    1. Tony Post author

      I know… I know….. Obviously a serious lack in my character has been uncovered. I shall take advice on how best to correct this failing

    1. Tony Post author

      Well, yes, it does have WiFi, but only to connect to the Kobo shop, so effectively it doesn’t really have WiFi.

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  4. Javes W

    I had a Kobo and someone literally crushed it. I sighed and made all manner of annoying sounds while trying to read books from my smartphone. It worked, in less than 48 hours, I was given the Literati. It is limited in what it can do, but for the price it does what its supposed to do. It has WiFi. You can’t surf the web but you can buy books and sync it to your Kobo account. Better yet, use Calibre and your all set. It has a night reading mode and can read protected books. What I do not like is it freezes sometimes and it has no option from removing books from the Im Reading List which greatly annoys me.
    Other than that i’m good and when this gets destroyed, I’ll buy another without blinking.

  5. Jill

    Javes W,
    It does have an option to remove books from the “I’m reading” list. There is 3 ways you are able to do it. 1st you can click the “I’m reading” tab, select the book you want to remove. Bring up the table of contents, click the very last page in the book and then it closes and goes back to the “Library” tab. 2nd from any computer sign into your kobo account. Click “My Library” at the top of the kobo web page. The books you’re reading should come up. Click the ones you want to remove and then sync your ereader. 3rd you can do the last step from your ereader also.

    Also to whoever said it doesn’t have wifi, obviously hasn’t used the wifi option on the ereader. True you’re not able to “surf” the internet with the connection but that is WHY it’s called an EREADER! Ereaders are to READ BOOKS. NOT surf the INTERNET.


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