Sunday, March 9, 2014

Jessica's Ultimate Guide to E-Reading!


Hello! Today, I'm here to share with you my love for reading (or in this case, e-reading) and a guide to how to get started with e-reading. Whenever I tell my friends that I e-read, they always get fascinated telling me how is it like, how do you get books ,etc. Which brings to me writing up this guide for those who are interested or know someone who is interested in e-reading.

What is "e-reading"? E-reading is the process of reading an electronic book on an electronic device. Basically, you're reading a digital format of a book.

Why do I love e-reading? Don't get me wrong, I love to read normal books too! However, being a bookworm, I switched over to e-reading because it's lighter in my bag (seriously, it's just the weight and size of your e-reader), I can carry my entire library everywhere I go, and it's cheaper.

What is e-reading like? E-reading will be a different experience for everyone. For me, it's just like reading any other book. However, many people will dislike e-reading due to the screen (if you're reading on a tablet) or simply because people enjoy the feeling of a new book.


To start your journey into e-reading, a great place to start is to recognize the file format for these e-books. The three most common e-book files are: .epub, .mobi, and .pdf. I don't know what they stand for, but they're the most generic formats. There are many more, but trust me, you'll probably only ever going to use these three. 

And did you know you can read comic books on an e-reader too?! When I first discovered that, I downloaded a few Black Widow comics. Listed above are the appropriate file formats for comics.

Do they have a difference? Between .epub and .mobi, there are no difference. Your e-reader will recognize these two formats and will do its job (eg. bookmarking, picking off where you left, etc.). However, if you have experience with PDF files, you'll notice that once you close the document, and reopen it, it doesn't pick up from where you last read. From my experience, some e-readers (and apps) support PDF files but don't recognize them as an actual "e-book file" so you won't get the benefits of bookmarking, for example. 

Keep in mind that although the e-book version is exactly the same as the printed version, the pages will not match up with the printed book due to the size of your e-reader, or the customization of font sizes. For example, Chapter 13 in a printed book will be on page 266, however, on the e-book version, Chapter 13 may be on page 345. If you're my friend on Goodreads, you'll notice that I update my reading progress as a percentage rather than pages. 

 

I'm not going to go into an in-depth product review for each e-reader because I don't want to sound bias towards a particular product in this guide. 

E-reading offers you two platform: a generic e-reader, OR a tablet. 

"Generic" e-reader: 
What I consider a generic e-reader is basically an e-reader that is built solely for e-reading. You may recognize the Kobo e-reader/Glo/Mini or the Amazon Kindle. These e-readers are built with "e-ink" which simulates a paper-like reading when you're using the device. In other words, you know how the text and paper is like for a book? An e-reader will give you the same, if not, similar experience. E-ink allows you to read in direct sunlight (like a normal book) and will not strain your eyes (like a normal book). E-readers are built to give readers a really similar experience to reading a printed book.

Pros: no eye straining, ability to read under direct sunlight, generally smaller and weights less than a tablet.
Cons: no 'entertainment' (eg. no videos, musics, and apps), no colours (if you read magazines and comics).

E-readers are best suited for those who just wants to read.

Tablet e-readers:
When I say "tablet e-readers", these are no different from a regular tablet like the Apple iPad or the Samsung Galaxy Tab, even the Kobo Arc!

Tablets, as you may know, is like a flat portable (but limited) laptop. Aside from Facebook and Angry Birds, you can also read on a tablet. Reading on tablets is like reading on a computer screen. Your eyes will get sore (for some readers), sunlight will reflect on your screen, but you get to read with nice colours. If you're wondering how to read on a tablet, you will (or can) download an e-reader app such as Kindle, Kobo, Moonreader, etc. So yes, although you're using an iPad, you can download the Kobo app to get a Kobo-like experience.

Pros: a lot of entertainment and multi-purposed usage, colours, ability to use different reading apps.
Cons: pricier, eye strains, unable to read under direct sunlight, slightly heavier/bigger than an e-reader.

Tablet e-readers are best for those who are used to LCD screens, reads colour content materials (such as magazines, comics and cook books) and wants additional entertainment.

(TIP: If you got an Android tablet, download 'screen filter' which darkens the screen PAST the system setting. This is my #1 app/method to read without eye strains or the annoying brightness in the dark.)

