You might be considering an ebook reader for yourself or a loved one, but before you buy, know what to expect. There are certain ebook reader features that all readers should have, and it’s important to know what to look for and why it’s crucial.
Here’s a look at a few ebook reader features that are absolutely indispensable.
1. Some type of electronic ink. I can’t stress this one enough: get an ebook reader that’s easy to read. The Amazon Kindle, the Barnes & Noble Nook, and the Sony eReader all offer a form of electronic ink that looks pretty much like a page. If you get something that uses a traditional screen (I’m looking at you, iPad) your eyes are going to hate you for it. The whole electronic ink thing is the only reason that ebook readers are worthwhile in the first place, so this is one feature that you don’t want to skip.
2. Wi-Fi access. I don’t think that the 3G offerings of the Kindle and the Nook are that spectacular, since you can’t really use them for web browsing (although both have access to an online store via 3G). However, some sort of Internet access is important in an ebook reader, because you don’t want to have to hook your reader up to a computer every time that you want to grab a new book. Look for a model that offers Wi-Fi access.
3. Epub support. With ePub support, you’ll be able to visit websites like Project Gutenberg to download loads of awesome free (and completely legal) books. ePub allows readers to jump around by chapter, and it’s just generally a very convenient file type. However, you’ll still be happy if your ebook reader only offers PDF support or support for another popular file type–just know the differences between the file types before you buy.
4. Ease of use. Before you buy an ebook reader, try out as many models as you can. Find out what you like. You should be able to easily navigate around a book from one chapter to the next and you shouldn’t have any trouble figuring out how to do basic things like switching to another book or adding a bookmark or highlight. The usability of ebook readers varies, so don’t assume that any two work the same or you’ll end up frustrated.
5. Extra features. You might not care about extra features–I’m right there with you. I like my ebook reader to, well, read ebooks, and I could care less what else it does. However, some people like games or web browsers or mp3 players built in, so if this is important to you, look for it before you buy.
What features do you think an ebook reader should have? Post below.