Welcome to the world of tomorrow… today.
eReaders and Tablet devices are changing the way we obtain what we read and how we read it.
Digital Delivery of what was traditionally print material has provided a handful of devices and a large selection of applications (aka APPs) to bewilder even the most tech-savvy among us. Here are some basic things that may be helpful to be aware of as you decide on what to read your books on and how to acquire them.
eReaders and Tablets
There are many devices that can provide access to eBooks but they are not all equal in what and how they do it. eReaders are proprietary (somehow associated with the inventor) devices designed to bring the traditional reading experience into the Twenty-first Century by simulating a book. That is the one thing they are designed to do and for the most part it makes sense.
eReaders have displays that use what is called E-Ink that looks like a page from a book, are easy on the eye, clear in bright light and emit a low amount of lumens so they are great for reading in bed. In fact, they aren’t bright enough to inhibit Melatonin production so you won’t have insomnia from nighttime reading.
Lastly but maybe the most important, eReaders use Adobe Digital Editions as the platform to deliver the digital material. It is how they get that soft look of the page and needs a special kind of screen to produce it. It only produces Greyscale images so no color anything. In other words, this device does one thing… mimic a book.
Tablets, computers and smartphones on the other hand are multi-media devices with LCD or LED screens. They are backlit screens capable of producing vivid images in color and with motion. Most of these devises use a Windows or Android based application and do much more than one thing.
The latest Kindle and NOOK devices are tablets, not eReaders. The distinction is very important because they may offer access to an eBook but do it in an entirely different way. Tablets have streaming and web browsing applications providing movies, music and web-surfing not available on an eReader.
Access and APPs
Proprietary devices such as Kindle and NOOK have a generous amount of WiFi connect-ability that first and foremost directs you to Amazon or Barnes & Noble for your materials. Nothing wrong with that, after all they are in business to make money and provide goods and services to consumers. Other devices like tablets, laptops and smartphones need to have Applications (APPs) loaded into them to access and view materials from online providers.
Blio and OverDrive for example use APPs to arrange delivery, storage and viewing of your materials. You access these them through a web browser, have an account of some type and use the application to view your materials. They do differ slightly from proprietary vendors in that they both offer materials for sale and are being used to build a larger collection for libraries. Amazon or Barnes & Noble can be used by libraries but it seems that they are best suited for pre-loading devices rather than maintaining a more tradition kind of service where the patron chooses titles and checks out.
There is a new page on the blog that will hopefully help with questions concerning making a choice and getting started called: A Guide to eReader Devices and how to Download and install free eReader software on your computer or mobile device.