Friday, December 3, 2010

The Pros and Cons of eReaders - An electronic Media Tutorial

The Pros and Cons of eReaders

An Electronic Media Tutorial

By Roz Lee

You’ve decided you want an eReader, but you don’t have a clue what one is, or which one to buy. News of the explosion of electronic media, ebooks, is everywhere and you’re afraid you’re being left behind. Not to worry. Do you have a computer? How about a smart phone (iPhone, Droid, Blackberry, etc.)? Do you have an iPod Touch or iPad?

If you do, you already have an eReader. All the major dedicated (that’s all they do) eReaders have free apps for most, if not all, of the hardware I just listed. So, unless you want a device specifically for reading electronic media, and by that, I mean books, magazines and newspapers, then you already have the means to download and read via the newest publishing technology.

Let’s for a moment consider that you are in the market for an eReader. Perhaps you spend enough time on your cell phone already, and the idea of reading your favorite Romance author’s latest via that device ruins the whole experience for you, or your computer is also your work computer and you don’t want the boss to find out you read erotic romance on your lunch hour, or all your electronic devices are shared by you and the kids, then a dedicated eReader might be for you.

Which one do you choose?

The answer lies in what you want to do with your new eReader. Do you want to read books, and only books? How about newspapers and magazines? Do you want to read children’s books with your kids or grandkids? Are you going to buy books, or check them out from your public library? Didn’t know you could do that? Well, you can. More and more titles are becoming available every day.

First, let’s examine what an eReader can do for you that a traditional book can’t.

· eReaders store thousands of books for you. Most have substantial built-in storage, up to around 1500 titles, as well as off-site archives with limitless capacity. If you want to go back and revisit a favorite, it will always be there at your fingertips, dust free.

· eReaders provide instant gratification. No waiting for the library to fetch the title you want from another branch, no trip to the bookstore in the snow or rain, no waiting until the bookstore or library opens to pick up another book. Online bookstores are open 24/7, everyday of the year. And, there are no books to return to the library, ever.

· You can take your entire library on vacation with you. Yep, no more suitcase full of paperbacks. No more purchases in the airport bookstore when your flight is delayed and you’ve finished the one book you packed into your carryon.

· You need to review a contract, or a set of plans for work, but you don’t want to lug them, or your computer, with you on the train, plane, or cruise ship. Most eReaders allow you to download .pdf files from your computer. You can bookmark and make notations as you read.

· You forgot your dictionary, and you don’t understand all the big words the author used. No problem. Use the built-in dictionary without leaving the page.

· You broke your reading glasses, or you’re too vain to wear them, and the print is too small to read. No problem. Enlarge the font, and keep reading. If the font still isn’t big enough, if you bought one of the many books with audio content, your eReader will read the book to you. Use your headphones, or you and your significant other can listen to the good bits together! Which brings me to another benefit…

· No bookcover, means no one will know what you’re reading! Just think, you can read that steamy romance in the break room and no one will be the wiser, except for the flush on your face and the fact that you’ve been fanning yourself and everyone else is huddling for warmth!

Next, let’s be fair and mention a few drawbacks.

  • · There’s nothing like the crack of a crisp, new book spine. You won’t get that with an eReader. Unless you have one of the color eReaders, you won’t get all the joy out of the beautiful cover art. You will have to charge it on occasion, but the battery life is much longer than you would expect.

  • · This is the one that gets many people. You can’t share the book you just bought. We all do it. We buy a book and we like it so much we want all our friends to read it too, so we pass it along, and along, and along. That’s not always a bad thing. Many times it generates new fans who actually buy other titles by that author. However, this is slowly changing, and I think eventually you will be able to share ebooks in a limited manner. It sounds like a nasty trick to play on the consumer, but unlike traditional print books, ebooks can be pirated on the internet, and made available for free to millions of people in the blink of an eye. Not too many people want to scan and reprint physical books just so they can give them away. Internet piracy steals untold millions from authors who are entitled to revenue from the sale of their books.

Enough for today. In the next installment, we’ll talk about what’s on the market. Color vs. black and white, wi-fi vs. 3-G, and iPad vs. dedicated eReader.

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