My e-Book Reader Choice

20 Aug

I want an e-Book reader.  I love technology and I love reading and therefore I want one.   Unfortunately, until recently, I didn’t think an e-Book reader had any place in my ‘book system’, which was really disappointing.  Here is my system for reading and building my library.  Typically, I borrow a book from either the library or a friend first.  If I like it and it’s passed the ‘test’, I look to purchase the book for my permanent library.  Therefore, books I own are only those that I would recommend and lend to someone, will want to read again myself, or hope to pass onto my children someday.   

So I really didn’t see how owning an e-Reader and reading digital formats of books would fit into this system.  Once I dug a little deeper and understood the nuances of this new technology though, I think I’ve figured it out.  But first, here’s an overview of e-Books and Readers.  If you know nothing about this technology, this will explain it!

e-Book and Reader Overview

An e-Book is an electronic book.  It is basically a computer file (the way a Microsoft Word document is also a computer file) that contains the entire contents of a book in text. 

While a Microsoft Word document comes in only one type of file format (a file that ends with .doc), e-Books come in various formats.  There are really a ton of them, but we don’t need to worry about every one – here are the ones relevant to this discussion: 

  • Kindle (.azw)
  • EPUB (.epub)
  • eReader (. pdb)

If you had one of these files stored on your regular computer and you tried to open it, your computer wouldn’t be able to read it because it’s in a format your computer doesn’t recognize.  To read an e-Book file, you need a special device that does recognize one of these file formats, which is why you need an e-Book reader, or digital Reader.

An e-Book reader is a device that allows you to read an e-Book file like those mentioned above.  As with the file types, there are many e-Book readers in the market.  But there are really only a few popular enough to mention: 

  • Amazon Kindle
  • Sony Reader Daily
  • Barnes and Noble nook
  • Borders Kobo
  • Apple iPad

There are many differences between each of course, but now, note the biggest difference between the devices:  each device only reads some e-Book file formats.  Here’s how they match up: 

  Amazon Kindle Sony Reader Daily Borders Kobo B&N nook Apple iPad
Kindle (.azw)  X        
ePub (.epub)    X  X  X  X
eReader (.pdb)    X  X  X  X

Note: They can all suppot and Adobe pdf format, which is why I didn’t even mention it above. 

You can see that there is no reader that supports all the formats out there.  You can also see that the Amazon Kindle does not use a format that any other e-Book reader can support and vice-versa. 

So if you have one of these devices, you download files in the right format to it and use the device to read your book.  You can do this right from the device itself, or you can go somewhere on the web and send the e-Book file to your device. 

Which one should I choose?

As I mentioned, there are many differences between the readers – size, weight, content delivery methods, etc.  But for me, my choice came down to a process of elimination.  Here’s a summary:

 I don’t want the…Kindle because it doesn’t read the EPUB format.  EPUB is what the other readers support, what is close to becoming an industry standard and most importantly of all it’s what my library lends. 

 I don’t want the…iPad because it doesn’t have the best screen for reading books.  An eInk screen is what you want for reading book content which the nook, Kindle, Kobo, and Reader all have.  The iPad also has a significantly shorter battery life and you are limited to using the iBook store (which needs some work).

 I don’t want the…Kobo because it is basic for my tastes.  It lack many of the features that are standard on most of other readers – no web browser; no audio, and it doesn’t play music, and has no built in dictionary. 

 I don’t want the…Sony Reader Daily because it is 250.00!  It is a close competitor with the nook, but the nook is only 190.00.  Sorry Charlie!

Therefore, I choose the Barnes & Noble nook. It has all of the major features (web browser, WiFi, audio, built-in dictionary) I’m looking for and most importantly it reads a format that my library lends.  And THAT is how an e-Reader fits into my system!  I can use it to borrow books for my first reads, the same as I do today.  Hooray! 

In addition to that, I chose the nook because it’s tied to an actual brick-and-mortar bookstore, which gives me some additional capabilities when in Barnes and Noble bookstores.  Also, this is the only e-Reader that has a lending feature as well (you can share your e-Book files with another person).  And it’s reasonably priced for me.

Wait, wait…as I’m writing this, I’ve just been informed that starting in December, CVS will be selling e-Book reader as well.  Hmmm….


4 Responses to “My e-Book Reader Choice”

  1. Patkung September 13, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    Nice article. 🙂

  2. julie August 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    I have been having the same desires and dilemmas related to e-readers. AND, I came to the same conclusion re: the Nook. Love that you can borrow books from the library. Have you gotten yours yet? I haven’t…maybe this week.

    • Karen August 22, 2010 at 5:39 pm #

      Not yet, but my birthday is coming up at the end of September so I’m keeping my fingers crossed! But you know, I’ll be on 4 airplane flights before then – maybe I should just treat myself and take advantage of it when I travel!


  1. Library, you have let me down! No e-Reader for me! « Love a Little Lit! - August 24, 2010

    […] may have seen my post on my choice of e-Book reader (the Barnes and Noble nook).  After seeing reading it, my husband […]

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