Wondering what kind of e-reader or tablet to buy for yourself or a family-member? We have some ideas.
There are many kinds of e-readers compatible with free library eBooks and Audio eBooks. Most commercially available e-readers are compatible with eBooks and Audio eBooks, but if you want to see if the device you're planning on buying is compatible - check out this list of compatible devices from OverDrive.
What is the best device for you? Depends on how you want to use your tablet. If you're concerned about glare and your eyes, you might just want a black and white e-reader. Before buying, look at the screen and text settings, and hold the e-reader in your hand. You will see how the weight and shape feels, and if the functionality suits you, or if either the lack of features or the extra features get to be irritating with use. This article, E-reader for the holidays really helps you think about all of the factors involved in buying an e-reader.
The new Windows Surface tablet – It comes with Windows 8, which can have a bit of a learning curve.
The ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity (rated by CNET as the best overall Android tablet),
Both of these tablets are compatible with library eBooks on the OverDrive platform. The OverDrive App can be downloaded in seconds from Barnes & Noble or Amazon App store and works well. As of right now, the Nook does not support OneClick Digital, HPLD's other Audio eBook vendor. These are some considerations if you want to buy an e-reader but intend to check out most of your books for free.
E-ink Kindles can be relatively easy to use because their Amazon wireless transfer capability makes it easier to get the books onto the device, without having to attach the device to a computer via a cable. With the Nook Simple Touch (the Nook version of e-ink), patrons have to use a cord to transfer books that they check out on a desktop computer to their e-reader. Both devices require you to check out items on a computer or other internet-connected device.
Finally, consider smart phones as an e-reader option. Buying a smart phone with one of the larger 4.5" or 4.7" screens makes use of the convergence of functions in one device (most are compatible with eBooks and audio eBooks), so you don't have to carry a plethora of devices. Having only one device also reduces your environmental impact in terms of mining and refining the precious metals that are used to make the components in these devices. The increased rate of obsolescence of these devices can be something to consider as we increase consumption.
If you are gifting an e-reader to someone who is a little less tech-savvy than yourself, think about giving a little tech-support along with the gift, lest it becomes a burden. Some people can get overwhelmed and anxious about technology that is thrust at them, but with which they are not really comfortable.
There's always the option of outsourcing that help to libraries. At HPLD, we have Book a Librarian appointments where we work one on one with people to help them figure out their devices.
As a bonus, we also teach them to checkout, download and return free eBooks or audio eBook. All of these services are provided free of charge.
Due to the fact that Windows 7 is no longer being sold as an option on new laptops and desktops (why, Microsoft, why?), we are seeing many people confused by the radically different interface that Windows 8 presents to its users.
As always, don't give up, we are here to help and we've got it all (mostly) figured out. There is hope. Windows 8 has some basic hurdles to get past to, but after that, even a non-techy user can feel comfortable with Windows 8. The thing is not to panic.....
Here are some resources to get you started with Windows 8:
Microsoft help - Might as well go straight to the source. It's a fairly showy site, but it does have videos as well as written directions, which is nice.
The Goodwill Community Foundation has been helping computer users for a long time, and they have a pretty good set of tutorials for Windows 8. They also have both videos and written instructions with large screenshots.
Then there's YouTube - this video from Nick's Computer Fix is also quite good for basic functions.
And remember, if you're stuck, make a Book a Librarian appointment and bring your machine to one of our branches. We will try to guide you through the problem.
For More information about registering for these classes, check out out computer classes on our Calendar of Events.