Thursday, January 10, 2008

E-Book Readers - A Must Have for Avid Readers

All I want for Christmas is…

An e-book reader. Really. A spiffy little device that reduces eyestrain, includes options for increased font size (for my tired old eyes) and an easy way to download books and documents. That is what I am wishing for this Christmas (or for my birthday, or for my anniversary or any other occasion which may be appropriate…).

Now that my first book is being published as an e-book and I’ve taken on a freelance editing job, I have been paying particular attention to e-book readers on the market. I truly believe that e-books will continue to gain in popularity and eventually achieve the same status as print books currently enjoy. Buying an e-book reader specifically designed to read digital books (as opposed to a PDA or laptop, which have their limits), with its capability to store several books at a time, will eventually become de rigueur for avid readers everywhere. Think of this: next time you go on vacation, do you really want to lug along several printed books that weigh a ton in your already overloaded suitcase? How about downloading several juicy reads into a small, hand held, portable device that gives you the option of reading them all at once during your flight or one at a time over the course of your vacation? It weighs next to nothing and can be slipped into your purse or carry-on for the ultimate in reading convenience. All you have to do is log onto for a great selection of riveting reads!

Available e-book readers include the HanLin eBook, iRex iLiad, STAReBOOK, Bookeen, Sony Reader and Amazon’s Kindle. Of them, the Sony and Kindle seem to be best rated overall by users.

The screens on all of these use some version of E Ink technology that closely resembles black ink on light gray paper. There is no backlight, no glare, and no eyestrain as well as no need to ever turn it off. E Ink technology only uses power when the page is turned. How cool is that?

The Amazon Kindle offers more titles for immediate download than Sony’s Reader but expect this to change as more and more of the traditional print publishers, such as HarperCollins, are beginning the process of turning their print books into digital formats. When this is done, each publisher will contract for exclusive rights with one of the readers; it is up to the consumer to decide which e-book reader offers the best selection based on his/her reading tastes.

Another advantage is the price of e-books. Since you only have to download them in digital format, the cost is less expensive than a printed book (for new releases anyway, especially those in hard cover).

The only disadvantage is the price of the device itself. Ranging anywhere from $280 to $600, the relatively expensive cost puts an e-book reader outside of most family's budget for extras. Since the technology is still relatively new, one can only hope the trend will follow other electronics devices and a reduction in price will soon be forthcoming.

And you can bet when it does, I’ll be first in line to buy one (if my family ignores this post and doesn’t buy one for me as a gift!).

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