How to buy an e-reader
An e-reader buying guide
Whether you shop e-readers online or in electronic supplies stores, there are many varieties of e-readers available today, and it can take time deciding which e-reader to buy. In addition, many people are hesitant about making the switch from paper books. But armed with the understanding of a few basic facts about e-readers, you can be confident in your buying decision.
>> Look at e-reader advantages
The most obvious e-reader advantage is the ability to have your personal library at your finger tips in a device that weighs less than a pound. Another, less-known advantage of some e-readers is that they can store other types of media files, such as music and video, turning them into multimedia players.
>> Think about e-reader sizes
E-reader sizes vary and range from about the size of an average paperback book to as large as 8.5" x 11". If you will be using your e-reader on the go most often, you might choose a smaller, light-weight model. If you will be using the e-reader frequently for reading things like newspapers, blogs, magazines and PDF files, an e-reader with a larger screen is a good choice.
>> Choosing e-reader formats
Book format, or more precisely, book file format is a very important consideration, because each type of e-reader tends to support only one kind of format. If you own one a smartphone or tablet, you have more flexibility, because these devices usually have apps to read multiple file formats. If you own just an e-reader, though, you'll have to re-purchase all the books you've bought if you want them available on another device. Below is an explanation of the most popular e-reader file formats.
- Kindle: is a proprietary format supported by e-readers from Amazon.com.
- iBook: is another proprietary format supported by devices from Apple.
- ePub: is an open-source format used by libraries to lend books electronically. In addition, there are over a million books in ePub format available from Google. Books are the major content for this format, and the format re-sizes itself to the screen dimension. So, you can read on either a small or large screen comfortably. Most e-readers, except the Kindle, support the ePub format.
- PDF: (portable document format), which includes a copy of the text and graphics laid out exactly as the original document from which they came, is the most popular document format for everything except books and web pages. Since most PDF files come from 8.5" x 11" original documents or spreadsheets, and their presentation doesn't change as you re-size a document, they display better on larger e-readers.
Since buying an e-reader locks you into a particular format, check e-reader vendors' bookstores to determine which e-reader to buy.
>> How will you use your e-reader?
E-readers allow you to do more than just read the contents of documents. When you view a document in the e-reader's native format, you're able to add annotations (the electronic version of sticky notes), highlight passages, insert bookmarks and even automatically create an index of those bookmarked locations with keywords from that page on some devices.
>> Choosing e-reader features
As you go through the process of learning out how to buy an e-reader, consider the features most important to you as you shop e-readers. Here are the most important features to consider:
- Wi-Fi or 3G cellular Internet connectivity
- The type of screen
- The ability to play music and videos
- A text-to-speech option
- A read-to-me function
Most devices now offer Wi-Fi as their basic wireless Internet connection. Some devices offer a 3G cellular data connection with more expensive versions of basic devices. As long as you don't mind waiting until you're at home or a hotspot to shop for new books, Wi-Fi should work for you. 3G devices can be handy to buy a new book while on a long train trip or lounging at the beach.
When you're determining how to buy an e-reader, keep in mind that while using your e-reader, you have different types of screens to choose from as well. There are button-controlled screens, which tend to be more accurate in maneuvering around e-books and use less power, or touchscreens, which are more convenient. There are also illuminated screens, high definition screens and paper-white screens, which reduce eye strain.
>> Choosing accessories for your e-reader
Once you have looked at all the different types of e-readers and determined which e-reader to buy, the fun of selecting e-reader accessories begins. You will need a charger, a case to protect your reader and carry it in, possibly a clip light and maybe even an external keyboard to make entering data more convenient.
Learning how to buy an e-reader can be an exciting process, whether you use it for your reading needs, or to listen to music, watch your favorite videos and navigate the Internet.