Staff at the Okanagan Regional Library are frequently asked for advice about which e-reader to choose, and while the library system cannot provide consumer recommendations, we do have research from Consumer Reports and other sources that can assist with choosing the best e-reader based on your needs.
A September 2011 article in Consumer Reports suggests the main thing to consider when choosing a device is the distinction between a tablet versus e-book reader. If you are intending to use the device primarily to read books, an e-book reader is the best choice. E-book readers are smaller and more lightweight than tablets, and often use e-ink screens that are easier on the eyes for reading, especially in bright light. If you also want to read magazines on your device and have functions such as browsing the web, viewing photos, and playing games, a tablet is your best choice. Other considerations are also screen size, Wi-Fi connectivity, and operating software.
There is a “Canadian Extra” as part of the Consumer Reports article issue that rates the various tablets and e-readers on the Canadian market and provides recommendations, including information on Apple iPads, Samsung tablets, Amazon Kindles, and Kobos. This full article is available free in the magazine or reference section at some ORL branches, or by accessing the EBSCO MasterFile Premier database on the ORL website eResources page. For further reviews and information, refer to the Consumer Help section on the ORL’s Web Links page. In particular, you may want to look at reviews and buying advice in “PC World” under Computers/Technology and in “Consumer Search” under General Consumer Resources.
An important consideration is the ease of accessing content through various e-readers. The ORL has e-books and audiobooks available for free through the Library to Go service, however these free digital resources will not work on Kindles in Canada. Amazon’s Kindles use proprietary software so e-book files must be purchased through Amazon’s online store; Amazon has made some titles available to libraries in the U.S. but it is not clear when or if e-books available though Canadian libraries will work with Kindles in the future.
ORL’s Library to Go service will work with most other models identified by Consumer Reports. To see whether the device you are considering will work with free digital files from libraries in Canada, you can go to the Overdrive Device Resource Center at www.overdrive.com.
Once you have decided on your e-reader, the ORL looks forward to helping you discover the multitude of free resources available to you through your library membership. The Library to Go website, accessible from the ORL homepage under “eBooks and Digital Media”, has a thorough help section to get you started. For assistance with using ORL’s online information, Library to Go, or other questions about e-readers, contact your local branch or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that ORL branches are closed Dec. 23 – Jan. 2, 2012. Happy holiday e-reading!
Okanagan Regional Library