To read or “eRead”?
Many moons ago, I would have shrugged off the idea of an eReader as it was new, different, and well, different. The idea of reading a book on a computer screen just didn’t seem natural. Holding a real printed book and turning its pages has been done for centuries and anything else just didn’t seem necessary. (Why fix what isn’t broken?)
Fast forward just as many moons, and the idea of an eReader is making more and more sense to me. I am even looking at the different models available, of which there are many! The fact that anyone reading this article is no doubt reading it on a screen of some kind, is further evidence that we are increasingly becoming a digital world. But are there more advantages with an e Reader than it’s paper-based cousin?
The allure of the printed page
Nothing will beat that new book smell and the feel and sense of owning a real and tangible book. I am also quite fond of walking into a bookstore and perusing the wide assortment. Taking into account their look as well as being able to pick them up and simply lose myself in wandering around.
Alas, it comes as no surprise that buying printed books can be quite expensive. You might be able to take advantage of deals online but then you have to wait for the books to be shipped out and delivered to your doorstop, which can take weeks. Or delivered faster – at a premium.
Convenience over nostalgia?
But once you overcome the lack of tactile interaction, eReaders really do have some great features.
- They are actually very light, very thin and thus, quite convenient. Whether you’re on public transport, on holidays or in your own backyard – it’s great to have literally hundreds of books at your finger tips.
- You can buy a book of your choosing within minutes, without having to leave the comfort of your home.
- It is absolutely a space saver, which is great for people living in small spaces. It will also save you hours of dusting.
- You have the option to get books at a much cheaper price compared to their physical counterparts.
There are some drawbacks compared to hard copy books. For example, lending a book to a friend can pose a challenge, as would reading in the bath (for those so inclined) with a piece of equipment. But if you’re still keen to go down the path of an eReader there’s a few features to weigh up.
Features to consider
As with most products, there are many to choose from, and new models are always arriving.
- The main choice seems to be between getting a simple single purpose eReader which is light weight and easy on the eyes due to the use of E-Ink, or opting for a model which is essentially an eReader/tablet. The latter will of course give you all the bells and whistles of something like an iPad (which itself can be used as an eReader).
- Many versions utilise E-Ink (I had never heard of it either). It basically makes the experience more similar to reading actual text from paper. There is no light behind the screen as there is with computer screens and tablets, so it is much easier on the eyes. Also, once the text is displayed it does not use up any power as the text is in a sense “printed” on the screen that you are viewing.
- Another important factor is the size of the eReader, as well as its screen size. You certainly want to be able to hold the device comfortably, and don’t want to be straining your eyes if the screen size is too small. All dimensions are available online, and it may pay to hold one in the flesh at your local electronics store.
- iPad savvy users may choose to opt for touch screen based eReaders. Physical button models are available and are typically lighter due to the difference in screen technology.
- Certain models are compatible with different eBook formats or file types. I highly recommend doing your research as you may be locked into getting eBooks from one particular source such as Amazon or the Apple store. Whereas other eReaders will grant much more freedom as to where you can get eBooks from and whether or not you can share a book with a friend by simply passing the file over.
- If you don’t fancy the hassle of plugging your eReader into a power source too often, be sure to check the battery life of the eReader that you’re considering.
I hope that this information has given you some food for thought. Nobody wants to see a future where libraries are no longer needed, but hopefully a middle ground can give readers more options and flexibility.