Wednesday, December 7, 2011

E Readers

Someone loaned me a book to read a few weeks ago. An actual paper book. It was also a hardcover, which made it way heavier than my Kindle. I was so frustrated with it -- I couldn't change the font, I couldn't just flip the cursor down to look up a word, I couldn't switch to my tablet at night to read in the dark, I couldn't put it in a ziplock baggy and read it in the tub, and I had to scrounge for a bookmark when I stopped reading for a while. And it weighed a ton in my purse. Oh, and everyone at my daughter's dance class knew what I was reading and felt the need to ask me about it (or talk to me about it if they'd already read it) while I was trying to read. I've read regular paper books for the vast majority of my life, but to go back to them now is frustrating. And awkward. You have to hold it with one hand and turn the pages with another. I mean, seriously -- how did I survive that for all of those years?

Do you use an e-reader? How do you prefer to read? Paper book... e-book?

Long before e-readers were mainstream, I had a small laptop (that we now call a netbook, but back then I just called it the baby laptop) that ran on Linux. E-book readers cost almost as much as my netbook did, at the time, but I could do everything on my netbook that I could do on a full size computer. Years later I bought a tablet netbook that ran on Windows XP -- it was a netbook with a screen that flipped around flat, and the screen was a touch screen.  When the third generation Kindles came out I got one of them, mainly because when I was traveling for work the battery on the netbook crapped out while I was doing actual work and unless I could find a place to plug back in, I couldn't read once I'd finished working. After a six hour flight where the netbook died thirty minutes into the flight, the idea that I would only need to charge the Kindle once a month (ish), was a huge selling point for me. But then I got it, and it was so light weight, and so easy to turn the page, I was hooked even without taking the battery life into the equation.

I now have one of the new Droid tablets - an Acer Iconia, which I love. I won't be taking it to the bathtub with me, like I do my Kindle (inside of a ziplock baggy, just to be safe), but still, it's another way to read. The best thing about the netbooks and tablets is that I can read in the bedroom after my husband is asleep without  having to turn a light on. Between the Kindle for sunshiny days and the tablet for low light settings, I'm set.

What I'm getting around to saying is that I've got a lot of experience with different ways to read e-books. I'm usually not a fan of dedicated devices that do only one thing, but the Kindle is an exception to that rule for me. It's lightweight, intuitive to use, and it lasts practically forever between charges (when compared to most other devices). From what I understand, the Nook is pretty much the same as the Kindle, whether you choose one or the other would depend on where you prefer to shop, what most of your friends have (so you can lend to each other), and which your local library supports.

For people trying to decide between an e-ink device and an LCD device, you'll need to look at when and where you'll be reading the most.  You literally cannot read an LCD in the sunshine, and you can't read an e-ink device in the dark. You can increase the font so you can read in lower light than you could with a regular book, but that only goes so far, and probably isn't good for your eyes. Speaking of which, if you know someone who is older who loves to read but who has a hard time finding large print books, or who has trouble reading because of arthritis in their hands, an e-ink device would be a great gift for them. I let my MIL borrow mine while my husband was in the hospital (I read my netbook while she read my Kindle) and she fell in love with it for both of those reasons. She doesn't have a computer, or internet access, so we had to get her a 3G version.

What did you first start reading ebooks on? What have you read them on over the years? What do you use now? Are you lusting after one of the new e-readers or tablets?


  1. Candace,

    I started reading ebooks on my computer. The first person in my family to get an ereader was my mom. I bought it for her for mother's day (a Sony ebook) and she loved it. This past September I bought her a Kindle because she was having issues with her Sony not downloading. She's a voracious reader, something she passed on to me, and she doesn't go anywhere without her Kindle. When she discovered the free books section on Amazon, she was in hog heaven. My only job now is to keep the gift certificates going.
    For myself, I have a Kindle, Nook Color, and Kindle Fire. I use the Kindle a lot, and the other two not so much...I don't spend a lot of time playing games (unless it's Angry Birds or Slots) and I'd rather watch a movie on my television not a small screen.

  2. I got my first eReader mid-2010, I think? It was a first generation Nook, and it's still my favorite for reading pdf files. I got a Nook Color last Christmas, which I read all non-pdf books on. It's a beauty! (Love the backlit screen.) This Christmas, I've asked Santa to bring me a Kindle Touch, because Amazon does have some great deals on eBooks.

    ~ Diana