Despite the outcry from beleaguered print publishers, ereaders are becoming more and more popular as a convenient means for bookworms to carry tomes around. Electronic book readers are here to stay and there are now a large range of book reading devices on the market.
Some book lovers will still bemoan the fact that ereaders are soulless; with an ebook reader there’s no tactility, one can’t open an old book and smell that unique musty whiff generally found in libraries and old book shops. However, whilst the ‘real thing’ will always hold a special place in the heart for many, ereaders have numerous advantages over print volumes.
An electronic book reader allows a user to take an entire library with them when they leave the house. Whilst many might enjoy having a wall full of books at home, you can’t take them with you and they do tend to take up an awful lot of room.
Most ereaders have a superb battery life of anything between 2 weeks to a month of continuous use. Whilst devices do come with a charger, it isn’t always necessary to carry these around, especially if you’re out for a day, weekend or during long trips.
Other advantages include the ability to increase text size, meaning that those with poor eyesight no longer have to purchase hefty tomes in order to be able to enjoy their favourite novel. Electronic book readers are rarely described as ‘dust collectors’ and you don’t hear many complaints that an ereader has been affected by damp and small mites crawling between the pages.
The benefits of an ereader include: less clutter, more portable, great for travel and reading on the go and even better, ebooks tend to cost a lot less than traditional books, or are sometimes free.
What’s the best ereader?
The best ereader will come down to individual preferences and requirements; some people are happy to use applications such as Kindle on PC, iPad or their Android device and not invest in an ereader at all. However, this approach has its disadvantages, the main one being that many find it difficult to read a backlit screen. This can cause eyes to become tired and strained, so it’s not recommended as an alternative to traditional books.
The Kindle from Amazon has perpetually been a best seller in all of its forms since it emerged on the market in 2007, and is often credited as the electronic book reader that made the medium popular. However, there now exists a huge range of ereaders for purchase from major and minor manufacturers, making choosing something of a headache.
Sony remain the second most popular eBook readers and they have a lot in common with Kindle devices. This includes the use of Electronic Ink (E Ink) and a natural-looking book reading screen that can be used even in direct sunlight.
Connectivity is something to consider when investing in an ereader; if you want to download books, magazines and newspapers whilst away from home then it’s a good idea to purchase an ereader with a Wi-Fi or 3G option.
The Kindle Keyboard 3G is a great device for those who travel a lot for example. Not only does it have a Wi-Fi option for use when in range of wireless hotspots, it also allows connection through the Vodafone 3G network. Additionally, it can be used in a number of countries such as the US, Australia and South Africa (and many more) using GSM, making it the perfect ereader for business travellers keen to keep up with news at home.
Sony also has a wireless device on the market, the PSR-T1, which has 2GB of internal memory as well as a MicroSD card slot. This means that the amount of eBooks that can be stored on the ereader is almost limitless as MicroSD cards are now available in sizes of up to 64GB – that’s a lot of books.
Further ereader options
As discussed briefly earlier, a dedicated electronic book reader is not the only available option out there. Many people use the Kindle app for PC, iPad and Android and these are suitable for those who wouldn’t necessarily use an ereader a great deal. The best ereader app for Android is most likely ireader, great if you have an Android tablet or even a phone with a large screen.
However, for those who do read a lot, it’s better to invest in a device which has been designed just for that purpose. This is mostly due to the technology which prevents eye-strain, but there are other advantages such as size and weight. Ereaders are designed to be small and lightweight, so they can be transported easily and held without straining wrists when read for any length of time.
Another advantage to an electronic book reader is that it’s kind to the environment. In a world where sustainability is becoming increasingly important, an ereader offers a great solution to problems such as deforestation.
The best ereader is then a matter of choice and depends on how much it will be used and where it will be used. Basic devices which connect to a PC for downloads, such as the Sony PRS300, are ideal for those who want to load books for reading on long journeys. The lack of connectivity on this ereader means that battery life is longer, lasting up to two weeks and offering thousands of continuous page turns.
For the globetrotter, a device with Wi-Fi and 3G such as the Kindle and Sony devices mentioned above are ideal for downloading fresh content whilst away. Whilst there are a plethora of applications on the market for mobile devices and tablets, these are more useful for reading a small amount or accessing work documents on the move.