Books and Reading: e-Book Readers

Kobo DevicesAristotle loves to read. Although it is hard to get him interested in new books, once he gets into a story he likes, he devours the entire series. Now that he gets through his books so quickly, it’s hard to keep up. Yesterday, I bought him Enid Blyton’s Magic Folk Collection and today he’s done with the book. For some time now, I’ve been thinking about getting him an e-book reader so it is easier to cart all his books around without killing myself in the process.

Although our iPad can also function as an e-reader, there are a number of reasons why I have not been keen for Aristotle to use it in that manner because:

  • the back lighting causes considerable eye strain which I don’t like since he can be reading up to several hours at a time. I wanted was an e-reader that reads similarly to a physical book so we could limit his cumulative screen time.
  • an iPad offers the temptation to play games rather than read.
  • no matter how light an iPad might be, it can never compare to the weight of a basic e-reader (which will also be lighter than many of Aristotle’s individual novels).
  • the iPad battery life is much shorter than a good e-reader.

Whenever anyone mentions an e-reader, the first one on the lips of most mouths is Kindle. I think Kindle is almost synonymous with the term e-reader in much the same way that most people usually ask for a Panadol when they really mean paracetamol. Kindle does offer a good range of e-readers with a variety of features to meet individual needs – budget, built-in light, 3G, and other accessories to for easy wireless e-reading. The only reason I’ve decided not to even consider Kindle is for two reasons:

  • my country is restricted from purchasing kindle books which is my biggest gripe right now.
  • Kindle doesn’t read ePub – the format that most of my e-books are in. Although you can convert ePub books so you can read them on Kindle, I confess that I am too lazy to do it since my current e-library is already quite substantial.

Although there are a considerable number of e-readers on the market right now, there are only two that we have been considering based on features we want, price, and availability to us:

The main advantage of each is the longer battery life for the Sony and the Kobo’s ability to read “mobi” files. The Kobo is marginally cheaper but everything else – size, weight, ePub readability and memory capability is about the same. The Kobo’s main advantage at this point is the fact that I already have an existing Kobo account with books on it.

For us, the key features we really wanted in an e-reader were:

  • light weight
  • long battery life
  • no back light and reads like a regular book

Kobo touchSony PRS T2

 

We felt that most of the other features than come in the more fancy e-readers were unnecessary since we already have an iPad. If we really wanted a device that did those things, I would get an iPad rather than a fancy e-reader.

Probably the best thing about reading digital books is that there are a lot of sites available offering free e-books. Here are some sites that we found with free e-books (we’ve gotten out books from some of these sites, too):

For a more comprehensive listing of websites with free ebook downloads, check out:

For e-Book shopping, there are:

There are other sites that sell e-books as well but I’ve not bothered to include them here because this part of the world is restricted from purchasing – something I find truly annoying. If you know of other sites that sell e-books that can be purchased if you are from South-East Asia, please let me know.

Update:

Had to bring this site to your attention because it offers 225 classic e-books that have been recommended and used in notable homeschooling curricula, such as Amblesideonline:

Yesterday’s Classics

For $49.95, you can order the books for Kindle or in ePub format. The books cover a variety of subjects and there is something for every child from age 4-18. They are listed by author, title, genre and level so you can easily find the books that are appropriate for your child’s level and caters to his interest.