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Gift Ideas; Booklights

December 8, 2012

Gift Ideas for Book Lovers and Avid Readers

A practical gift idea for book lovers is a book light for night time reading. I have an old clip on light that I’m sure cost less than ten dollars and it’s still going strong after six years. I use it at home, when camping, and on road trips.

In general, there are a couple of different approaches to book lights, the majority clipping on to the book in some way. When you are shopping around,  keep a few things in mind: how the light attaches to the book; the lumens, or brightness, batteries needed; and general ease of use.

I don’t think there is one perfect book light out there, but I looked around online to give you a few places to start. I haven’t personally used these products, so read the reviews to help you choose the right product for your reading habits. I tried to include more than one online source since inventory can run low this time of year.

The overall best reviews I found were for the Mighty Bright Extra Flex2. Out of 124 reviews on Amazon it averaged a 4.5 out of 5 stars. A similar response was seen at Barnes and Noble. The Extra Flex2 runs on three AAA’s and features two settings for using one or both LED lights.  It weighs 6.1 ounces which might feel a little top heavy on small paperbacks. The two LED setting provides 12 lumens of light. Twelve lumens seems like an appropriate amount of lighting for not disturbing someone else who is trying to sleep in the same room while still illuminating pages well. It comes in a variety of colors, a plus for younger readers.

Kindle users voiced concern about this light since it clips on in a way that may place the clip on the Kindle’s screen and could perhaps damage the screen.  Price hovers around $17.

A smaller version from the same company is the Mighty Bright Mini Flex Light. Using only one AAA it ranks at 5 lumens, but only weighs 2.9 ounces. So if a pocket light is your goal, this seems like a good place to start your search. Price ranges from $10-$12. It can also be found at Amazon.

The main problem with any clip on light is the needed adjustments as you read and turn pages. In most images you will see the clip placed on an open book on the pages being read. I get around this with my clip on light by clipping it to the back half inch or so of the book. This gives me hours of adjustment free reading as I move through the first part of the book.  I then move the light to the front half of the book as I near the end.

A less common design is a book light that attaches to the binder of the book. This seems like a good idea for hard bound books that have a gap behind the binder cloth when it is opened. I can’t see how this would be any benefit on a paperback. According to the Amazon reviews, Zelco’s Itty Bitty Book Light attaches to the binding and provides easy page turning under the flexible, retractable light. The design is very sleek and streamlined., and definitely travel friendly at 1.6 ounces. It uses  3 AAA’s.  I could not find any information on the brightness of the Itty Bitty. This option is more pricey, ranging from $30-$60.

More than once I have found my son using a large “Snake Light” for reading in bed at night. Now the Snake Light is handy, but it’s a bit of an overkill for nighttime reading. I found the HUGlight constructed with the same idea in mind. The HUGlight is a long, flexible tube that fits around the neck allowing the lit ends to be directed where you like.  Using 2 AAA’s, it claims 50 lumens. I wonder if that would be too bright for reading when someone else is in the same room (or tent) trying to sleep. The HUGlight website says its not available in stores. Other than the manufacturer’s website,  I found it online at Tmart and Camping World.  Online images of this book light shows it in various colors, but none of the sites offered a choice, so it may be catch as catch can. At my house that could invite mutiny if I ordered one for my son and we got the pink version. Price range from $6-$10.

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