Are E-Book Readers Better than Books?
By Tricia Lake
There's been a lot of buzz in recent months about eBook
Readers. Both Amazon and Sony have introduced eBook readers
onto the market in the last couple of months, and what was
once almost a dead topic has become a live one again. But is
an eBook reader better than a book? The quick and easy
answer is that sometimes it is...and sometimes it isn't,
which doesn't help much at all. In this article I'll examine
in more detail when an eBook reader is a good thing to have
and when it isn't.
The first thing I need to define is what is an eBook reader,
because in one form or another they have been around for
years, but still haven't really taken off the way that, say,
the iPod did for music.
An Reader is an electronic device that takes the place
of a physical book. Personal Digital Assistants, or PDAs,
have had readers installed on them for years, and some
people use them, myself included to read books. There are
also some other dedicated readers on the market.
These devices really didn't become popular for a few
reasons: the range of books available was limited, especially in new
titles is limited; the screen is small and backlit, which
can lead to eyestrain. And it doesn't feel like you are
reading a book. For some people this is the main downside of
the old batch of readers. With the new ones there have
been some changes.
Advantages of reading your book on an eBook reader:
There are some distinct advantages to using an eBook reader
rather than a traditional book. The first and foremost is
for people on the move, whether it is a commute or going on
vacation: they are light and easy to carry. They don't
crease like a book and you don't have to lug them around.
The latest batch have also done away with the traditional
backlit screen and instead have gone for a screen that's
paper-like in its appearance, so you feel like you are
reading a real book instead of a computer.
Both Sony's and Amazon's version of the reader is the size
of a trade paperback, so it mimics the feel of a book more
than a PDA did in years past.
With a reader you can also have a large library without it
taking up much space at all. If you are cramped for space,
or have run out of room on your bookshelves, then an eBook
reader could help solve your storage problems.
Simply put, the eBook reader is not a book, with all that implies. They
are an electronic device, and if you like the feel of paper
in your hand as part of the experience of reading a book,
then you will find one of these devices jarring to use.
You can't get out your pen and take notes, if you like to do
that. The reader is not a computer, even if it has a lot of
the characteristics of a computer, and for that reason it
may not fill your needs.
When you are reading a book you don't have to worry about it
interfering with the navigation instruments on a plane, so
during take-off and landing you can continue to read. On the
other hand, with an eBook reader, you have to shut it down
the same as you would a cell phone or laptop computer.
Depending on how you read and why you are reading the new
generation of eBook readers may be exactly what you need. If
you are running out of space in your home, or if you commute
and read, then one of these devices may just be very well
what you need. On the other hand, they don't replace the
feel of a book, even if they mimic it. If you are a
traditionalist, you will most probably not like a reader. As
in the case with most new technologies, it depends on what
you are looking to use it for and why. So if you are
considering purchasing one of these, look carefully at the
pros and cons before you do, so that you don't make an
I have recently written a review on Amazon's Kindle eBook reader. If you want to find out more about it then click here for more details.
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