They say that the age of the book is dead. Over 5,000 years of carving in stone, clay tablets, and paper has given way to ones and zeros stored in the digital memory of an E-reader. A student today in college can have over 5,000 books, which is the equivalent of 5 to 10 bachelor’s degrees stored on a tiny device that you can hold in your hand.
Is the old-fashioned paper and binding of traditional books finished? Is it time to go with the neon colors and gigabytes that can store entire libraries on today’s e-book readers?
What’s inside your e-book reader?
An E-book reader is nothing more than a custom-purpose tablet. It usually has a solid-state disk drive and a CPU and memory just like any of the new tablets and smartphones you see on the market today. However, the displays are specially designed not to wear on the reader’s eyes, mimicking the look of a physical book page. In addition, the software is limited to the decoding of various E-Book formats, which are then displayed to the reader.
E-Book formats are numerous. However, the Amazon Kindle format (AZW) is one of the most favored, where Amazon holds sway with almost 80% of their book sales being E-Books. Running a close second is the Adobe (PDF) format that is recognized universally around the world on any device that is running the Windows operating system.
One of the major exceptions is the People’s Republic of China that for reasons known only to them they restrict the usage of Adobe files and the Adobe reader software, preferring instead to use other packages that can read the PDF format.
Two other formats, EPUB & MOBI, are in wide usage as well.
How many different types of e-book readers are there?
In China alone, there are over 400 different e-book readers on the market. It is a little known fact that China has the largest publishing empire in the world, for both digital and conventional book publications.
In the United States, we have a more limited selection of the best E-Book readers available, the most popular of which are the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Nobles Nook, and Kobo Aura. Amazon has the lion’s share of the e-book market in America sewn up with their Kindle product line.
When you start looking at the specifications for each of these devices your mind begins to boggle at terms like pixel density, SD slot configuration, and whether or not the device supports touchscreen operations. It’s best to go to one of the major bookstore chains or major electronic retailers, such as Best Buy, where these products are on display and physically touch them: and look at them.
At this point, you can make the decision based on how you feel about the device. The next step is to see whether it will accept the books in the format, you have chosen to use.
In my own opinion, you should be able to read all formats as you never know which format a book that you require for your job, possible career advancement, or a book you’ve just been dying to read will come in. Of course, if you are like many people you buy most of your books from Amazon. But, this does not mean you have to buy a Kindle as software is available that allows you to read the Kindle format on many of the other e-book Readers.
Is it worth the price?
Whether the price point is $50 or $300, e-readers are usually worth it, for the following reasons:
- E-books are cost-effective now when compared to the costs of a paper one, which usually retail for several dollars more than the digital equivalent
- Software searching can read through a 100 or 1000 E-books and find that particular piece of information that could mean the difference of you company getting a contract or not.
- You can perform a comparison between 4 or 5 books on a given subject and get a more in-depth knowledge that you could by reading only one.
- E-book readers are more convenient to carry, being lighter and thinner than most printed books.
- An E-book reader takes up significantly less space in your home than a physical library would.
- Highlights are easier, cleaner, and searchable – no need to buy highlighters!
- Instant access to an ever growing library of books
These are only a few of the reasons that rule in favor of you making the shift and buying yourself an E-Book Reader. When you boil it down, the saving in space, moving costs when you change jobs or homes, as well as your ability to reach a deeper understanding of a particular subject area all help in the move to E-Books.
Which e-book reader should you choose?
Most e-readers are dedicated e-ink devices and lack mobile apps and games, so you don’t have to worry about getting distracted. The best eBook readers have similar features and capabilities, but each has something that sets it apart. Our favorite eReaders are the Kindle Voyage, Nook GlowLight and Kobo Aura H2O. Depending on how and where you will be using your device, these three models should have you covered.
Another great alternative to e-readers is your tablet, smartphone or computer. You can read e-books and e-magazines from flipsnack.com, on devices you already own.
Patrick Charuza: Content writer and marketer at Fueled, an award-winning mobile app design and development agency, based in New York City’s SoHo District. At Fueled, we don’t just build apps; with teams of designers, developers and strategists, we create visually stunning products that redefine the technical boundaries of today’s mobile development standards.