eBook app vs eReader

Although eReaders are relatively affordable in the US market, when it comes to Singapore, the price is still rather costly as compared to other digital devices. Of course you can always buy a Kindle online but without a local agent to assist with that 1 year warranty it seems kind of pointless. On top of that, Kindle is not open sourced. That said, even with Calibre, I find it a hassle still to use a program just to transfer eBooks, thus I went for Kobo even though Amazon eBooks are significantly lower priced than Kobo (again, with the DRM removal tools you can find on the net it doesn’t matter but I don’t want to go through all the steps just for a eBook that’s a few dollars cheaper).

But this post isn’t about whether Kobo is better or Kindle is better – that is totally up to the user to decide which brand is more suited for daily usage. No, this post is about why even bother with eReaders when nowadays you can simply whip out a tablet or phone and get the same content, same features as you would on an eReader. Yet I still paid 180+SGD for a Kobo Glo when I could easily use my phone instead.

To put it simply, an eReader utilizes e-ink technology which looks almost like real paper which is pretty awesome but traditional book lovers would argue why spend so much money on technology that looks like paper when you can just … use real paper? And modern book lovers would argue why spend so much money on an eReader when you can just load apps on your mobile devices?

Why?

For a myriad of reasons that could not be explained in one sentence. If you’re considering whether you should drop the money to buy an eReader, you should probably ask yourself the few common arguments to see if it’s worth it.

e-ink is not a novelty, not to me at least. Gone are the days where monitors produces so much glare that you can’t survive an entire work day without a polarizing filter – modern devices, whether it’s TVs, monitors or mobile phones are producing significantly less glare and strain on the eyes as compared to like say, a decade or two ago? Thus eReader’s selling point on less strain on the eye becomes less significant than before. People are glued to their mobile devices and have no issues staring at the screen as long as staring at a book, except for that frequent neck ache (but that’s a common issue across all mobile devices and eReaders are not immune to it).

I have a pair of sensitive eyes that finds comfort only in paper. Like everyone else I work long in front of a monitor (two actually but I digress), I’m also glued to my phone from time to time but those are the moments where comfort is not top priority. When you’re sitting down with a book in hand, the most important thing is comfort and that’s where the e-ink technology comes in. Whether it’s Kobo, Kindle or Nook, the e-ink screen provides the same comfort as you would in a paperback albeit different manufacturers does have some slight differences (which the user would have to research before buying).

With that point comes the argument from traditional book lovers of ‘why not get a real book then? All the reasons for this are detailed in the previous post – ebook vs book

On top of that, because Kobo is open sourced, I could easily load up other things to read like, my own writings. This becomes a very important point as eReaders don’t just come with e-ink technology, they come with digital features too like highlighting certain words, making notes, bookmarking or even dictionary feature. For my own writings, it becomes significantly easier to do editing (aside from boosting my own ego to see my writing in ‘print’). Back in the days of CRT monitors I’d sit in front of the monitor for hours just to find grammar or logic flaws and that was a lot of strain on my eyes and at the end of the day I don’t feel like looking at it anymore. If I don’t look at it anymore I can’t post it confidently and if I can’t post it then there lacks the motivation to write more (of course this is just one of the issues I face in writing and is not the whole reason why I took long hiatuses).

Another point worth mentioning is that Kobo has recently updated software for all their readers to support ‘Pocket’ app which allows you to save web articles (that support Pocket app of course) to be read on your reader offline at a later time – this just makes things even better.

I have to admit though, Kobo Glo when first released wasn’t all that great with issues like page lags when it came to huge volume books like trilogies – the most annoying of it all was “The hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy, trilogy of 5” and “The Millennium trilogy” – pages flip fine but as they reach somewhere in the middle the pages lag for like, few seconds at least. Over the years Kobo has released firmware updates that improved on this and now I have read 90% A Song of ice and fire (first 4books in 1 file) and it hardly lags at all. Fans of Game of Thrones would know how thick the books are in print.

Moreover they released Kobo Glo HD which can be considered one of the lower priced HD eReaders and it sure looks tempting but priority at the moment is the Lumia 950XL but I’m digressing.

This post is not meant to sell or promote eReaders or Kobo but rather for people who would like to make the jump from traditional format for reasons like mine, these are probably the few things to consider when making the decision.

If you live in Singapore as is looking for alternative eReaders like Kobo or Onyx do check out https://zoeblogshop.wordpress.com/.

P.S I’m not paid to write this but Kobo has improved my literature life significantly over the two years which I owned one and felt like I should write this to share my experience.

Before making purchase I also had my reservations on durability, battery life and such all of those concerns became insignificant when the product itself lasted the test of time.

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eBook vs Books

The old age argument about how books are much more superior than ebooks always pops out when there’s a discussion on eBooks. While it is true that eBooks in price are not significantly lesser than their physical counterpart (for obvious reasons) and that eBooks can never replicate that page flipping feel or that musty smell of books stored for extended periods of time, eBooks aren’t necessary inferior to physical prints neither are they superior.

Having owned an eBook myself for a couple of years, I can only say both formats target very different audiences with different needs, so both camps of supporters should just reign in their opinions to accept that both formats are just different.

While eBook companies are advertising how convenient the e-format is, it’s only understandable that they do so because its business. To us as a consumer, it’s more of what works for you and what doesn’t.

I’m not an avid reader to begin with but I do enjoy good books from Tom Holt or Raymond E. Feist; the times I spent getting lost in their world. While I do enjoy and treasure that book flipping experience and occasionally sniffing the book scent, it became increasingly impractical someone with inconsistent reading habits like me.

For one, I read only when I have time and free time is a very rare thing to come by nowadays. Sometimes I stop in-between a chapter and stop altogether for a few months. In between this time, I have a tendency to lose my bookmark and it’s a very turn-off thing for me.

Secondly, I tend to read in times where light it’s not readily available. Of course, one can argue that there’s mini torches that clip onto your pages – book light – but it doesn’t illuminate the entire page properly and evenly; if it works for you, it works, but not for me. And also, because I’m sleeping with my partner, the light can be quite disruptive to her sleep at night. As again, because of my reading habits, I don’t always wake up in the middle of the night to read so when I want to, I can’t remember where I last placed the book light.

Lastly, and the tipping point for me to jump to eBooks is space. As physical space shrinks over time (how is it possible you ask? It is when you’re not living alone in a space designed for 1 person), it becomes increasingly hard to store books or find them after every book sale I come home from; it’s a huge headache when you’re not rich enough to afford a huge space. On the other hand, I can afford digital space but only because eBooks don’t take up so much space – a thick paperback is less than 1mb in size and we all know how cheap 1mb is nowadays – and it just fits into my life nicely.

This post is not about which format is more superior that the other but rather to prove that it’s more about suitability rather than superiority.

To address one of the oldest argument of all “try bringing an eBook to camping” – I don’t like to do camping so that’s kind of invalid. What about running out of battery? I can’t remember when was the last time I gave my Kobo Glo a full charge, honesty. Yes I hardly use it but even so, for that kind of battery retention it’s pretty impressive.

Of course among eBook users there’s another argument of why should we spend money into a eReader? Well, that’s another discussion for another time.

If you live in Singapore as is looking for alternative eReaders like Kobo or Onyx do check out https://zoeblogshop.wordpress.com/.

P.S I’m not paid to write this but Kobo has improved my literature life significantly over the two years which I owned one and felt like I should write this to share my experience.

Before making purchase I also had my reservations on durability, battery life and such all of those concerns became insignificant when the product itself lasted the test of time.