e-reader in front of bookcase

All About E-Readers!

July 21, 2022 • General Interest

I often joke that I only have three hobbies; researching books to buy, reading books, and organizing my books.  I mentioned in my last blog that I organize my books by color. However, books can take up a lot of space and aren’t always convenient to carry around – those 500+ page hardcovers are heavy! There is a solution; e-readers or specific apps present many options to read and allow you to bring your personal library with you! 

I swore I would never buy an e-reader. There is something about holding a real book, and turning pages that I love. I was gifted one when they first came out and I used it sporadically for a few months before it became a paperweight. The world of technology has changed drastically though since the Kindle was released in 2007, and the Kobo in 2010. The latest versions offer cool options like auto-adjusting screen brightness, and water resistance! The ability to pick your reading font style and size is also a huge bonus for readers. Never say never… I ordered a Kindle Paperwhite this spring and I’m loving it. 

There are three main options for e-reading and I’ll explain why I ultimately went with a Kindle Paperwhite. 

The most economical way to read e-books is to use an existing device. Both IOS and Android have the Kindle and Kobo apps available for download. These apps will turn your phone, iPad, or tablet into an e-reader. The pro to this option is cost.  If you already own a device, you can access both Kindle and Kobo libraries to purchase and read e-books.  

Regardless of brand, both the Kindle and Kobo offer advantages over using a generic tablet. The major benefit of an e-reader is the use of E-ink technology to mimic ink on a page which reduces eye strain. Glare is reduced, making reading easier in bright light.  Each model comes with a back-lit screen allowing for superior low light reading. Battery life is another perk. These devices only need to be charged every few weeks. I’ve charged mine twice since May, (two months ago) and use it regularly. I like to immerse myself in reading and I love that my e-reader is exclusively for books. I found I was easily distracted while reading on my phone with everything from text messages, and emails to random app notifications.  Both brands have Wi-Fi capabilities and shopping from online stores is easy. If you prefer to browse books on your computer, you can add a device to your account and once you have purchased an e-book it will be waiting to be downloaded. You can even highlight passages in e-books and make annotations if you desire.  

While the Kindle and Kobo are the two most popular brands for e-readers, there are other options. Both Kindle and Kobo offer a range of models at various price points.  

Kindle Chart
Kobo Chart

One advantage Kobo has over Kindle is library access. In Canada the public libraries will only sync with Kobo (Kindle syncs with most libraries in the US).  If you frequently borrow books from the library, this will influence your choice. For Canadians, the other limitation is Bluetooth, which is required to pair Bluetooth headphones with your e-reader for audiobooks. Kobo has proprietary rights to this software in Canada.  While the Kindle does have Bluetooth capabilities it is not functional in Canada. Having a Kindle, I just use the Kindle app on my phone to listen to audio books instead of my e-reader. 

Both devices offer a $9.99 monthly subscription with free access to a number of specific books. Kobo has Kobo Plus which advertises hundreds of thousands of popular, classic, and original titles to choose from. While browsing the Kobo catalogue, books included in this subscription will be marked that they are ‘free’ with Kobo Plus. You can store up to 15 books from Kobo Plus on your device at one time and they will only remain on your device for 30 days unless your device is reconnected to WI-FI.  Kindle Unlimited works in much the same way. Kindle Unlimited offers access to a far greater catalogue of books; over 1.5 million, and is the most common platform for self-published (indie) authors. These subscriptions are perfect for people who are avid readers but most books from the five major publishing houses (Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster) are not included in these subscriptions. These offers will not be right for everyone. 

Why did I choose Kindle Paperwhite?  

I did my research before buying an e-reader and tried both apps on my iPhone first. The decision for me came down to two main factors.  The number of books I was interested in on Kindle Unlimited far surpassed Kobo Plus (I currently have over 40 e-books on my Kindle Unlimited list to read). I need to read 2 books from Kindle Unlimited per month to justify the subscription cost and I typically read 3 or 4. The Kindle Paperwhite, at $149.99 (I waited until it was on sale for $119.99) was the least expensive option for a waterproof device. Now, I don’t need to worry about dropping my e-reader in the bath, the inevitable drink spill, or pool splash as my kids cannon ball off the deck.  

Image via amazon.ca

While my e-reader hasn’t replaced physical books, I always have it in my purse to read on the go, and I love the convenience of reading a book synopsis, clicking a button and having the e-book in my hands to read immediately.   

If you have been holding off on embracing an e-reader, I hope you will see it now as an addition to the toolkit rather than an outright replacement. Happy reading! 

Thank you again to your guest blogger, Amanda, for her awesome tips!

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