Commentary

Navigating The eReader Maze

Posted by tbaker |

Behind the Stacks HeadereReader usage is on the rise, and the decision of which eReader to buy can feel like navigating a maze with a variety of choices and options. So, which eReader is the best? The answer is easy … It depends on what you want. In practice, it isn’t so clear. Here’s a quick summary of a few eReaders.

The Nook is Barnes & Noble’s eReader. There are different levels of Nook readers depending on options offered and storage size; the entry level Nook Simple Touch priced at $79 and the highest level, the Nook HD+ priced up to $300. B & N has thousands of affordably priced eBooks available from new releases to the classics. If you will be primarily using your device for reading, the entry-level Nook is the way to go. The bells and whistles increase as you spend more — the Nook HDs add full Internet capability and allows you to watch movies in High Def.

Competing with the Nook is Amazon’s Kindle with eight different choices (ranging from $69 to $615). There are also thousands of Kindle books to purchase with many of the classics under a couple of dollars (if not outright free). Again, if you want to just read, the entry level Kindles are great. Power increases as you step up to the different levels of Kindles with the Kindle Fire adding Internet search ability, apps, HD movies on bigger screens, and more storage.

Kobo is another option with costs ranging from $79 to $199. Kobo’s top of the line Arc can recommend reads based on not only purchased books, but also on music, movies watched, and browsing activity. eBook selection is sBehind the Stacks 2olid and similar to Nook and Kindle.

Finally, there is the Apple iPad which is much more than a reader (though, the Nook and Kindle also offer tablets). iPad Minis start at $329 — and the iPad is priced from $499 to $829 (not counting separately purchased data plans). While the entry level iPad is 4 times the cost of eReaders, you get a tablet from the start. Plus, the variety of apps lets you read Nook, Kindle, and Kobo eBooks, play games and watch videos on the clearest screen.

Other factors to consider before purchasing an eReader are wireless capabilities, data plan packages and charges, battery life, readability, weight and feel of the device, and prices of the eBooks specific to the device. In short, think about what you want from an eReader, how much you want to spend and if the bells and whistles are worth the money and effort. The Kindle Fire, Nook HD, Kobo Arc and iPad offer more than just the ability to read eBooks; you can watch movies, listen to audio books, play games, download apps and surf the Internet. The entry level readers are a good choice if you just want to read.

Once you’ve splurged on your eReader, visit www.faylib.org to checkout eBooks from the Fayetteville Public Library. There are thousands of free eBooks and audio books through the FPL’s Library2Go eLending service. Find Mo Willems’ “Knuffle Bunny” picturebooks; checkout eBook or audio copies of Veronica Roth’s “Divergent” series; read George R. R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones” before the new season starts. Best of all, there aren’t any late fees! Books return automatically after 14 days.

There are other eReaders available that weren’t listed. Browse through Consumer Reports, visit the device websites, and do web research to find comparisons of all the devices on the market. And remember, most of the popular eBooks are available from the Fayetteville Public Library’s website.

2 Comments

Lisa Sharp March 5, 2013 at 9:06 am

I want to point out that not all the eReaders allow consumer choice when purchasing (not borrowing) eBooks. Kindle and Amazon only allow eBooks purchased from Amazon. All the other eReaders allow books from other eBook vendors. Also, Kobo has made a committment to partner with independent bookstores. Kobo eReaders are available at many local bookstores and the eBooks purchases can be credited as local bookstore sales.

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