E-readers – still the ultimate arch-nemesis of ardent print lovers who won’t stand for anything less than the nice solid and tangible paperbacks. In spite of the inevitable suspicions which arise when seeing one for the first time, sales reports and various polls show that humanity seems to be warming up to the idea of having a whole library stored on a single device which, on top of everything, looks like a Start Trek prop. Are you thinking of getting one? Let’s have a look at your options
Even without the reign of the almighty Kindle, E-readers are still a very competitive market, which luckily means that any company who’s serious about getting in the game needs to have its own excellent software and hardware. In the end of course, what matters most is the E-Books and on that note we begin our list with…
1. Amazon Kindle Touch
At the moment, Kindle E-Books sales comprise about half of all E-books bought. Half, yes. This is not a coincidence – Amazon has been selling books since the ancient 90s and has developed great relationships with its customers and publishers. They offer a great variety of books, they’re safe and trustworthy and so are their E-Readers. Kindle Touch is their best-selling product; it’s cheap, sturdy, has a great battery life and Wi-Fi. What it doesn’t have though is extendable memory and 3G. This means that you’ll probably have to delete some parts of the Twilight Saga of you reach the generous 4GB data storage limit. An only be able to download books if you’re connected to a Wi-Fi source. So, no more impulsive shopping.
2. Barnes & Noble Nook
Nook is fancy. Its design and user interface are close to brilliant and it seems as if its designers did everything they could to make it better than Kindle Touch. Its battery is reputed to last more than two months and it boasts an extendable memory of up to 25GB with SD cards. That’s more than enough for all the werewolf romance novels you’ll ever read. It offers Wi-Fi in every Barnes & Noble bookstore where you can actually browse through and read the books you see on the shelves and gain access to exclusive content. This is how it’s slowly hooking you on the gadget. Trying to make you forget that printed books ever existed…pure evil, this is.
3. Kobo E-Reader Touch
Let’s get straight to the point. Kobo is popular because it’s the cheapest quality E-Reader you find on the market these days. It has a well-designed interface, some very attractive fonts to fiddle with (why not read Hamlet in comic sans?) and a good catalogue with prices that match Amazon’s. It’s light and durable, doesn’t deviate much from the tech-spec standards of all good E-readers. On the other hand, it doesn’t have any physical page turn buttons, which some people find awkward and it doesn’t have 3G, so you’re still limited to Wi-Fi hotspots. Kobo is currently launching in Japan and is said to be extremely successful there, so perhaps we’re looking at a retailer who’ll impress us with a catalogue of foreign titles.
4. Sony E-reader series
Is probably the lightest of the bunch, fits inside a reasonably sized clutch so that ladies can read Jane Eyre on the way to a dinner party and gentlemen can fit it in any larger pocket. Another fine novelty that comes with Sony’s little gadget is a stylus which allows you to make annotations on the pages – yes, doodles needn’t become extinct just because you’re switching to E-Books. It also has expandable memory to up to 32G Busing SD card. It is also reputed to be incredibly sturdy, so accidently dropping it will not delete your entire collection. The only bad side to it is apparently the price – Sony Reader is more costly than most E-Readers, even Kindle.
5. Kindle Keyboard 3G
Another kindle! How can that be! Well, we’ve only been reviewing small touch screen E-Readers up to this point, because they are the latest models and best-sellers, but if you want to show the world that you mean business and by business, we mean book-business, your best option is still Amazon Kindle Keyboard. It’s big, but ergonomic, has a large screen for easy reading a wee speaker for audiobook and 3G so that you can download any book you want literally anywhere. Plus, the keyboard makes the search in a large book collection a lot easier. It still has limited memory, which means you can only have around 3, 500 books in your collection, but its high quality E-ink screen will certainly make reading any book such an incredible experience that you won’t mind reading them again and again.
Perhaps you’ll notice I’ve only reviewed E-Readers and not devices such as Kindle Fire, Google Nexus or the Nook tablet – all of them have E-Reader apps installed, but the experience of reading books on any of them is a lot more similar to reading a book on your laptop, due to the fact that their screens are obviously intended to be a lot more versatile. Even though we can look forward to the day when all these devices will merge into one and enable us to experience high-quality reading on tablets, E-Readers are still the best alternative to printed books.