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How to choose an e-book reader

E-book readers are devices that are exclusively dedicated to reading electronic books, allowing you to create a light and portable library. Let’s have a look and see what you need to know before purchasing an e-book reader.

For those that are a bit lost in all of this vocabulary, here is a reminder about what all of these words mean: An e-book is a digital book (or electronic book) which is only read on a screen. An e-book reader, or otherwise known as an eReader, is a device that allows you to read e-books. Now that this is a bit clearer, we can have a look at the main topic. How do you choose an e-book reader?

Step 1: Understand the technical side of e-book readers

Step 2: Choose an e-book reader in accordance with its brand, its overall look and its optional extras

E-book reader

Screen size

The size of the screen varies between 6 and 7 inches, or 15.2cm to 17.7cm when measured from one corner of the screen to the opposite corner. If you plan on reading novels, a 6-inch version should be enough, which is the size of a normal pocket-sized book. However if you plan on reading comics, you may prefer the 7-inch version, which will provide more comfort when reading.

Screen types

E-book reader screens use 2 different types of technology: LCD and eInk (electronic ink). With eInk screens, you can read comfortably even in sunlight. However when reading in low-lit areas, you will need a backlighting option. With an LCD screen, you may find that it is too bright, but with this screen type, you won’t encounter problems when going through a tunnel as it is much brighter than an eInk screen!

Another question you may ask yourself: do I want to read books in black and white or in colour? Some e-book readers only offer different shades of grey while others include colour, which is essential if you are reading comics.

DRM format compatibility

The last criteria: what is DRM format compatibility? The most common universal formats are ePub and PDF. To read these, you just need a free program such as Acrobat Reader for PDF format.

To fight against pirating some publishers have preferred to lock their electronic books using DRM formats. This is certainly the case for e-books that have been commercialised by iBookstore for Apple devices or those by Amazon for their Kindles. For protected DRM books you will need to own a compatible device.

If you are a novice, choose an e-book reader which already has several DRM books installed on the device. Good models are available from around £80.

Price check: are accessories provided?

To compare the price of different e-book reader models, look at what is provided in the box. If the cheapest models cost around £60, they often do not include a USB cable or a stylus pen. If you plan on buying these separately, make sure you work out the maths first!

Brands

3 brands currently dominate the market: Kindle readers (by Amazon) are well known for being easy to use, Sony readers are known for being good quality and Kobo models for their features. None of these brands are particularly ‘better’ than another – it really is just about personal preference.

– KINDLES have an advantage in that they have a wide choice: from the small and light model (from £69) to models that also have a 3G internet connection (from £160).

KOBO offers models in several different colours (from £80 to £140).

– SONY as well as offering its basic models (around £90), also has a new range of extra thin readers (available between £200 and £300).

Other lesser-known brands do have e-book readers at low prices, which could also perfectly match your needs.

Special features

Stylish e-book readers– eReaders are available in several colours: black, white, blue, red, grey etc. You will just have the trouble of choosing one of them. While for some people it is all about one feature, the colour may be the deciding factor for others! You may also choose to add a cover to personalise your eReader even more.

Tactile e-book readers almost allow you to have the real feeling paper. You still turn the pages using your index finger, though you no longer have to lick it beforehand! Another advantage is that you can easily access the menu and view the options from the touch of your finger.

E-book readers with Wi-Fi allow you to buy e-books online directly from the device, meaning that you do not have to go to your computer and find the USB cable to transfer books. The same applies if you want to download a free book from the public domain.

Font size – How easily do your eyes get tired? If your e-book reader has an option to change the size of the font you can make the size of the letters bigger or small according to your needs. The result: you can benefit from comfortable reading that reading from ordinary paper cannot provide.

Interactivity – For students or passionate readers, interactive e-book readers allow you to add personal notes, underline words and bookmark those important pages…

Choosing the product that suits you

We have understood by now that to choose between the many e-book readers available, you don’t necessarily have to avoid any tedious marketing traps. All just depends on your needs when it comes to electronic books.

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