The sheer size of book catalogues available for browsing and instant downloading means that an increasing number of avid readers are turning to the ebookas their primary source of literature. Libraries and book retailers are currently struggling to keep up with the incredible
speed of change, as people are enticed to the electronic versions of books by lower prices, convenience and choice. However, there is still some uncertainty amongst readers surrounding the most suitable e-reader. In the end, it comes down to personal choice, but there are some benefits to both systems that should be considered.
Tablet computers have been hugely successful since the launch of Apple’s iPad, and their larger screens make them ideal for reading the latest ebooks indoors. However, apps are required to read ebooks on a tablet, and many of them have been lacking when asked to recreate the experience of reading a real book. Although there have been some improvements in recent years, many apps have historically been tied to their own book databases. This has restricted choice for consumers; Apple’s iBooks
and Amazon’s Kindle app have both been guilty of restricting third-party ebooks in the past.
The iconic Amazon Kindle was the device that kick-started the popularity of the ebook, and it still enjoys an enormously loyal following. However, the device was not without its problems upon its release; one of which was the grey screen users were forced to endure. Despite its bulk, the new Kindle Paperwhite is hugely impressive, as its customisation options, front-lit screen and white background give readers the most accurate simulation of reading a real book to date.
In the end, the decision on how to read an ebook will be dependent on the user’s lifestyle. Using an iphone e-reader app may not provide the most authentic reading experience, but it will ensure that consumers are only forced to carry one valuable gadget around with them. Purpose-made e-readers such as the Kindle and the Nook will mean most people are forced to carry two devices on their travels, yet they deliver a reading experience akin to the real thing. Devoted e-readers are specifically
designed to be read in any environment – something tablets and smart phones struggle with. Reading The Life of Pi or Tolkien’s The Hobbit should be an exciting prospect on either ebook format, as long as they’re read indoors!