Monday, September 24, 2012

What I Want In An E-Reader

Following the launch of the Kindle Fire and the Kindle Paperwhite, the internet is rife with reviews, links and dim photographs of screens. Truly, we live in a golden age.

The line between an e-reader and a tablet is becoming blurred and as a consumer, this concerns me. The Kindle Fire seems to be a direct iPad competitor, while the Kindle Paperwhite is strictly a device for reading books. I'm relieved that I can still buy devices that just display ebooks (and do it well) but the general move towards a single all-singing all-dancing tablet that runs your entire digital life does not grab me as much as it might.

For reading, I want a dedicated ereadert. Beyond that, my needs are simple:

It must be compatible with Amazon's mobi format. An increasingly large number of writers are releasing exclusively on Amazon and I don't want to miss out on that.

It must read my own PDFs. This is a big part of how I edit my novels now.

It must have a screen that's easy on the eye, ideally not backlit. I have terrible eyesight, and am constantly being advised to spend less time looking at backlit screens. My day job and most of my hobbies involve looking at a screen. It's nice to give my eyes a break.

Beyond that, I have a few wants - I'd rather it didn't look too much like an iPad because I don't fancy getting mugged, long battery life is a big plus (because of my forgetting-to-charge problem, as well as the fact I like to travel) and a good, durable screen that can survive some serious handbag-time are all important.

I hope the market continues to provide that - however, I suspect my lovely un-backlit Kindle Keyboard is part of a dying breed.

What about you guys? What do you want in an ereader?

I'm still in mainland Europe, so may not be responding to comments too much. Please feel free to chat amongst yourselves!


  1. "It must have a screen that's easy on the eye, ideally not backlit."

    This is an essential requirement for me. I suffer from migraines, so must limit the amount of time I spend using my PC. But I can use Kindle for however long I please because it's not backlit.

    I was actually thinking of doing a post myself surrounding this issue but you beat me to it. I just pray they will continue to offer a Kindle with no backlighting.

  2. I suffer from migraines, too - but I find myself reading on the iPad Kindle app rather than my actual Kindle most of the time. Although the Kindle is perfect for travelling.

  3. Touch-screen was a big selling point for me and I didn't get an eReader until that was available. I find it far more intuitive, especially when dealing with on-screen keyboards and navigation.

    And ideally, my fantasy eReader would be compatible with all formats, mobi, pdf, epub and so on. I'm a bit saddened at Amazon exclusivity of authors - I do buy from Amazon (in general) and I am in awe of the way they snagged such a large market share but as someone who is so close to the industry I'm worried about the lack of competition - however that is for another post.

    +1 on the eInk screen sans back lighting.

  4. For me, the most important thing is a screen that isn't backlit. I HATE reading for any length of time on my computer but love reading on my Kindle.

  5. I'm with you, liking the plain Kindle e reader more than a tablet idea. As for viewing PDFs have you tried converting your manuscripts to an rtf. doc and then uploading on the Kindle? It reads extremely well, better than a pdf file.

  6. I definitely prefer the regular Kindle screen to a backlit tablet.

    When it comes to gadgets, I like having separate devices for separate tasks. I have an iPod and a smartphone, but I've no interest in getting an iPhone.

  7. I dont think I will ever convert to ebooks... I'm too much in love with the smell of the paper kind. I'd feel as though I were cheating on a part of myself...

    Although it may also be because of the backlight! I get so tired reading on screen.

  8. I think some of the same things you're looking for, Ellen. Those are the sort of things I'll be looking for in an ereader.

  9. Hello! Fellow Irish blogger here :) I HATE backlit, I have a regular old Kindle and I love it. Spends a lot of time in my handbag so a cover is essential for me, the first one I had got a mark on it in the first month because I didn't buy a cover, I had to have it replaced because I'm so OCD and the mark bothered me so much!


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