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Mardi, 27 Décembre 2011 06:00

Roundup: E-Ink Readers

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When it comes to book-length reading, no glowing LCD tablet screen can hold a backlight to the eye-saving e-ink of these readers.

The Basics

Why not a full-fledged tablet?

Entry-level e-readers have become better, faster, and more stylish. Considering their low cost, featherweight portability (6 to 7 ounces), battery life (up to a month per charge), and superior readability, it's easy to justify having an e-reader and a tablet. Also, the lack of distractions on a dedicated reader is nice.

Are these really that much better than my first-gen e-reader?

Yes. It's comparable to the differences in smartphones before and after the iPhone. E-readers used to have tiny QWERTY keyboards; today, most have touchscreens or navigation buttons instead. Manufacturers have reduced both the length and the number of the obnoxiously distracting flashes as the screen refreshes between pages. The devices are also about 40 percent lighter now.

What about their associated ebookstores?

Every dedicated e-reader worth buying is tied to an ebookstore—Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and so on. This means you're generally limited to that store's selection and prices. Publishers make most new books available at the same price for each retailer, but there are gaps between catalogs. For example, Kobo's ebookstore has 41 newspapers and magazines, while the Amazon store has more than 300.

Buying Advice

Don't worry about memory. Even the cheapest readers can hold hundreds of books. Your two factors are bookstore and price. If you've already bought a bunch of ebooks from Barnes & Noble, why switch to a Kindle? After that, get the cheapest unit you're comfortable with. But note that some e-readers flicker more between pages than others. If you think a flicker is slightly annoying in the store, it will drive you absolutely nuts by page 200 of that Murakami novel.

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