We are heading into a gadget holiday season and the big question is, “Which eReader or Tablet should I buy to read Library eBooks?”
Because there are so many options, it is important to identify WHAT you want to do with your device. WHAT you want and HOW you will use it will determine WHICH device is best for you (or the lucky recipient of your gift!)
Will you only read eBooks? Or, do you want a device to also surf the Web, keep up on news, and check eMail, Facebook, and other social networking sites? Will you use the device where you have WiFi access, or do you need 3G access for on-the-go? Once you answer these questions, you are ready to begin exploring which device is best for you.
Regardless of which direction you go, if you want a device compatible with Library eBooks, make sure you check out the OverDrive Device Resource Center. The Library contracts with a company called OverDrive to provide our eBooks and eAudiobooks. OverDrive keeps an eye on the market and tests each device to assure compatibility. If you purchase something, make sure it is on OverDrive’s list of compatible devices!
If reading eBooks only is your goal, a dedicated eReader is for you. Dedicated eReaders are optimized to cater to the reader’s enjoyment of the book. There are many eReaders but the most popular are the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble NOOK, Sony eReader, Pandigital, and Kobo eReader. Text size is easily changed and other viewing options are built in to customize the experience to the reader. Things to think about when considering an eReader include screen size, battery life, WiFi vs. 3G, and storage capacity.
If you want more than eReading, a Tablet is for you. Tablet computers are built on either an Android or Apple platform and offer an “App” (Application) store where the user may find apps for many different programs. The primary App stores are the Android Marketplace and the Apple App Store (note-there are different App Stores for the iPhone vs. iPad).
The Tablet market is exploding and it is hard for consumers to know which products are good. The September 2011 Consumer Reports has a nice review of Tablets and eReaders (and a recommended list of “12 Apps That Make the Most of a Tablet”) while the December 2011 Consumer Reports reviews Tablet computers and gives recommendations by screen size. Patrons living in our service area, or in the service area of a Library that offers access to the Ebsco Host Magazine Database, can log-in from home to view these articles and find other reviews for eReaders and Tablets. Other good places to read reviews include CNET and Engadget. Things to think about when considering a tablet are screen size, battery life, WiFi vs. 3G, capacity, and compatibility of apps for larger screens.
There are some “Hybrid eReaders” on the market now, including the Kindle Fire and NOOK Color, but because they offer more than eReading, I put those into the Tablet category. The hybrid eReaders have their own application stores including the Amazon App Store for the Kindle Fire and the Nook App Store from Barnes & Noble for the NOOK Color. Although there are not as many apps for the hybrids, each app has been tested to assure it is optimized for the device.
At the Library, we can’t promote one product over another, but we can help you navigate through your questions. We also have a limited number of devices you can look at while at the Library. Please feel free to give us a call or stop in. Happy eReading!