Electronic Reading Device – What to Look For

With the advent of the electronic reading device (also known as digital e-book readers or e-readers) some people are talking about physical books printed on paper being a thing of the past. While that isn’t likely to happen any time soon, if at all, digital e-book readers are set to be the thing of the future. More and more e-readers are becoming available, and they are becoming more popular all the time.

Sony and Amazon are the current leaders in the electronic reading device marketplace. Regardless of who makes it, each model will have its own set of features and specifications. It is important to have some idea of what to look for, and then base your decision to buy on those things that are most important to you.

Here is a brief listing of the features most people look at when they are considering the purchase of an e-reader.

1. Cost. With people watching their budgets closer than ever, how much a unit costs is often at the top of list of “features” to look for. You can normally get an electronic reading device for $139 to $399. That doesn’t mean one is better than the other, but just may have a different number of features.

2. Wireless connectivity. The ability to get your digital books anywhere is something to think about, especially if you like to travel, or will be using you digital reader away from home. Amazon’s Kindle, for example, has wireless built right in and uses Whispernet (provided by Sprint) to connect to the downloads site. You don’t have to do anything special, and there is no need to pay extra or sign a contract.

3. Title availability. Being able to download titles wirelessly won’t matter all that much if you don’t have enough titles to choose from. The good news is that the number of titles available in digital format is going up. Amazon used to claim they had about 250,000 titles; that number has now grown to an astounding 670,000 (plus public domain titles, blogs and magazines) Some electronic reading devices even offer free samples or titles.

4. The screen. Most models have a viewing screen that is about 6″, measured diagonally. Newer models are also better at making it feel like you are reading a real book instead of a digital screen. This creates less fatigue on the eyes, and that means a more pleasurable reading experience.

5. Size. While it wouldn’t make much sense for viewing screens to get much smaller, the total size of the typical reading device is getting smaller. The smaller the overall unit is, the more portable it will be, and the more easily it will fit in your hand. Weight can also be a consideration, though most e-readers wouldn’t qualify as heavy.

6. Storage. How many titles a digital reader can hold is another factor to look at. If you are an avid reader, then having a variety of titles on your device. E-readers can hold anywhere from 200 to 3,500 titles, which is enough most people. Some devices come with the option to add external memory, effectively increasing the potential number of titles you’ll be able to read.

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