11 March 2014

The eMerging eReader #2: Devices

eMerging eReader © cbl for www.BethFishReads.comAs I mentioned yesterday, one of the biggest hurdles on my road to enjoying eReading was finding a device that fit my style. Although I got my first dedicated eReader in 2009 and my second just a year later, I wasn't a fan. Among other problems, I was disappointed with the features and frustrated with the DRM issues. I realize now that only part of my failure had to do with the technology; the other part was not having a clear idea of my needs.

It took me almost four years after I put my first eReaders to pasture to understand my own particular requirements. I wanted a monotone dedicated reader with eInk technology, wifi, touch screen, and built-in lighting. I wanted to buy my books from a variety of stores, and I wanted to check eBooks out from the library. But, and here's where things got complicated, I also wanted to be able to read PDF eGalleys and full-color graphic novels.

For me the answer was to get two different devices, which turned out to be the break-through moment that allowed me finally to become an eMerging eReader.

For my dedicated eReader, I picked the Kobo Aura HD, which is just about perfect. The responsive touch screen makes it easy to turn pages, the infinitely adjustable font size means I can read without glasses, the eInk is just what my eyes want after I've been working at the computer, the matte screen means I can read out on the deck, and the internal light makes it easy to read in bed. Plus it's a snap to highlight passages, bookmark pages, and search for words.

The Aura, however, has two negatives: it won't let me read full-color graphic novels, and it doesn't play nicely with PDFs. I solved those problems when I bought my first tablet.

I opted for an iPad because I have an iPhone, though any tablet would have worked for me. Over the last few months, I've tried a number of apps for the tablet (which I'll talk about in a future post), and after I found one that allowed me to read full-color graphic novels and beautifully formatted PDFs, I was hooked.

Unlike many of you, I wouldn't want the tablet to be my only eReader: the backlit screen is hard on my already tired eyes, the screen is difficult to read in the sun (outside), and it isn't as lightweight as the Kobo. On the other hand, the tablet was the link to the third piece to my eReader puzzle: taking advantage of a device I already owned . . . my phone.

I don't really use my phone as an eReader, but I love the fact that both my Kobo and my tablet synch to it. Isn't great that no matter where I am, I can access my current eBook?

I realize I'm probably not the average eBook reader. Most of you could be very happy with a single device or are still holding out for that magic all-in-one gadget. But my journey as an eMerging eReader began only once I had several devices in play.

In future posts (maybe once a week or so), I'll talk about specific software and apps, how I use my laptop (PC) as the master manager of my eBooks, and a number of other problems and issues I've overcome. And don't worry if you have different gadgets from mine, pretty much everything I've discovered is available across platforms.

Acknowledgments: Many kind people gave me good advice along the way. I want to give a huge shout-out to the wonderful people at Kobo's customer service (especially on Twitter) for helping me obtain my eReader. I was having technical issues with their website, and they went above and beyond to resolve them. Thanks to @Jennbookshelves and @SKrisha for sharing their experiences with different gadgets and answering my endless questions.


Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves) 3/11/14, 7:21 AM  

I've never heard of the Kobo - I'll have to check that out! I was resistant to getting an eReader for a long time - my husband basically forced me to because we were running out of space for all my books. Now, I use the Kindle Paperwhite and I love it - I actually won't read a real, paper book anymore. I carry my Kindle with me everywhere. It allows me to read in small snippets throughout the day (pretty much the only way I can read). Thanks for a great series - I'm looking forward to the next installment!

bermudaonion 3/11/14, 7:27 AM  

I love that the iPad and iPhone sync as well. I was stuck waiting for what seemed like forever yesterday and I didn't have a book with me so I pulled out my phone and started a book. I will probably finish it on the iPad. The phone isn't the best way to read a book but I sure was thankful for that option yesterday.

Jenn's Bookshelves 3/11/14, 8:09 AM  

I have all Apple devices for my home use so I love that they sync. I, too, love the Kobo but it just didn't meet my "all in one" needs. I love that I can buy ebooks from a number of retailers (including my favorite independent bookstore via Kobo) and I don't have the formatting issues I had with a standalone eReader.

SuziQoregon 3/11/14, 8:12 AM  

Yep - this is my situation exactly. Kobo Aura HD and iPad for GNs and PDFs.

JoAnn 3/11/14, 8:54 AM  

I absolutely love my kindle paperwhite, but wish it would allow me to enjoy the beautiful colors of a graphic novel or cookbook... or even the cover of whatever book I'm reading. I also have an ancient iPad, but never use it for reading. Maybe I should make a few exceptions.

Beth Hoffman 3/11/14, 10:39 AM  

I adore my iPad, and after reading your post (which is excellent and incredibly informative), I wonder if I might like having a KOBO Aura HD too. I say that primarily because of the matte screen.

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) 3/11/14, 10:47 AM  

I'm still not a total convert. I'm using a Nexus tablet which works well with the Kindle app. Pdf files are not so great because I can't change the font size, and graphics are a little too small for my old eyes. Graphics and cookbooks end up being read on my UltraBook which is ok, but not a perfect solution.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) 3/11/14, 11:24 AM  

I have a question about Kobo: can you read books from other retailers (I'm thinking specifically B&N) on a Kobo Aura HD? I started out with a Nook, so I have most of my books in that format. If I get another exclusive ereader, it needs to work with those files.

