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e-Readers Compared to Books and Other Mobile Devices

e-Readers, such as Amazon’s popular Kindle, are devices specifically designed for reading books. While many people are used to the look and feel of a real book, e-Readers have many advantages. As we age, many of us need to graduate to larger print. With an e-Reader you can adjust the font size to make the text easier to read. Do you like to bring along several books when traveling? An e-Reader lets you store hundreds or thousands of books on one device (depending on the device memory).

A typical e-Reader has an aspect ratio and weight around the same as a paperback book but is much thinner. Plus, while you are reading you can typically bookmark pages, look up the meaning of a word, or translate a foreign word, by simply tapping the word on the page.

e-Readers Compared to other mobile devices There are various apps that let you read a book on a smartphone or tablet. The biggest advantage of e-Readers over other mobile devices is that they have a really long battery life. You can read for several hours every day and they will last for around a month without needing to be recharged. The secret is based on a screen technology called “e-Ink” that was designed to only draw power when the screen is refreshed. The battery lasts longer if you turn off Wi-Fi after downloading a book.

The other advantage is that most e-Readers use non-glare black-and-white e-Ink screens, and like a book, can be comfortably read outdoors, even in direct sunlight. Smartphones and tablets are typically harder to read under the same conditions. Also, the backlit screens on smartphones and tablets can be harder on your eyes than the unlit or front-lit e-Reader screens.

Downloading digital books and audiobooks to your e-Reader You can purchase Kindle and other e-books from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. You can also borrow FREE e-books and audiobooks from your library. These typically remain on your device for a specified time period, after which they are automatically “returned” (deleted). Project Gutenberg ( is another source for downloading free books, which are yours to keep and don’t need to be returned.

To download an e-book or audiobook from the library, use apps like “Overdrive,” “Libby” and “Hoopla.” These work with your library’s catalogs and can keep track of loans and holds for books you’re interested in. Hoopla also lets you borrow music, movies, comics and TV shows from certain libraries.

Competing Models of e-Readers Check out the reviews of the “The Best e-Readers for 2019” from PC Magazine, which covers Kindle, Kobo and Nook e-Readers: www. the-best-ebook-readers. Currently, Amazon’s Kindle covers more than 88 percent of the e-Reader market, and Am- azon e-books can only be read on a Kindle device (or a Kindle smartphone app). However, if you get your e-books primarily from the library, Kobo can read more e-book formats than Kindle, including those used for picture books and graphic novels.

It pays to get both an e-Reader and an associated mobile app for your smartphone. That allows you to read a few pages on your phone while you’re waiting online at a store, and your place in the book will automatically sync up with your place in the e-Reader.

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