Do You (e)Read Me?

 In Culture, Feature

Why modern bookworms read from a screen.


Unless you’ve been living under a piece of parchment, you’ve probably heard of a little device called an eReader. After all, eReader sales in the US have more than quadrupled in the last two years (according to eMarketer)—and in 2012, it’s predicted that 28.4 million (12 percent) of adult Americans will have an eReader or similar device.

The two most popular models are currently the Nook from Barnes and Noble and the Kindle from Amazon. Even a technophobe is likely aware of these devices, but many people don’t realize the range of capabilities, options and price points that are available. And, we’re willing to bet there’s one out there ideally suited to you.

Aside from joining the 21st century, a huge advantage of eReaders is the fact that they’re lightweight and highly portable. They also have the ability to underline, annotate or add notes to books, PDFs and other documents. You can connect to the web via 3G or wirelessly (depending on the device you choose). Plus, they’re very versatile—you can take them anywhere and even read in bright sunlight (with most models). And, who can ignore the price point? Depending on your selection, the Kindle has seven varieties that range from $79 to $379, and the Nook has three devices priced from $139 to $249.

Kindles range from the original model (sans color and touch screen) to the latest and greatest, the new Kindle Fire—with a full-color touch screen, streaming video, web browsing, access to books, magazines, newspapers and videos, the ability to lend books and much more. The Nook has a simple black and white version and ramps up to the Nook Tablet—with similar features to the Kindle Fire. If you opt for the higher-end models of these devices, you can also install and enjoy many great apps.

So, which one should you buy? We could spend hours debating—but really, the bottom line for many is to ask yourself, “Am I an Amazon power user?” If you purchase from Amazon on a weekly basis, have multiple wish lists and use Amazon as your homepage, then the Kindle is for you. If not, we recommend spending some time with each device either on the website or, better yet, in person. Hands-on, you can’t go wrong.

Assuming you go all out and opt for the Kindle Fire, the Nook Color or Nook Tablet, you can run thousands of great Android-based apps. Just like apps for your smartphone, they can really customize and expand the features of your eReader—so much so, that we couldn’t help but “bookmark” these four exciting apps (for eReaders and smartphones alike) for the e-reading-inclined.

Wanna Get Social? Try Goodreads. Did you ever wish you could combine your love of reading with social networking? Snap! Enter the Goodreads app. Goodreads is a large social network of people who love to read. The app currently boasts more than 5 million readers and 8 million book titles. You can create a personal profile, follow other people, find book recommendations from friends and other readers, check user updates and read friend and community reviews of any book, as well as write your own.

Indie Spirit? Try IndieBound. We love shopping at our local bookstores, as well as supporting indie pubs in general. Trouble is, many of these may not be available directly on your eReader. That’s what the IndieBound reader offers. Independent bookstores have partnered with Google to sell Google eBooks and make them available as ePublications.

News Junkie? Feel the Pulse. We can’t say enough about how much we love the Pulse app—it rocks! Pulse allows you to keep up on the latest news, blogs and seemingly endless stream of online posts. You can easily customize, sort and browse the news you choose—whether it’s a local blog or a national news feed. You can also share news with others via Facebook, email or Twitter. Playing reporter has never been easier, or more fun!

Wanna Get Smart? Heed these final words. Everyone needs a little fun. Since we’re focusing on reading-related apps, we can’t help but point out that both devices allow you to play Words With Friends. This wildly popular and highly addictive game based on Scrabble allows you to play asynchronous games with other friends.



Do you (e)Read Me?


Photo credit: Sarah Quatrano

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