Feeling overwhelmed by the technological revolution taking place in the publishing world right now? Wish you could make sense of the e-reader choices out there and how they compare? This is your one-stop shop for a crash course in choosing an e-reader as well as some tutorials on how to use them.
Also note that the file format for each reader is listed below its description in this post. Something most people are not aware of is how easy it is to convert e-book files after they are purchased, making them readable on any device or app no matter what they were originally purchased for. Anyone who owns an e-reader or reads e-books really needs to download the free software calibre. Calibre is an e-book managment platform that allows users to get about twice as much enjoyment from their e-reading experience. To see what I mean, visit their about page and check it out!
I’ve owned a Kindle 2 for a couple years. I love it.
- Effortless to download e-books using its Whispersync technology.
- I hear you can listen to your own mp3 music files (if you set that up in the Experimental section of the Kindle settings. I’ve not tried it yet, but apparently it’s pretty cool.
- I love the audio feature of Kindle. I often plug my handsfree headphones into my Kindle and listen to my e-books on long road trips. Great for me, as I’m usually to busy to read otherwise these days.
- I can read my Kindle books anywhere. I can start reading on my Kindle device, effortlessly pick up where I left off on my Kindle for iPhone app, then switch over to my Kindle for Mac or PC and not miss a beat. Awesome!
- I can access the biggest bookstore in the world and in sixty seconds download any book I want.
- A little slow on the page turning but not bad.
- No capability for reading enhanced e-books (audio/video). This is a real bummer for me, since I’m excited about this up and coming technological advance in e-publishing. It’s the main reason I am looking to buy a NookColor next, so I have that capability.
- Clunky, slow access to the Internet. I don’t even use this device to access the Internet because it is so slow. I believe this slow connectivity is much improved in the Kindle 3.
You can download Kindle books to your Droid, iPod, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, Android tablet, or desktop computer (virtually any device out there that has a screen). Here are some quick links to unlock this potential.
I find reading books on my iPhone (and the iPad, when I get a chance to peek at one) to be the most user-friendly, intuitive and aesthetically pleasing read of all my e-reading apps/devices. The NookColor might be on par, but I’d need a full on comparison to decide for sure. I love the design of the interface of iBooks. Even on the tiny iPhone screen, it’s a pleasure to read on. Of the few enhanced ebooks I’ve had a look at on iPad, they are spectacularly designed and look beautiful on the device. Wow.
- iPod touch vs Kindle: Which is Best for Reading? http://www.filterjoe.com/2011/02/07/ipod-touch-vs-kindle-which-is-best-for-reading/.
- Tips on how to read iBooks on your iPhone: http://forums.techarena.in/portable-devices/1396757.htm. (I do this exclusively because I don’t own an iPad. I love it.)
- The quick and dirty on how to read your epub and PDF files on iBooks: http://www.ipadtomactransfer.org/ipad-tips/how-to-read-books-on-ipad-with-ibooks.html.
[File format: EPUB]
I’ve briefly played with NookTouch and NookColor. Both are well-designed and easy to read and use. I think the NookColor is over-priced, but I still want one because I want better access to enhanced, interactive e-books. =) One of the coolest things about Nook? You can lend your Nook books to friends or family for a time period. Awesome, huh?
- General review and discussion of features: http://bostinnovation.com/2011/03/26/nook-color-review-roundup-features-suggest-ereader-boom-now-primed-to-reach-it%E2%80%99s-peak/
- Here’s a fantastic tutorial on how to read e-books on a Nook device and it’s accompanying apps for computers and mobile devices: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/26332/read-all-your-ebooks-on-nook-for-pc-and-portable-devices/.
- Here are some video tutorials: http://www.e-readerfeeder.com/how-to-use-your-nook.html.
- How to Put Library Books from Overdrive on Your Nook: http://beingruth.com/tutorial-library-books-nook-overdrive/.
[File format: EPUB]
Kobo is the soon-to-be dissolved Borders Books’ answer to Barnes and Noble’s Nook E-reader. While Borders might be collapsing, the Kobo E-reader will live on. If you own a Kobo or are thinking about buying one, you might be wondering how safe your Kobo library collection might be with Borders going bye-bye. Well, Kobo is set up differently than other E-readers. Borders Books partnered with the independently owned ebook company, so Kobobooks.com will remain financially stable throughout Borders Books’ downfall and beyond.
Note: I’ve explored a Kobo device once and don’t currently have one available to report more in-depth on. But I will say that I found the keyboard incredibly clunky to use.
- Here’s a blow-by-blow comparison of Kobo Touch ereader vs. Amazon Kindle: http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/blogs/parenting/archive/2011/07/20/kobo-touch-ereader-review.aspx.
- Here’s a more standard review of its features: http://ebook-reader-review.toptenreviews.com/kobo-ereader-review.html.
- Want to know how to drag and drop your own documents onto a Kobo? http://kobo.zendesk.com/entries/386254-how-to-use-drag-and-drop-to-put-books-and-documents-on-a-kobo-ereader.
[File format: EPUB]
E-Book and E-Reader Predictions
We’ll have to move closer and closer to a standard in e-book formatting/coding.
Current E-readers are woefully behind the Web on being able to display even the most simplest of design choices–specialty fonts, widows and orphans, videos, audio, etc. In the next five years, I see e-book design gaining the most growth. The fanciest e-reader in the world doesn’t matter a tiff if it can’t handle the simplest of html coding. If you’ve never had to put an e-book on a reader, you might not realize that it requires a great deal of xhtml/css coding in order to get the design how you want it. Even then, a multitude of compromises must be made and workarounds to major formatting issues must be sought out.
Current users of these various e-readers often complain about the poor design in the e-books they are downloading. Having gone through the design phase myself on iPad and Kindle, here’s what I’ve discovered:
- Every e-reader has coding bugs
- Each e-reader has particular formatting quirks, and each requires it’s own version of a book file to compensate for these quirks.
- Traditional, small, and indie publishers alike must overcome steep learning curves, as most of us didn’t go to school for this sort of thing.
Wow, I’m so slow to join the e-reader club, I’d love to get one and am heartened by all the advances in technology that continue to be made; love the idea of having a choice of gadget (or book) to read with and like the fact that an e-book can be easier on the eyes, not possible to increase the font size in a book!
It’s never too late to join the e-book revolution. =) And yes, increasing the font size is a big plus. My eyes aren’t what they used to be. *sigh* I particularly love the audio feature on my Kindle and the beautiful interface on iBooks on my iPhone. Now, essentially, I can read anything anywhere at any time. Woot!
Tweeted this out there Cheri, it’s a great article!
Thanks so much, Toby. Much appreciated!