Beth F 3/11/14, 11:43 AM  

@Kim: yes you can transfer your Nook books to the Kobo. I did it with no trouble. I'm going to talk about the process & programs in an upcoming post.

Vasilly 3/11/14, 12:19 PM  

I have the same requirement as you so I bought a Nook Color (which B&N doesn't sell anymore). It was a perfect pick for me. I'm glad you found something that works for you.

Daryl 3/11/14, 2:39 PM  

i have found the ipad mini is so much lighter and smaller than the full size i always carried it everywhere but now it fits in all my purses/bags and i dont notice ...

Heidenkind 3/11/14, 3:31 PM  

Yes, this. I have two devices, too, an iPad mini and a Kindle Paperwhite. I love both of them but I can't handle reading on the iPad for a long period of time, and the fact that it doesn't have 3G is an inconvenience. My mom, though, doesn't have a problem with it and uses her iPad as her exclusive ereader.

I also started reading on my phone after I got an iPad. Like in lines at the pharmacy and stuff. Those extra minutes really add up!

Meghan 3/11/14, 5:01 PM  

I'm a multiple device reader too - iPad and Kindle Paperwhite, although I heavily prefer the Paperwhite (which is perfect practically everywhere, much like your Kobo Aura HD) and can't imagine how anyone uses a backlit screen for all of their reading. Like you I spend all day looking at a screen, I don't want my evenings to be like that too! iPad is great for magazines for me too. I've got Asimov's on there, which I can't even find in physical form here. I'm looking forward to seeing what you use for PDFs because I think I could improve on the Kindle app significantly.

And totally agree - the syncing is fantastic. It's amazing that I have a hundred books available on my iPhone in case of unexpected delays anywhere.

Marg 3/11/14, 7:36 PM  

Like you, I can't possibly read exclusively on my tablet. It just makes my eyes too tired. I do sometimes read on it using the Kindle app but mostly I still use my Sony ereader, which is pretty ancient given that I have probably had it 4 or 5 years.

Nise' 3/11/14, 9:18 PM  

I read on 3 different devices (Kindle Fire, iPad and my phone). I only use my phone when I am out and have extra time to read. I am mainly a print reader

Unknown 3/11/14, 9:45 PM  

Somewhere in my stacks, there's the famed Hidden eBurial Grounds: a first gen Kindle, a nook color, a nook glow, an Acer tablet, a first gen iPad, two minis.... Some of the issues I had with them included (but were not limited to) were: a stupid square toggle "mouse," lack of full internet services, headache-inducing screens (no matter how much I messed with the contrasts, font sizes, backgrounds, colors, etc) and screen sizes.

Now I'm working with a iPad2 and my iphone 3G (though I'm due for an upgrade on the latter this month.) On the iPad2, I use iAnnotate for pdfs, have the nook, kindle & zola apps, full internet, a flac player (for work) and, for whatever reason, I don't the headaches. I like being able to sync with my iPhone too. The only drawback is that I can't wear sunglasses and read it at the same time!

Still, though, no matter the eReader, the fact that I have to watch my battery levels when I'm unleashed is annoying!

dog eared copy/Tanya

Margot 3/11/14, 10:45 PM  

I like this discussion by you and the commenters on the variety of devise options. I'm on my second kindle (my husband uses the first one) and I really like it. It's lightweight and goes everywhere with me. I also have a tablet from Verizon (4G). I like it for the white background and the color display. I like your point about the iPhone. Unfortunately, my old eyes need large sized fonts.

grammajudyb 3/12/14, 10:00 AM  

I have just a Kindle Fire. A gift from my husband. I didn't really know what I wanted, everyone had a different ideas when I asked. I wish now that I had the Paperwhite from Kindle, but oh well. I do not have any kind of tablet, we have an old desktop CPU that my husband uses to play games and read emails. I have a laptop for letters, banking, blogging etc. OLD SCHOOL for sure.
Thanks for sharing all your knowledge.

Kailana 3/12/14, 12:41 PM  

I used to read only on my tablet because I was so frustrated with e-readers. They have come a long way, though and I finally got a new Kobo at Christmas. I was going to get the Aura, but the Arc was on an awesome sale. I really like it, so I don't regret not getting the one I originally wanted. :)

Bree 3/12/14, 12:48 PM  

Paperwhite users: can you get ebooks from anywhere on it or only Amazon? Does it display PDFs?

Melissa (Avid Reader) 3/13/14, 3:36 PM  

I use a kindle but it has taken me about 3 years to get to the point where I use it regularly. It's useful for certain types of reading, but it will never be my go to.

Melissa 3/18/14, 7:00 PM  

I have gone though quite a few devices too. A first Kindle Fire (sold and upgraded) and Sony reader (not sure where it ended up) and Nook Simple Touch (donated to the library). I have my newer Kindle Fire, but honestly can't remember the last time I've had it out. I read primarily on my phone (it is always with me) on the Overdrive or Kindle apps. I have an iPad as well with the same apps, but find I get distracted by games on it. :)

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