December 21, 2013

eReader Options

Thinking of asking for an eReader this year, or of giving one as a gift?  There are many factors to consider when trying to decide on the right model for you.  Consider some of these factors and don't be shy to ask your Information librarian for clarification!

1.  How long do you usually read?
If you tend to read just a few minutes at a time, you may do very well with a tablet or color device (like an iPad or Kindle Fire).  These devices have an LCD screen, so reading for very long may tire out your eyes.  If you generally like to read for longer stretches of time—like half an hour at least—you may have a more comfortable reading experience with an eInk device.  These black and white devices (such as the Nook Simple Touch or Kobo Touch) don't create their own light the way a TV or computer monitor do, but rely on light in the environment, exactly like a regular paper book.

2.  Where do you usually read?
If you like to read in sunlight or brightly-lit rooms, an eReader that emits no light will offer the least glare.  eInk devices are easily readable in all the same lighting environments where you would read a print book.  LCD devices do emit their own light, and so can be read in the dark, such as if you prefer to read a few minutes before bed.
A happy medium are eInk devices that now offer a light source.  The Nook GlowLight, for example, marries a light-less eInk screen with an incorporated book light.  The small white light lives inside the device case and shines uniformly across the text, instead of coming from the screen or behind the text.  It'll feel just like reading by lamplight.

3.  What downloadable service does your library use?
Neill Public Library's downloadable books from OverDrive include books that are compatible with most major devices.  If you're buying a device as a gift for someone else, call their local library to check that the intended device is indeed compatible with the downloadable content offered by that library. That way, the receiver can keep their device constantly full of new titles, at no cost!

4.  What formats do you want to be able to use?
eInk devices can only accept their identified eBook formats (such as PDF, EPUB, or Kindle version).  Many tablet and color devices, however, are also compatible with our downloadable audio content.  If you're primarily a book reader, an eReader may meet all your needs.  If you are a book listener, or even just like to dabble a bit, a device with more versatility will support both ebook and eaudio content.

Such a device can be a fun or useful tool (or both!), but it's important to pick one that fits your own specific needs and expectations.  A discussion of additional factors to consider before purchase can be found at  Whatever type of device you end up choosing, remember that Neill Public Library has downloadable eBook and eAudiobook content to keep your new toy full of great, free content.  And if you decide to stick with paper books for the next year (or longer), we're still collecting those, and just as avidly as before.

by Sarah Morrison, 
Adult Services Librarian
published 12-21-13 in Moscow-Pullman Daily News

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