Though the Apple iPad is the new kid on the bock as the latest technology gadget to provide the ability to read on the screen, other readers such as the Apple iPod Touch or Amazon’s Kindle have been around for a while and perform an adequate job as an e-reader.
Using an E-Reader
It is surprising how easy it is to use an e-reader. However, the initial concept to get over is the loss of the feel of hard paper pages in the hand. This is one of the most common statements that people state when assessing if they want to move from paper based books to e-books.
Some people only believe a book is made of paper, but for those interested in the message contained in the text of the book, rather than the delivery of that message, an e-reader has a number of advantages.
Advantages of an E-Reader
A large number of books can be stored on an e-reader. The number is basically limited by the amount of memory available on the device. A basic e-book, such as Emily Bronte’s classic “Wuthering Heights” requires around 150 kBytes of data. So with decent memory available it is possible to carry a few thousand quality books on an e-reader.
An e-reader, such as the Amazon Kindle or the iPod Touch can be easily carried. It can be slipped into a pocket or handbag for a quick read whenever the opportunity arises. This is not always possible with a hard-copy book; especially with some of the big blockbusters novels weighing quite a lot.
Hiking with an e-reader is easy, as it can slip into a backpack without taking valuable space. A number of books can be loaded up and carried on an extended hike with negligible extra weight.
If falling asleep reading with an e-reader (no different than with a hard copy book) the e-reader will automatically turn off. But it will always remember the last page being read; a feature not always available with a hard copy book.
Turning the page on an e-reader is as simple as tapping the screen. It can be either a tap on the right-hand side of the screen to move a page forward; the left-hand side to go back a page. Depending on the e-reader and the application driving the device, the page turn might be a swipe of the finger across the page.
The page can turn in a variety of different ways, depending on the reader’s preference. From an authentic turn, or maybe a sweep up from the bottom right. The page can fade to a new one or it can set so that the next page simply appears.
This makes an e-reader so simple to use from an ergonomic point of view. Using the Stanza e-reader application on the iPod Touch, the device can be held in one hand with the thumb just reaching over the side of the device in position to turn the page with minimal movement.
Try to hold a hard-copy Wilbur Smith tome in one hand and turn the page! This is one area where the new Apple iPad may not be as versatile. That is, it won’t be as easy to curl up in bed with an e-book on the Apple iPad as it is with the iPad’s smaller cousins such as the iPod Touch or the iPhone.
Reading Multiple Books on an e-Reader
With the e-reader; it is possible to be reading a number of books at the one time. Sure, this is also possible with hard copies, but the beauty of the e-reader is that all the books can travel with a person at the one time.
A book-a-holic may read an action novel in the morning commute on the train or bus to get the mind started. Then an inspirational biography at lunch; while dipping into a book of motivational quotes just before an important afternoon meeting. The afternoon commute may be a mind-numbing novel. And finally an easy read sporting biography or romance novel before drifting off to sleep at night.
The iPad will have some other advantages such as reading electronic copies of newspapers and magazines. Graphics and pictures will display better on the iPad.
However, for the straight reading of text-based books, the earlier Apple devices, and other e-readers, such as Amazon’s Kindle can perform as well.