Technology and Gadgets

So it is not lightly that I say I might just have to find a new hobby. We bought an iPad and I was very surprised at how much I enjoyed reading on it. The ability to have several books with me at all times, and the much lower price of the books was very attractive. There was also the fact that I could keep copies of those books on my iPhone, meaning I’d have them with me whenever I had 5 minutes to read.

Over time, though, I’ve found some limitations that had me back in the bookstore. The iPad was heavy, it�s very hard to read in bright light, and its high price means you have to be very careful with it.

But then we bought a Kindle. When Amazon introduced a wi-fi version with a $139 price tag I was intrigued. Though I found the iPad difficult to read for long stretches, the convenience of having all your books with me at all times almost outweighed the drawbacks.

Having used the Kindle, I’m now completely sold on dedicated e-book readers. They have all the advantages of the iPad, and address many of its limitations:

  1. Almost perfect screen. The Kindle’s electronic paper display (EPD) looks strikingly like reading a printed page. It is remarkably easy to read and very easy on the eyes, even for long stretches – especially with the ability to adjust fonts to suit the reader.
  2. Non-reflective screen. Anyone who has ever tried to read an iPad outside in bright light knows it is very hard, and almost impossible for long stretches. The Kindle’s screen, however, isn’t reflective and is very easy to read in these settings.
  3. Very lightweight. One of the real knocks against reading the iPad for a long time is that at over a pound and a half it is heavier than even the longest hardcover books. The Kindle, however, comes in at just over 8 ounces, or less than the weight of most magazines.
  4. Ridiculous battery life. The Kindle’s battery life is reported to be over three weeks (!) without needing a charge. The iPad’s 12 hours seems almost embarrassingly paltry next to that.
  5. VERY cheap. At just $139, it will pay for itself fairly quickly just in the amount we save in lower ebook prices as compared to traditional books. Plus that puts it into the realm of devices I’d take with me to the beach, for example, where it might get broken or stolen. Not so for the iPad.

10 thoughts on “

  1. In response to cal. Physical books are not cheaper, but are arguably sturdier.
    To poPetK: It’s funny you should say that! Obviously these two items make a poor comparison (apples and oranges) but while the iPad has multiple purposes I heard it can’t multitask = (

  2. While I agree that ebooks are significantly cheaper, I worry about the backing up of the ebooks. What happens if your computer crashes and a car runs over your kindle? Books are definitely harder to destroy, lose or accidentally delete.
    There is also something nice about having a bookcase filled with books of all sizes and colours with your personal notes in the margins. It feels like ebooks give you less freedom. I think they’re a great thing, I’m just not sure I’m ready to make the switch…

  3. @F The beauty of getting a Kindle or Nook is that the website has a backup of your library as well. While yes, if you have some kind of insane crash and your eReader is destroyed, anything you did not purchase through Amazon or BN.com will be lost, everything you purchased in those locations will still be available to you when you opt to replace the destroyed eReader.

    As for having physical books vs. eBooks, I understand 100% your concern with having less freedom. It’s absolutely true! While yes, you can make notes and add highlights in the eReaders, it’s not the same and there certainly isn’t the same ease. I still love to have my physical copies of books, but the eReader has its advantages for me as well. As someone who loves to travel, I’ve found physical copies of books to be cumbersome and inhibiting of my travel abilities. Especially when I’m in foreign speaking countries, when I finish a book and want a new one, I have to fight to find something in English!

    @Baba Ghanoush While the author here could not lend you an eBook with the Kindle, I certainly could with my Nook. It is yet an imperfect system, but the possibility is there! Don’t discount all eReaders just yet!

  4. The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod’s. It works well, but isn’t as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that’s not an issue, but if you’re planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod’s larger screen and better browser may be important.

Leave a Reply