The most sought after reading format is currently e-books. However, choosing an e-book reader is harder than deciding which cereal or shampoo brand to buy. Factories in Taiwan are hard at work adding bells and whistles to e-readers to introduce them as new and improved.
The last time we counted, there were about a dozen new e-book readers marketed or about to be released.
What do I need to know to determine which Ereader should I buy ?
Displaying text clearly and well for the purpose of reading books is what e-readers do. Here are a few other features you must insist upon:
1. Readable in all environments (including sun).
2. Low on eyestrain.
3. Easily carried.
4. Long battery life.
It is lucky that the majority of e-book readers on the market today have the same basic criteria.
There are lots of e-reader divices to choose from. Additionally, many of them are similar in function, style, and appearance. The majority of e-books are the size of a paperback book. They use a display source called EInk that originates from a company based in Cambridge, MA.
Amazon Kindle is certainly the best known e-reader. Is it really worth that much more than the newer (perhaps knock-off) Nook Color e-book reader at $250?. See our Nook versus Kindle Comparison
Regardless of whether you want to read Thank God it’s Monday, or the latest in the Twilight saga, you will benefit from reading our guide to choosing an e-book reader.
Access to content
The first thing you will want to keep in mind when asking the question which Ereader should I buy – is your access to content. The majority of e-book manufacturers also have e-book stores of their own. Size is definitely important. You will have a better chance of finding the book you want if the manufacturer has agreements with lots of publishers.
Amazon’s Kindle is great for this. Because it is the largest online book retailer, Amazon has leveraged that relationship for the benefit of Kindle. In fact, Amazon’s e-book store is arguably the largest. According to Amazon, it has over 285,000 books.
However, Sony isn’t going to stay behind for long. A partnership with Google that would bring approximately half a million classic books to the digital book store was announced. You can get those books free with a Sony Reader. At the close of 2008, Sony offered about 100,000 e-books in its store.
Other options in e-book readers (e.g. iRex iLiad or the Hanlin eReader) are not equipped with that kind of strength. Therefore, even though these e-book users are able to buy books from alternate online book stores, the experience is not smooth and integrated. It’s like buying music for your iPod via iTunes as opposed to purchasing music for the SanDisk music player on iTunes.
The majority of e-book readers will support JPG, MP3, TXT & HTML. There are basically 2 types of formats in the e-book world. Amazon has a proprietary format called .azw which is similar to MobiPocket. There is also an open source known as ePub. Most e-readers support ePub, but Amazon Kindle does not.
The majority of large publishers make their books available in the ePub format. This includes Google Classic Books. Designers can create titles that are better formatted on ePub because it is open source, so it is a bit better than Amazon’s proprietary format in this respect.
Additionally, if you are not fond of DRM, you can get books that are free of it in the ePub format, but probably not in the .azw format. Someday, Amazon may open up Kindle so that it supports ePub. Until then, which one do you want to choose?
Using the e-reader for other things aside from books
Aside from books, what else would you like to read with your e-book reader? If you only want to read books, look into Nook Color, starting at $250.
Amazon allows users with Kindle 2 to publish blogs to Kindle. Because it has a wireless connection, you can use Kindle to surf the web in a very basic way. Or better yet, how about hacking your device to enable it to run some spiffy applications? You may be better off getting an e-book of a little known brand that, nonetheless, runs a Linux operating system.
Price and brand
How much money do you have to spend and how significant is the brand to you? Of course, money is tight these days, thanks to the recession. Kindle is a nice unit with good looks, its also cheap starting at $79. Bookeen Cybookis a few dollars less at $350. You might choose the Cool-er, which is priced at only $250. Of course, it’s not Kindle, but it is less expensive. Would that be a satisfactory option?