E-Readers are all the rage this year. Apparently they are the “it” gifts to give or to get. But which ones? Ah, there’s the rub. The trouble with e-readers is that when you select one, you not only select the reader but also the accompanying content, or not, as the case may be. For example, the Nook’s content is Barnes and Noble, the Kindle boasts Amazon, and Sony has Google behind it. Then there’s price: which ones are the best for the dollar? It really depends on what you want to do. If you want only to read, some of the cheaper models are the way to go. if you want to do more than read books, expect to pay in the $450+ range. Moreover, if you buy the Sony, you can’t read Nook books on it and vice-versa. We’ve a long way to go if e-readers are really going to replace paper, but until then, you’ll need a map to get through the two dozen or more available platforms and the varying content providers.
The best thing you can do is come by the library first and test-read some of the many e-readers we have: Kindle, Kindle DX, Nook, Edge Entourage, Sony and more. If you’re still not sure, Diane Dilworth lists many of them their prices, and their merits and defects here. When you buy, buy with the understanding that something better, faster and easier to operate will be coming out soon, meaning you’ll have to buy again not many months hence. That’s the bad news. the good news is that it may be cheaper, unless they’ve add MacGyver’s Swiss Army Knife that allows you to control some Department of Defense satellites, in which case it will cost a mortgage payment. Ah, they joys of new technology, eh?
Don’t be mislead by Kindle’s famous drop test video. E-readers may act like books, but they do not drop like them. Drop it and you’ll like have to buy another sooner rather than later. Leave one in a hot car and you’ll likely have to replace it. Further, don’t forget to put it out of harm’s way (for example, away from water) and don’t forget to charge your unit regularly. Nothing is more irritating than to get out somewhere and realize you have only minutes left on your battery. Finally, don’t skimp on accessories; you need a cover, an extra charger, a car charger, and a screen protector. be prepared for some ambient light to wash out you screen no matter what you’ve read elsewhere.
E-readers are fun novel, and, well, a sizable investment whether you’re buying them online on Black Monday, or closer to the Christmas season. Some readers swear by them; other readers just swear at them. You really won’t know until you try one out. My advice is to do more than test one in the store. You need at least an hour with one before you can be sure your investment is worth it.
Here’s another useful tag that describes the rise of e-readers and the coming explosion of color ink (a la, the Nook).