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A more in-depth look at what it's like to use an e-Reader including tips on battery life, books and how to get the best from them.
An e-reader is a terrific device for bookworms of all ages. A basic e-reader can weigh less than a single hard-back book, but can hold hundreds or even thousands of books in digital form. Now, before you join the world of e-reading however, there are some things that you should know. That's because like any technology, an e-reader has pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses.
Let's start with the good news. An e-reader is very easy to use. You choose a book, read the text, and then press a button or tap the screen to turn the page. Just like that, and with a little practice, you'll be able to set bookmarks, highlight passages, and look words up in a built-in dictionary. Another good aspect is that most books are just text, so they use up very little storage space. Your e-reader will be able to store hundreds of books at once, all of them just a button press or screen tap away. Your collection will stay on your e-reader as long as you want, even if the battery goes flat. You should be able to avoid this pretty easily though because many e-readers can last for weeks on one charge.
Here's another big bonus. If your e-reader is broken, lost, or stolen, it can be easy to get all your books back again. In most cases, you just need to log into the online account you used to buy your books in the first place and reload them onto your replacement e-reader. No insurance claim, no waiting. Your online account even remembers where you were up to in the story. You buy e-books to put on your e-reader from online stores, so you will need access to the internet. Some e-readers can connect to the internet via a free mobile data service, though you need an account and a credit card, of course, to buy a new book, which brings us to pricing. E-books tend to be cheaper than the same book in print, and can even cost less than half. Finally some e-readers can browse basic internet sites like the news and weather. Again, you might not even have to pay for this if you have a model that uses a free mobile data connection.
Now, we come to the less good news. The biggest limitation of e-readers today is that not every title is available as an e-book. It's got to do with publisher deals here in Australia. Things are improving though, and more titles are being released digitally all the time, but you'll still find the odd book you want is only available on paper. Here's an important point to remember too. An e-reader isn't as tough as a paper book in some situations. I wouldn't take mine in the bath, for example, because like any electronic device, water will short it out.
Now e-readers use one of two screen technologies, and the best type is really a matter of personal preference. Some e-readers, for example, are back-lit like a mobile phone or a tablet. The light behind the screen makes them bright, but they can be hard to view in direct sunlight. Other e-readers use a system called e-ink which works really well in full sunlight or inside with a lamp, but can be harder to see in dim light. With a torch accessory, some of these e-ink readers can light the text in the dark. In some ways, this is more like reading a traditional paper book. Some e-readers can have limited contrast, which means the black ink may not stand out that well from the white background. This can make them tricky to read in some places such as in shadow outside or where there's a mix of full sunlight and shadow. How do you decide which e-reader is for you? The best thing to do is borrow someone's e-reader or ask for a demonstration in the shop. You'll find out pretty quickly if you're ready to join the e-book revolution.