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Choosing the Right eBook Reader

Are you an avid reader? Still wondering whether to purchase an eBook reader? With so many options, how do you choose? Some people have embraced them but others feel that they are not “real” books and will only buy hard copies in hardback or paperback. If you are considering purchasing an eBook, let us help you choose the right one for you.

How to Choose the Right eBook Make and Model for You

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eBooks are easy to take with you on holiday, saving you valuable space in your suitcase.

The two most popular models today are the Kindle (produced by Amazon) and the Kobo (produced internationally but sold under license in the UK by Waterstone’s and WH Smith amongst others) though there are other choices from Sony and Nook.

Screen Type

There are two different types of screen and which you choose should depend on usage. E-ink or LCD screen (such as those used in TVs, mobile phones and computers). The advantage to the former is that they can be used outside – most people struggle reading LCD screens in bright sunshine. The advantage to the latter is that the resolution is higher, allowing crisper screens and flexibility of use. The latter may cause eyestrain but the former will not.

eBook or Mini Tablet?

If you only want to read books then save yourself some money by purchasing a device only for eBooks. If you want to play games, send emails and use it as a personal organiser, a mini tablet such as a Kindle Fire may be better. Note that these are difficult to read outside due to the LCD screen. They will also have much shorter battery lives.

The eBook Library

Most commercially released fiction is available for all models and most formats. However, if you are more of an adventurous reader and wish to explore self-published works by writers who choose to follow a path other than conventional publishing, you should opt for an Amazon Kindle. Kobo is a good, solid device but it has a much smaller book library at present, particularly in self-published works.

3G/4G or Wi-Fi?

If you don’t travel a lot and don’t need to download books while taking a long train ride, then it won’t be worth paying the extra £50 (on average) for 3G/4G. What is 3G/4G? It’s simply being able to download things and surf the internet while out and about without using your home internet. If you have a mobile phone, you will have a data allowance; having 3G or 4G connectivity is the same thing.

Advantages of eBooks

Portability: Have you ever struggled to choose which books to take on holiday? With an eBook, you can take all of them for no extra weight in your luggage.

Saves pages: No more lost bookmarks slipping out between pages! These devices save your place when you shut the device off and will take you back to the exact page when you switch it on again.

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With eBooks you don’t get a physical copy of the actual book.

No more disturbed partners: You won’t need to keep a light on at night and risk infuriating your partner. The gentle light means you can read in the dark.

Instant purchase: You don’t need to go to a shop, and ordering a book online will deliver faster than conventional post and without carrier charges. It is sent wirelessly by the internet and you will have it in your possession in minutes.

Free books: If you like to read classics and want to purchase all the Dickens, Austin, Hardy, Shakespeare and Bronte’s and so on, these out-of-copyright books are free to download, unlike hard copies where bookshops and online retailers still charge

Disadvantages of Ebooks

Initial cost: Before you buy ebooks, you will need a device on which to read it. Thankfully, you don’t need an eBook reader – your smartphone will do, as will a tablet or laptop. Nevertheless, there is an initial outlay that you won’t have with hard copy books.

Needs power: A flat battery means no reading is possible until you have a power source. Hard copy books don’t need a power source.

The “experience”: Die-hard book lovers who will not buy an eBook cite the “experience” of books. That distinct smell and feel of a book is unrivalled.

Ownership: You should know that once an eBook is purchased, you cannot give it away like you can with hard copies. This is one of the most critical disadvantages to people who may wish to bequeath a book collection to family after their death – you can’t do that with digital files. You have purchased only the license for a digital copy.