Thursday, December 13, 2012

What EReader Should I Buy for Christmas?

The above question is one that I have answered for countless patrons, library staff, and, most recently, my father-in-law. As eReaders still seem to be a hot item this holiday season, I have created this quick-and-dirty explanation of  how to best answer this question.

Would you prefer to read eBooks on an eReader or a Tablet?
Library eBooks are generally read on two different kinds of devices: eReaders and tablets. Quite simply, eReaders are like electronic books, while tablets are like tiny computers.

The most popular eReaders in Canada are the Kobo (Glo, Mini, and Touch), the Sony Reader, and, if you are cross-border shopping, the NOOK (Simple Touch with GlowLight and Simple Touch). EReaders use a technology called e-Ink that more closely mimics print and makes it easier to look at the screen for longer period of time. It reduces the amount of glare from the screen. Overall, ereaders tend to be less costly, lighter, and have better battery life – up to 2 months. If you mostly want to read books, have vision problems, or find it hard to hold heavy books for long period so time, an eReader might be right for you!

The hottest tablets in Canada right now are IPad, the Samsung Galaxy Tablet, and the Acer. The new Microsoft Surface was also released in October 2012 and supports OverDrive eBooks. It is included on Tablets are multi-purpose devices that let you browse the Internet, play games, view videos, and more. As such, they tend to have shorter battery lives, some as low as 8 hours. Also, tablets are much heavier and more expensive devices than eReaders, starting at $200. If you are looking for a device that does a lot more than read eBooks and are not deterred by the cost, screen, or weight, you might prefer a tablet! For more brand new tablets that work with OverDrive, check out their Holiday Gadget Guide: Hottest Devices for Library eBooks.

What about the Kindle?
If you haven’t yet heard, the Kindle does not work with Canadian library eBooks. This is due to restrictions placed by Amazon on the device. There are two exceptions though. You can get the Freading eBooks app on the Kindle Fire and OverDrive audiobooks will play on the Kindle Fire HD using OverDrive Media Console. If you are wondering what other eReading devices work with Canadian library eBooks, you can find a list compatible and incompatible devices on OverDrive’s website.

Is there anything else I should consider?
A personal eReading device is a very individual choice. Make sure you do your research and seriously consider what the person you are buying for might wish to do. Check out blogs, question service staff, and quiz out friends or acquaintances about any devices they own. At one of my eReader sessions, one patron told me that for Christmas last year, her spouse purchased two devices for her, let her choose which one she like best, and then returned the other one.
For more information, check out the "Thinking of getting an eReader?" section at bottom of your Downloadable EBooks page, on your library’s website under Digital Content or contact me at Chinook Arch. Happy shopping!

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