Ebook Reader As A Gift
If you know someone who likes to read, an e-book reader would be a great gift choice. These handy devices offer a lot of advantages over old-fashioned hardback and paperback books, so your gift would, most likely, be gratefully received.
They are an especially good idea for anyone who travels a lot. Travellers can pack their own mini library into a device which is smaller and lighter than the average thin paperback book. No more cramming chunky paperbacks into hand luggage – and no more worrying about running out of things to read at 35,000 feet on a long haul flight.
Ebook readers have a battery life that’s measured in weeks rather than hours – so running out of power isn’t something your gift recipient needs to worry about either.
What’s The Difference Between An Ebook Reader And A Tablet?
Before we delve very much further into the joy of e-book readers, it’s probably worth establishing what the difference is between an eReader and a tablet computer. Many people consider them to be closely related – whereas they are, in fact, very different devices. This short video should help you to understand the key differences.
The main difference is in the display. Ebook readers use e-ink displays. These use specially pigmented molecules to form the letters on the screen. The big deal about that is the fact that, once the molecules are in position and the text has been formed, they will just stay there without any further power being drawn by the screen. That means that e-book readers can go for weeks between charges.
Ebook reader screens aren’t backlit – not even the “lighted” ones. That makes reading a much more comfortable experience. With the high-resolution of modern e-book readers, it really is like reading text printed on paper.
Tablet computers, on the other hand, use backlit color screens. Those are great for watching videos, playing games and doing all the things that you might do on a desktop or notebook computer. However, there is a price to pay for all that luscious color; the power demands of tablet computer displays are very much higher than e-book readers. Battery life is measured in hours rather than weeks. Running out of juice just as you get to an exciting point in your blockbuster novel is a very real possibility.
The other problem with reading on a tablet computer is the backlight. It gives a nice bright, high contrast, display for watching videos and surfing the web. However, if you’re reading, it’s a bit like trying to do so when someone is shining a light in your eyes.
In short, it’s not a very pleasant experience. you can do it for a little while, but if you want to spend more than a few minutes reading, you might wind up with eye strain.
In summary, both e-book readers and tablet computers are great, but they serve very different functions. An eReader is definitely the better choice for someone who enjoys reading a lot and who will spend a lot of time with their nose in a book.
What Are The Benefits of Ebook Readers?
- Great reading experience, just like reading text printed on paper.
- Carry hundreds of books with you wherever you go.
- Download new books in less than a minute – anytime of the day or night.
- Long battery life (usually several weeks).
- Ebooks are often cheaper than their paper equivalent.
- You can find many out of copyright books which are free to download.
- Environmentally friendly – especially for those who read a lot of books.
- Fewer physical books means less clutter around your home.
- Change font size and typeface to suit your needs.
Speaking personally, reading has always been one of my favorite hobbies. I would guess that I have averaged a book a week for years. Before I got an eReader, I usually visited bookshops, or ordered from Amazon. My house tended to have piles of books distributed around the place, which got cleared out and given to friends or charity periodically.
These days, I get my books delivered electronically – and instantly. My house isn’t a book free zone – but it is very much tidier than it was before.
Which Is The Best E-Reader?
At the end of the day, e-book readers aren’t the highest tech available on the market. They have fairly low processing requirements and monochrome screens. The ebooks that go with them are fairly minimalist in terms of memory capacity, so they don’t need a lot of storage space (most e-readers will let you store several hundred ebooks).
In terms of the hardware, you will want to make sure that you get one which has a good display, and which has fast page turns. It’s up to you whether or not you want one with a lighted screen. These can certainly be very handy for anyone who likes to read in bed, or on long haul overnight flights.
Pick one that has a screen you like and which feels comfortable in your hand. Some people like to swipe the screen to change the page, others prefer to press a button on the side. Either one works, and you will very quickly get used to it – but do give it a little thought before you purchase.
Here’s a quick review of the display options available on the Amazon Kindle range:
What is just as important as the e-reader hardware is the availability of books for it. That’s why the Amazon Kindle is such a popular choice, there is an incredible number of books available in the Amazon content system.
Many of them are very cheap (much cheaper than paperbacks), and a lot of them are free. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you get access you’ll get access to even more free books. Quite frankly, if you are used to buying books from Amazon, and especially if you’re a Prime member, it’s a no-brainer, you want to choose a Kindle reader.
There are a variety of different models to choose from, starting at just $59.99 and running up to a whopping $359.99. Personally, I think that the Kindle Paperwhite, at $99.99, is probably the sweet spot in terms of value for money and technical specification.
Of course, if you’re not a fan of Amazon, if you prefer to get your content from Apple for example, there are other readers that you could choose from. Kobo have a very nice range of readers, all of which are very well specified and pleasant to use.
Their top of the range model, the Kobo Aura H2O, is even waterproof. Handy if you’re in the habit of dropping your book/reader into the pool or the sea. Handy for anyone who likes to read in the bath as well.
Are Ebook Readers Environmentally Friendly?
One of the good things about e-books is the fact that they don’t use paper, ink or any of the chemicals which are used in the traditional printing process.
And that is far from the only environmental benefit. The fact that ebooks are delivered electronically is also very significant. The carbon footprint of a traditional paperback or hardback book is approximately doubled when you consider the fact that it is delivered by air, road or train – and don’t forget, most people will drive to the mall to buy a paper book and then drive home again.
And as if that wasn’t enough to make you realise that ebooks are a much friendlier option for the environment, consider the fact that a very high percentage of all the books published are returned to the publishers unread and unsold, when they are then pulped. It’s estimated that around about 40% of all new books published are pulped – unsold and unread.
Of course, the pulp is turned back into paper – at which point the cycle begins again. However, large amounts of energy are used in the printing process and the round trip transportation.
Of course, e-book readers themselves consume resources. They have plastic covers, a variety of electronic components and a battery. Like conventional books, they must be delivered from the point of manufacture to the consumer, with the transportation that requires making a significant contribution to their carbon footprint.
However, the carbon usage of an eReader is heavily front loaded. Once it is in the hands of the end-user, an ebook reader, with its very low power requirement, has very minimal environmental impact – up to the point of disposal at least.
Basically, once delivered, e-book readers virtually cease to consume carbon. Therefore, there comes a point where avoiding the environmental impact of paper books outweighs the energy and resources used in the production and delivery of the reader hardware.
There have been several studies on where the break even point is. Some have arrived at an answer as low as 16 books per year, others are a little higher. What seems fairly clear, is that, if someone reads books on a regular basis, they will have a lower environmental impact if they use an eReader than if they use traditional paper books.
How Do Ebook Reader Screens Work?
The e-ink technology display is one of the big selling points of readers. You won’t notice any difference to reading printed text on paper. The fonts are sharp and crisp and, unlike a tablet computer or computer monitor, the screen is not backlit – so there’s less strain on your eyes when you read.
The reason behind that is the fact that e-ink technology displays use black and white pigmented particles to form the text. The particles are electrically charged and held in suspension in a viscous fluid between charged plates.
By varying the charge between the two plates, the particles can be made to move and form text on the screen. It’s much sharper than forming text by using a mixture of red, green and blue LEDs, which is how computer displays operate.
The other great thing about e-ink displays is the fact that they are positively parsimonious when it comes to power usage. Power is only drawn when the pigmented particles are being moved – when the page is being turned if you like. Once they’re in the desired position, the viscous fluid holds them there – no power is required.
That means that power drain is extremely low and your eReader will last for weeks between charges. There’s really no danger that you will run out of juice at an exciting point in your novel. You could even go on holiday without the power plug and lead if you wanted.