Does size matter? This depends on you. I chose 7" reader because I want something that can fit in one hand and doesn't take up room. However, if you're not one to customize the size of the fonts, a 7" may require you to "flip" (aka tap) the pages more often. As compared to a 10", the amount of space available for the texts will limit your tapping and making the chapter appear much shorter. Also, if you're not a fan of looking at a big page full of words, this is where a smaller size will matter.

What do I use? I used to have a Kobo 6" reader and switched over to the Samsung Galaxy Tab. I have my reasons to switching over to a tablet, and choosing Samsung over Apple. If you're interested in why, leave a comment, but otherwise, I don't want to include a review.

If you purchased a Kobo (or Kindle), you'll be using their own e-book management program. While I did use the Kobo management for a while, it was quite limited. 

Downloading an e-book management may be a bit technical for a few. Aside from keeping all your books organized, some programs allow you to edit the e-book file (eg. changing the cover).

Popular management programs include: Calibre, Adobe Digital Editions (required if you're borrowing books from the library), and of course, Kobo/Kindle management.

I use Calibre to edit my e-books from time to time, and I use Adobe Digital Editions when I borrow e-books from my library and/or when I read textbooks on my laptop.

 
You can purchase e-books from the Kobo store and/or Kindle store, which is accessible via your reader or the app. You can now also purchase books from the Apple iStore (iPads/Apple products only) or even the Google Bookstore. 

Prices tend to be cheaper than printed books. Also, Kobo sends daily coupons/discount codes which is why I tend to purchase from Kobo a lot.

To be honest, if you're one to pirate (who doesn't?), be aware of missing content/messed up contents. I have downloaded a few pirated e-books, and although the file isn't corrupted, there are missing words/pictures which frustrated me a lot. This is probably the reason why I rent and purchase my books so I don't have to deal with a messed up book. 

That being said, there are sites that offer free legit e-books, but these are more academic-like books. A quick Google search will bring you to the top free e-book sites but personally, they're a waste of time to look through because you won't find any of the New York Best Sellers YA books there.

So... what now? Find books to read! I love using Goodreads to discover new books!

PS: Yes, you can also use your computer to read if you don't want to invest in an e-reader. Just download Adobe Digital Editor, or the Kobo Management program; start purchasing books and read!

If you have any questions or concerns, let me know and I'll try my best to answer them. If you're looking for a product review, I'm only experienced with Apple iPads, Kobos, and Samsung Galaxy. I don't know much about Kindle e-readers (we don't have them in-store in Canada; online only) or Sony e-readers.

6 comments:

  1. I've done a little ereading, mainly I see it as a necessary evil of two situations : backpacking, where my tablet is infinitely lighter than the half dozen books I'd need to read and getting a hold of a sequel when I can't possibly wait to get the print copy (or refuse to pay for the hard copy) I still do, and likely always will prefer physical books tho!

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  2. I purchased a really old generic ereader run on Android 2 and it doesn't work properly anymore. I'm currently using my Kindle app to read ebooks (mostly reference books and fiction novels no longer available in hard print).

    I wanna buy a new ereader but my budget is kinda low right now. ^^;

    Not sure if I added you on my goodreads yet but will do so now if I haven't yet ^.^

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  3. I have a kindle fire and have "bought" more free books then I think I will ever be able to read! Love it for nighttime reading. =)

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  4. Sometimes, I hate how empty my shelves are but I have such a hard time forking out $20 for a book when I know I can get the digital edition for only $10... maybe, it's due to my limited available budget. Hopefully in the future I can have shelves filled of books!

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  5. I downloaded the Kindle App too but I haven't used it yet because for some reason I really dislike Amazon, but I'm just constantly downloading the free books they offered even though I have yet to read a single one of them!

    Awww, that sucks. Have you checked out clearance or refurbished ereaders? Back when I was working in Best Buy, they got some clearance (Sony) and refurbished (Kobo) ereaders that were about 40-45% off their regular prices and works like a dime still!

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  6. I'm guilty of that too - especially adding hundreds of books to my to-read list on Goodreads! I read mostly at nighttime too, though I think I need to cut it out so I can get to sleep earlier x.x

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