Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales reports are in; Kindles, iPads, and Nooks are flying off the shelf! I was in a Barnes & Noble on Friday and the line at the Nook station almost went out the door. What does that mean? eReaders will be under millions of Christmas trees this year. But it’s a little more difficult to imagine gifting something as virtual as an eBook, right? Wrong!
Now you can easily gift an eBook with a few clicks of the mouse. Amazon and Kobo allow you to purchase specific eBooks as gifts. All you have to do is type in the email of the recipient, along with the date you’d like the eBook “delivered.” Or you can print out a gift receipt to put in a Christmas Card.
With a spate of new eReaders and tablets hitting the market, we thought it worth spelling out some of the features and specs of the major players to help you discern which is right for you – or at least help you figure out what the differences are. Bear in mind, there is no real apple-to-apple comparison here (no pun intended). eReaders have black and white “eInk” screens and are designed to be fairly basic – the introduction of the latest $79 Kindle is the best proof of that. Tablets, on the other hand, are designed to be something like a laptop in your palm – and can be used for reading, gaming, browsing, streaming, recording, and many other “-ings” to boot. In the end, your (and your readers’) preferences may be driven by your choice of book retailer as much as by the features of any given eReader.
Yesterday, Sony announced the launch of the “lightest 6-inch touchscreen eReader device ever.” Weighing in at under 6 ounces, the Reader Wi-Fi (PRS-T1) is smaller and lighter than last year’s line and features a 6-inch E-Ink® Pearl V220 touch screen.
Reader Wi-Fi also features a dedicated icon that connects to the public library system in the US and Canada, allowing borrowing of free e-books with a valid library card.
This lightweight reader comes in black, red or white.
It’s strange to say, but a lot of the questions we get asked about eBook formatting and conversion seem to stem from the fact that many writers have never read an eBook. Many authors are unaware of the benefits and limitations of digital books. They have not seen how text behaves on various eReading devices.
For those of you who are uncertain about how line-spacing, font size, pagination, and word-count work in eBooks, I highly recommend going to Barnes & Noble or Best Buy or a Mac Store and trying out an eReader. You don’t have to buy one, of course. But just a little experience with a Kindle, Nook, iPad, Kobo, or Sony Reader will probably answer 75% of your basic formatting questions.