It is often pointed out that we always read too little and less; With this ebook reader purchase guide, we want to know this device more closely. It is, in fact, a very useful tool for those who read a lot, but also for those who are not a frequent visitor to bookstores, as it allows you to have a considerable number of books available in a light and economic way. All this with a series of not indifferent technological comforts.
Books: digital or paper?Digital or paper books?
Ebook readers are enjoying great success and new versions, updates and more efficient models are regularly released. At the same time, there is a sort of distrust towards these digital book readers, as more than anyone does not like the idea of turning books into a series of bytes. It is more a “theoretical” question than a practical one, but it is interesting to note that ebook readers are perhaps the only (or almost) technological evolution to have numerous critics.
The problem, if we can talk about a problem, revolves around the pleasure of continuing to read paper books. The charm of these, their smell, the aesthetic beauty of extracting them from the bookshelf and that of scrolling through the pages, are definitely elements that have been lost with the ebook readers. But it is equally true that the ebook reader provides a series of advantages compared to the paper book that even many book lovers must recognize.
Practicality, the ability to always carry around an entire library, the reduced cost of books, being able to read in any light condition and access to a range of multimedia information, makes the digital book an innovative and completely innovative reading experience revolutionary. It is not a matter of choosing between paper books and digital books; the two formats can perfectly coexist. Let’s find out what are the technical characteristics to be evaluated in the purchase of a digital book reader.
Technical characteristics of ebook readersEbook reader purchase guide: Technical features
In their simplicity, the ebook readers are characterized by numerous technical features and functions. In recent years we have witnessed so many changes, coming to a crazy quality that has greatly improved these devices.
First of all, there is a premise: let’s talk about ebook readers and not tablets. Books can be read in their different formats (we’ll talk about this later in this purchasing guide) on a tablet or smartphone. Beyond the issue of screen size, these are two completely different product categories. The tablet or smartphone can have the application dedicated to reading books: the ebook reader is the exclusive device with which to read ebooks and this uniqueness allows it to provide significant technical advantages.
Display technologyGuide to buying ebook reader: Display
The main difference between an ebook reader and a tablet is that of display technology. In this case, we do not have the classic LCD screens (which in the long run strain your eyes, especially if concentrated in reading a text), but different technologies. We talk about E-Ink technology (electronic ink) that emulates, even in the contrast between the written text and the background, the paper. There are several levels of eInk technology: Pearl, Carta, Regal. A change is a level of contrast that passes from the classic 10: 1 to 15: 1 and then to the last 100: 1 that completely reduces the so-called ghosting effect (the effect for which each page change elements of the previously viewed page remain.
Readability and backlightingEbook reader purchase guide: Readability
An ebook reader must be read easily and, as said at the beginning, one of the advantages of these devices is that they can be used in any light condition. So let’s talk about readability and backlighting. Let’s start with the latter. Some say it is contrary to the original spirit of ebook readers, but it is an essential feature to read even in the dark, perhaps before going to sleep. The most recent versions provide for the use of a special brightness sensor (like that of smartphones) that adapts the display of the device to the lighting present in the environment in which it is located. Likewise, some readers also have an anti-reflection technology which allows reading even under direct sunlight.
To talk about readability you have to take into consideration several technical aspects such as the size of the device, the resolution, the ability to change the style and size of the characters. Let’s see what it is.
The size and weight of the deviceGuide to buying ebook reader: Dimensions
Usually, the ebook readers have a display size of 6″ which makes them extremely convenient and practical to carry, store in your pocket or even in your backpack. This measure also maintains the proportions similar to that of a paper book and this is the most widespread solution. As for the weight, you realize immediately that these devices are very light and do not bother to hold them in your hands for a long time.
As with other technological devices, resolution and pixel density (PPI) is also spoken of for ebook readers. There are several levels on the market, ranging from a minimum of 150PPI to a maximum of 300PPI. The 300PPI are those also used in printed media and even in this, the ebook can offer a spectacular visual experience.
The display of charactersBuying guide ebook reader: Displaying characters
When you buy a paper book you must be content with the editorial choices for which, especially in the most voluminous books, to reduce the number of pages reduces the size of the characters. Even the font used by the publishing houses sometimes changes, also to characterize that version. These aspects can make reading more difficult: with the ebooks, all this is overcome because it is possible to change the font size and also the font.
