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2012: The Year I Discovered eReading

Posted by on 2 January, 2013

Over the past few weeks I’ve had some folks ask me which eReader to purchase. I’d done a bundle of research for the first one I bought for my son and then again when I bought one for me.

So today, I’ll try to break down how I approached the purchases and what I bought.

If you’re looking for any kind of electronic device, what you select really depends on how it will be used. I know that sounds obvious, but some forethought really is essential here.

If you’re looking for a device strictly for eReading and you don’t ever need a back light, Kobo Touch is phenomenal. The e-ink technology is so easy on the eyes and with no back light at all, you can easily read in bright sunlight.

I’ve burned through a lot of books on my Touch this year.

The downside is, reading at night means you need a lamp or some other source of light to shine on the device. This was never an issue for me since I read in bed with a side lamp so my Kobo Touch has served me very well (except when I’m beginning to doze and the thing smacks me in the forehead).

Enter Kobo Glo. Same as all of the above except you can turn on a back light to read at night so that you don’t need an outside (the device) light source. I know a couple people who now have these and swear by them.

So that’s strictly for reading. The Kobo platform and interface for these devices is easy to use and the Kobo store has plenty of selection…unless you’re looking for something obscure, which I am sometimes.

You can download software like Calibre to convert other ebook file types to EPUB and then drag over to your Adobe Digital Editions software then drag and drop onto your device…but that’s a pain in the arse. Seriously, it drove me a little batty.

Enter tablets. With a tablet you can download the app for Kobo, Kindle, Smashwords, Wattpad and pretty much any other source of ebooks you can think of. You don’t need to convert anything. Just open your app and start reading.

There’s a world of tablets out there and you know what? Most of them are very good. A few are exceptional. For eReading I’d recommend first and foremost figuring out which size suits you best for reading. If you really want something big, an iPad is a phenomenal tablet…but holy hella large right?

Since I’d already gotten used to reading on the Touch, a 7” tablet made more sense for me.

So, 7” tablets. Do some additional reading, but for purchase in Canada, here’s three suggestions: iPad Mini ($330), Google Nexus 7 16GB ($209), and Kobo Arc 16GB ($199) – all base model prices.

I won’t get into the mechanics of each, but have read enough to comfortably say, they’re all great tablets. Now it comes down to esthetics. You’ve looked under the hood, you’ve determined the horsepower, now you want to see where the buttons are on the dashboard and how she rides. I did this and settled on the Kobo Arc. Why? I LOVE the interface and android widgets. It accesses Google Play, like the Nexus, and I love the framing. Overall, the Arc felt better in my hands and the ride has been quite smooth.

The downside of a tablet is no e-ink technology. By choosing a device which is backlit, I had to play with the brightness settings a bit, but I’m used to it now. I definitely traded reading quality for convenience of having everything I could ever want to read on the same device with no packing around. I chose wisely for my needs.

My son’s iPod Touch just died. I gave him some things to consider for a new purchase, showed him some devices and let him play with my Arc a bit. He chose the Google Nexus 7. Definitely a better device for him. It’s a personal thing.

I hope this is helpful! And thinking about these things up front should help make your purchase perfect for you.

6 Responses to 2012: The Year I Discovered eReading

  1. palten137

    Good heavens. I spent less thought buying a car. I think I’m drooling a bit now! But I focused more on the purchasing end, and by that, I mean availability of books because I just want to read. I was thrilled with my Kindle until Amazon.ca came into the picture. They haven’t gotten the HST part fine tuned yet so the purchases are overpriced. Plus, with the dollar about par, books at Amazon.com were a lot cheaper.

    • katerobbins

      It’s a balance for sure. I looked at the ebook selections and thought Kobo would have everything I ever needed, that was before I discovered Smashwords and other indie publishing sites. I’d also read that in Canada, while the Kindle is a fabulous eReader, sometimes there’s purchasing issues.

  2. Jeff Lush

    For me it was about minimizing device overload. If I have one device it’s easier to do some quick reading or it is more likely that device will be with me when the time to read appears. That’s why I didn’t do kindles or nooks. For me, my iPad does the job and I love reading in the shade outdoors and never worrying about light.

    • katerobbins

      Thanks for stopping by, Jeff! How we use these devices is so individual, isn’t it? I can totally see what you’re saying. I find the iPad big for reading, but it seems perfect for your needs. One question, though. How did we ever manage before them? The statistic we heard yesterday, that ‘most people’s smartphones are closer to them than their spouses when the sleep’ is probably more relevant than most of us would like to admit.

  3. jenny

    Hi there!
    Just want to ask if I can download a wattpad on Kobo tablet? I’m planning to buy a Kobo touch..I just love ebooks and the stories in wattpad.
    Thanks a lot! 🙂

    • katerobbins

      You can download any app on a tablet. I have the Kobo Arc, which is a tablet, and have apps for Kobo, Kindle, Smashwords, Wattpad, etc. If you buy an ereader like the Kobo Touch with e-ink technology, you won’t be able to download apps. You can still download an epub file from various sources to your main computer, but it’s a bit of a pain because you then have to hardwire your Kobo to your desktop or laptop computer and drag and drop into another program in order to get your book on your ereading device. The conundrum? E-ink is way easier to read, but a tablet allows you to download books from various sources with a couple taps. Wattpad is a great place to find new/indie authors as is Smashwords. Let me know what you buy and about your experience. I’ve always been an avid reader but find since I turned to ebooks, I consume way more.

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