Why get an eReader?

by A.D Paterson on 28/01/2011

The eReader has made life so much easier for people who have a huge amount of ebooks and documents, and never seem to have the time to actually get around to reading them. But, is being able to take your ebooks with you a good thing, or not?

Electronic books have been available online for many years now, but the biggest drawback with them has been that reading them isn’t always the easiest of things to do. It’s not that it’s difficult to open one and read one while sitting at your computer, the problem is that it can get uncomfortable sitting in front of a monitor reading a lot of text.

Another problem with reading an ebook on your computer is the constant distractions. You’ll just be getting to the part that makes sense of what you’ve been trying to learn, and a message will pop up to say that you’ve got mail, or someone’s Skype’s you, or you decide to check out that auction you’ve been watching, or… well, any number of other or’s.

For all of those reasons the ebooks that people have been gathering have just lay there, on the hard drive, like some sort of digital parasites sucking up disk space; then the eReader arrived.

Not everyone has taken advantage of this technology to download their educational and instructional ebooks and take them away on holiday with them; but people did see the benefits of turning physical books into a format that could be read on one of the many makes and models of eReader on the market.

One big plus is the sheer volume of books that can be stored away on one small eReader. Even the simplest model has enough storage capacity to keep the average person reading for years.

Of course, some makes are better than others, but it really comes down to what you actually want to do with the device, other than reading books, that is. Many of the models will let you do much more than just read books, but they come at a cost, in terms of both price and performance.

The more things the device can do, the more often you have to recharge the battery. Even on a dedicated eReader with a colour display or a wifi the battery is going to drain quicker than you’d like.

Another problem with devices that do a lot of other things is the reflection on the screen. Most of these multifunctional devices have TFT (thin-film transistor) screens, and while these will let you use them in the dark, the backlit screens tend to reflect what’s in front of them, and this get’s very distracting when you’re trying to concentrate on reading what’s on the screen.

Some of the eReader’s get around this by using E Ink. E Ink gives you a screen that shows various shades of grey, and looks a lot like the way the numbers are displayed on digital watches. Also, if you’ve left your glasses behind, and the writing’s a bit too small to read, you can adjust the font size up to something a bit more readable.

For many people the answer to the question of whether being able to take your ebooks with you is, ‘yes’. If you like to travel, and usually take a small libraries worth of books with you, or you have a corner of your hard drive filled with educational books you’ve been meaning to read then you’re going to love owning an eReader.

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