Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Interesting article on e-readers and their future

I just finished reading this article on the future of e-readers: Is the E-Reader Dead? (not e-books I have to note) and I'm wondering what your opinion is.

Personally, I hope not! I love my Kobo Glo e-reader! I've been using one since the very first generation Kobo came out - which I think was around 2010? I still have my 2nd gen one around somewhere too. For a while I used a Kobo Vox, but I've happily gone back to the e-ink e-readers for several reasons.

The primary reason I've returned to the e-ink e-reader - I bought my latest one a couple of years ago, the Kobo Glo HD is the battery life. Overall, my opinion since is that I love it - the touch screen, ability to read footnotes, and the adjustable light, but overall the battery life!

I can take it on a week-long camping trip and not have to worry about running out of battery and reading-time. What's more, I don't have to read with a flashlight/headlamp at night either in the tent or by the fire. Personally at night I find that 2-4% brightness for the lighting works well, which is also dim enough that it doesn't always bother my camping partner.

I compare that with my iPad, which has about a ten hour battery life before I need to recharge it, or my old Kobo Vox which was about 6-8 hours of battery life and slow! Or at least looking back on it it seems slow.

One of the best things with the e-ink e-reader over using an app on my phone/tablet - besides it's habit of sucking battery-power - is the ease of loading the many non-Kobo e-books I have on my computer - the early Honor Harrington series thanks to the CD that came with the hardcover edition of War of Honor, similar collections from other CD's, electronic ARC's and even small-site purchases of e-books. Run those into Calibre, make sure they're in the right format, and then load them onto the e-ink reader.

If I'm doing the same thing with books on my iPad e-reader, I have to do the format checks, then e-mail the e-pub file to myself and then download it into the Kobo app on my iPad. Much more of a hassle in my mind. However, there may be a faster method that I'm not aware of.

Maybe it's a personal thing, but I like having a dedicated device for reading - I remember with the Kobo Vox how easy it was to read for a few minutes then get side-tracked with the games I'd loaded onto that device before coming back again to read for a bit more. Reading on a dedicated device reduces that temptation - though the fact I'm generally carrying a phone with games on it mitigates that.

For the most part, while I prefer paper books, the one thing I can't deny is the convenience of an e-reader of any sort for books like The Mists of Avalon, or The Deed of Paksenarrion - both books that are 800 pages plus, and often over a thousand pages each. Forget taking something like that traveling! Camping or otherwise. Even when traveling, I'm spoiled for choice, with probably a hundred e-books or so with me. Despite that, I'll still carry a couple of paper books too - no way I'm going to risk my e-reader taking it out on my kayak. An inexpensive mass-market paperback that I bought used - and can find again easily? That I'll take, sealed inside a zip-lock bag.

One of the other bonuses with e-books is the "instant gratification" factor. Finished one book and want to read the next in the series? Go online to the store and purchase/download it right away. No having to order the book and wait for it to come in. I will admit to buying some series this way for exactly that reason.

And finally, there's no need to be embarrassed by a book cover any more. Romance novel? No-one's going to see it and judge it - especially if you have a cover on your e-reader. Racy cover? same thing. Again, I have a couple of series that I'm only buying in e-form for just that reason.

Really for me, the dedicated e-ink e-reader really comes down to three main points that raise it over the e-reading apps for phones and tablets (though I'll admit to using the app on my iPad, and I also have the Kobo app on it, though I rarely use it).

First of all, the battery life - it's challenging enough keeping my phone and iPad charged when camping. Having a device for a pastime I do a lot of where I don't have to worry about the battery is a really big plus (I'll easily read for two or three hours a day sometimes).

Second is the convenience of being able to quickly and easily load on non-Kobo or books.

And the third point in favor of the e-ink e-readers: No screen-glare! Which does actually raise a fourth point - how easy it is to read on an e-ink screen under any lighting conditions - bright sun in sunglasses? no problem. Dim shade? Easy. Late at night? Simple. It's so much easier on my eyes. What's more, the e-ink readers give you more control over how the text is laid out on the page/screen I've found. More font-options, margin and line-spacing controls as well.

Overall, as you can see, I'm really hoping that the article linked above isn't correct in it's predictions.

What's your take on the issue?

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