The format of the booksBuying guide ebook reader: Format
What has been said previously on the display of characters depends on the format of electronic books (ebook). These, in fact, are special digital files that contain a series of information (not only the text of the book, but also its layout, the cover, etc.) that can be modified and customized. It is necessary to distinguish between real ebook files and, for example, Word text files (.doc) or pdf files. The latter can only be viewed as if they were photographs or scans of books. The ebook, however, as we will see also after talking about the features, allow you to select the text, highlight it, bookmark, add notes and perform multimedia searches. In this case, therefore, it is advisable to purchase an ebook reader that supports the desired format.
The differences in the format are technical, visualization and, above all, diffusion differences. There are proprietary formats (such as those from Amazon) that may not be supported by other ebook readers. It is, therefore, a good idea to carefully evaluate this aspect and choose a model that is coherent with the stores where you will buy books or support the most popular ones.
ePub vs AZW
The main format of ebooks is the ePub which has the great advantage of adapting on all the displays, giving a maximum diffusion. Amazon ebooks (just to compare one of the major companies in this sense) have the format AZW or AZW3. These to be read must be uploaded to Amazon devices (such as the famous Kindle), limiting the spread. There are software that allows the conversion from one format to another, but this conversion does not always happen perfectly (the formatting of the text may be changed) and the practicality of the process of buying, downloading and reading a digital book is lost.
The difference in the format allows us to also mention online stores. The ebooks can be purchased at a reduced price compared to the paper equivalent, but also downloaded for free (and legally) for those books for which the copyrights have expired. In recent years, the ebook library loan is also spreading, being able to access many titles (recent or not) in a simple but above all economic way.
ConnectivityEbook reader purchase guide: Connectivity
Here we enter one of the fields that differentiate first generation ebook readers from the most recent ones. The first models had only the USB input that allowed to connect the device to the PC and to transfer the various books purchased. The second generation models, however, provide the presence of WiFi technology that allows you to download the desired book directly from the ebook reader. In some cases it is also possible to buy and download the book from your PC and then send it via WiFi to your ebook reader, thus being able to better organize your library. With WiFi connection In some cases, it is also possible to browse the internet using the integrated browser. Finally, the latest generation models also provide the 3G connection that makes the ebook reader even more independent and freeing it from the obligation to connect to a WiFi network.
FunctionalityGuide to buying ebook reader: Functionality
We have long made reference to you and it is time to talk about it. The ebook readers offer spectacular advantages in the reading phase. One of the first distinctions to make is that relating to the display, whether it is touch or not. The difference lies in the practicality of use being able to scroll the pages as if they were those of a normal paper book or having to use the physical buttons present.
A touch display also greatly improves the convenience and speed of text selection and highlighting. In addition to being able to take notes or save a quote or a part of a book that you want to keep, you can also select a word and consult the vocabulary integrated into the reader or by connecting to the internet. It may appear a quirk, in fact, it is one of the most exciting features of the ebook, as it increases the quality of the reading experience. In some cases, you can also read books in other languages and perform the translation of a word that is difficult to understand.
Other features are the classic ones to add a note or put a bookmark. In this case, it is nice to remember how ebook readers are similar to paper books because after turning them off (or closed the special cover) once switched back to resume viewing from the last page consulted as if you were sliding your finger on the bookmark and the book would open right there.
Battery life and memory
We conclude this guide to buying an ebook reader talking about the battery and Battery life. Usually, with a full charge (which can last from three hours to six hours), you get a range of several weeks, allowing you to travel comfortably with your ebook reader. As far as memory is concerned, there are several cuts. Ebooks do not take up much space and hundreds and hundreds of titles are saved in an internal 4GB memory. At the same time, once the ebook has been read, it can be deleted to make room for a new one, keeping a copy of the file on your PC to be able to transfer it to the ebook reader at a later time. In some cases there are also devices that support microSDs, dramatically increasing the capacity of these readers.
How to evaluate the purchase of an ebook readerEvaluate the ebook reader purchase
We have taken a very long journey within the ebook readers and we must draw conclusions. As we have seen, there are many different technical characteristics, many of which intersect each other. It is important to understand what kind of use will be made of this device, what is the budget that you want to invest (there are models with an excellent quality-price ratio) and on these elements choose the most suitable model.
The world of digital books is a very large and interesting sector, which seems to be always on the verge of making a further leap in quality. Lovers of reading benefit from it regularly; aspiring readers can find a practical and convenient ally to start reading lots of books.