Monday, January 12, 2015

E-Reader Reviews: Digital Adventures

Once upon a time, I snubbed my nose at the concept of e-books. When we took class votes on our favorite format to read in, I embraced the concept of "print, forever!" But then college started eating at my wallet, and a few dollars saved on a text book made a big difference. After buying a few text books, I picked up a few other e-books and...well, it went from there. I still buy print editions of my favorite novels, and I've yet to find the appeal of getting an electronic signature from an author, but when you're on the move and travel a lot, picking up a tablet with 100 books to keep by your side is a nicer thought than that stack of 10 print books. While I may never really LOVE an ebook with the same adoration I can hold a print book too, they definitely have a place in my life now. It brings up a new debate though...

....what to read them on.

The Faithful Computer
A large chunk of my e-books have been read from my computer in the past. I have both Nook and Kindle for PC, and I really love being able to type notes at a keyboard when I'm reading something heavier. My computer is still a go-to for books that need a little work, or books that require a little work from me. The size of the screen makes it easy to see pictures and diagrams, so it is really a good study tool. As I drift away from those bulky technical books though, my computer e-readers are less used. Try cuddling with a computer. It just doesn't work the same.

Nook 1st Generation
My first e-reader was a 1st generation Nook. While my entire family flaunted their Kindles, I loved that little device. Easy to read, touch screen at the bottom: it did what it was designed to do. I could read...and read...and read, without ever recharging. I think I lost the charging cable for like a month and managed to keep the life up until I found it. This was a great reader to have around and toss in a purse or backpack. While it lacked bells and whistles, it was a reliable machine. 

The Cell Phone
My cell phone often replaces an e-reader when it comes to my e-books. I always have them loaded, and if I'm standing in line somewhere, stuck in traffic, I can whip it out and read a little so I feel productive. The screen is small, but the convenience is great. One of my favorite reading apps, Oyster, was also heavily used by my phone, and the appearance was really great. The hard thing about using a cell phone to read is the phone needs to be used for a lot of other things. Yay reading, but bye bye battery life. Sad face. 

Nook Tablet
My second e-reader purchase was the Nook Tablet. Again, an older model, but you could read, you could watch Netflix, what more could you ask for? While I still keep this one around to read all my B&N books, the limited Nook marketplace left a bit to be desired for me. I guess that's the problem with upgrading from "e-reader" to "tablet" models. You still read books, but then you get distracted by all the other "toys" you want to have on it as well. The battery life on this was pretty surprising for everything I used it for though. If I tried leaving my computer off the charger it wouldn't last a day, but the tablet goes for weeks without needing a juice up. This has become a great bathtub tablet. It was cheap enough I don't feel scared treating it like a paperback, and I don't feel like I need white gloves to hold it in case I break something. You can just read, and enjoy. 

Kindle Fire HD 6" Tablet: The New Kid
And that brings us to my newest e-reader: The Kindle Fire HD 6". Which is probably my new best friend. Okay, I do need to confess I don't use it so much for reading as I do for...everything else. The app store is a little limited like the Nook Tablet, but there are workarounds and most things are in the Amazon store I wanted anyway. I use this for my budgetting, I use it to watch movies, and I just downloaded some audible books for my next road trip so I can keep tackling my reading list even when I can't sit and read. Yay! The size is super convenient for me because I can pretty much carry it anywhere. Super small, hangs out in my purse and saves my cell phones battery. While it doesn't have the lasting charge you get with your basic readers, this is sort of a middle ground between cell-phone/computer and e-reader. You read, you use apps. It works. 

I don't think I could ever vote on THE BEST e-reader, because different books need different environments to be read in. Would you want your textbook printed trade paperback sized? Probably not. Would it be silly to have that same paperback in a textbook form? Yeah, I think so. Having options on how to read, and where to read, is just part of the adventure. In the end, I think the goal is still the same: to pick up a good book. 

What about you. How do you read? 

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