Thursday 29 December 2011

eBook readers and why everyone should have one?

eBook readers and why everyone should have one is a very topical subject. eBook readers have come into vogue with the arrival of Amazon Kindle a few years back. Kindle is a nifty device which works on e-ink technology and so does other eBook readers like Nook, Sony, Kobo etc, which makes reading a pleasure. But would I subscribe to the overall experience of reading a book on a Kindle, is the big question?

I always like to use technology, which reduces the use of paper. Books and bills are one such means to reduce its use. I subscribe to getting all my bills electronically and I have started to read e-books instead of the conventional paper books. The downside of this method is one needs a computer with internet access to get the bills and access their books. Amazon has created a great framework, whereby one can access these books via a Kindle device (using Wi-Fi or 3G) or any other device like a computer, tablet or a mobile phone. This is smart thinking. The reason being one can read a book at any place provided the books are downloaded onto their device. I started to read books on a mobile device and a tablet since the middle of 2011. The first book I read completely from cover to cover was Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson. I read this book on both the mobile phone and on a tablet and I found the experience very very revealing. I didn't have to carry a book with me all the time to read it. I read it wherever I chose to, at car parks whilst waiting for my children, at lunch breaks, at coffee breaks and wherever I found a spare moment. So far I finished reading four eBooks. Coming to the question of Kindle. There is always a feeling that reading eBooks does not give the same experience as one would get reading a conventional Book. I beg to disagree. Coming to the big question, whether Kindle or any other e-book reader gives one the experience that is different from reading on tablets with LCD or Pixel Qi display.  I agree partially that the display on eInk readers is superior for reading books, but the interface with keys is very clumsy. I find that quite off putting. For example, the Kindle Keyboard which I had a chance to read is not the one I will choose to read books for the simple reason that I need to press a button to turn pages and the page changes with a flicker of the screen, which is not the same as reading on a touch based device. Kindle Touch might be the answer, but this device is not available in the UK.

So touch based eBooks is certainly the way people need to adopt to read books. It could in form of a eBook reader or a Tablet. This would save cutting of trees for the use of paper. This year alone there were 1 million + new titles published around the world. Translating this into number of trees that must have been brought down to make paper, your guess is as good as mine. The effect this has on the environment is just unmeasurable.

The following photograph depicts the display of text on three devices, Amazon Keyboard Kindle, iPhone and Adam tablet. The app on both the Adam tablet (Android) and iPhone (iOS) can be viewed on black background with white text or white background with black text.

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