Saturday, August 13, 2011

Choosing an E-Reader

Color Nook
Are you ready to take the plunge and buy an e-reader? Or maybe you have an older model and are ready to trade it in for something newer? Confused by all the choices? Me,too! That's why I wrote a short FAQ for each of the five e-readers that my library currently owns, plus one for my own general-purpose Android tablet. This is only a sample of what's available right now, and doesn't include devices like smartphones, which people presumably purchase for reasons other than just reading books.

When choosing an e-reader, you first want to think about how you want to use it. Will you be using it mostly to read the latest bestsellers? Will you be subscribing to a daily newspaper or monthly magazine? Do you want to be able to borrow ebooks from your library, or access the newspapers and magazines that are in the library's subscription databases? Do you have documents, either personal or work-related, of your own that you want to be able to read at odd moments like waiting in line at the supermarket or in the doctor's office? Do you want a device that you can also use to read your email and surf the Web, or do you want to keep those functions entirely separate?

Your next consideration should be your experience of how intuitive the device is to use, and how comfortable you think it will be to read for long periods of time. This is where the difference between e-Ink screens and backlit LED screens really matters. Are you going to want to read outdoors, or will most of your reading be indoors? Can you turn the pages with either hand, or will you get tired of holding the device the same way all the time? The only way to find out what's right for you is to try out as many e-readers as you can get your hands on. The big-box stores like Staples and Best Buy now carry a variety of e-readers that you can try, but also check with your local library, which may have one or more e-readers for you to try out or even borrow and take home.

In the next few entries, I'll post the FAQs.


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