4 reasons to buy an E-reader

2010-06-04 08:43
Tammy February
E-readers and E-books have been gaining quite a lot of traction over the last couple of months. Ever since the release of Amazon's Kindle (which has since been followed by many other E-readers - some of which are far better than the Kindle), the debate about whether or not E-books are better than printed books has become quite the topic of conversation.

As devoted book lovers, our hearts certainly lie with print-based books, but that's not to say that we don't see the value of the E-reader - because we do.

We were all given some fabulous E-readers to play with (more about e-reader devices next week), and we came to the conclusion that while we won't give up print, we do see some pretty obvious benefits to owning one.

Here are our top 4 reasons why we think E-readers are worth investing in.

1. E-readers are portable.

What I really like about E-readers is that it doesn't take up any room or travelling space. Many E-readers range from being pocket-size to being large enough to fit in your handbag. The bookkeen reader that I tested had a protective pouch that I could carry the reader in and was easily able to fit into my handbag.

In short, these E-readers allow you to carry a substantial amount of reading material (depending on book size and memory available) - thereby solving the problem of luggage weight and enabling you to carry more than 10 books at a time with you without any physical effort on your part.

2. Instantaneous availability.

 The great thing about E-books is that they're almost always instantly available for download. If you're ordering a traditional book online, you often have to wait for a period of almost 2 weeks in order to receive the book.

Also, if you're not a fan of trawling the mall and going to an actual book shop to buy books (Shockingly enough, there are people who don't like going to book shops), downloading E-books is the perfect way to go. It's ultimately a very convenient way to shop. Not to mention the fact that you're also more likely to receive a free e-book download than a free book.

3.  Durability.
It goes without saying that books are far more vulnerable to damage than E-books are, but I have to admit that I think this argument depends on how well the e-reader device is looked after and the device's shelf-life on the market. The major plus point here is that with E-readers, at least the pages or your books won't curl or tear and you certainly won't have to worry about breaking a book's spine.

4.  Multimedia Interactivity.

Anyone have a chance to check the iPad out yet? Even though it is strictly not an e-reader, it does have e-reading software, which will really knock your socks off. I think that if there is one huge argument for E-readers, then multimedia interactivity would be it - provided of course that E-readers follow suite and go this route.

For those who don't know, Penguin publishers have recently started experimenting with interactive books on the iPad and I was recently given the chance to read Alice in Wonderland on one. I was instantly smitten. The book made use of a number of animation techniques, audio (you can even record your voice reading books), video and colour - something which I thought pretty nifty and which, you can bet your bottom dollar, that your kids will also love.

Have any of you out there jumped on the e-reader bandwagon? And if you haven't - would you consider trying it? Share your thoughts on it the comment box below.

Oh, and while you're at it. Check out our latest giveaway. We're giving you the chance to win one of 2 E-readers courtesy of Kalahari.net. Click here to enter now.

Tammy February is women24's book club editor. She likes E-readers, but her heart still lies with a good-old fashioned paperback novel. You can follow her on twitter here.


  • Camilla Seifert - 2010-06-04 13:34

    Very interested in E-readers - and E-reading but where can I buy them in South Africa and what choices are there / delivery / prices, etc.. Thank you for any info. Best wishes Camilla

  • Marilie - 2010-06-04 14:01

    I would definitely consider trying it. Saw it a while back in a magazine and already then thought it would be nice to try.

  • Suki - 2010-06-04 14:14

    Although I was one of those who were violently against the idea of e-readers, I must admit I have changed my mind for the reasons outlined above. Only since January, though - when I got my smart phone and discovered an e-reader app. So far it only allows for classics, but I am seriously considering getting one that allows PDF and comic viewing. The fact that Wil Wheaton, uber-geek, uses a Kindle, also helped tip me over to the dark side, especially when he raved about using it on a flight instead of lugging heavy books around. Don't get me wrong, my first love will always be the printed page - especially in the bath! Can't have an electronic device near water - but I'll seriously consider a Kindle or an iPad now.

  • Tammy - 2010-06-04 14:29

    @Camilla - E-readers are available here. Kalahari.net (search in their electronics section and it should pop up) have some and you can go to wantitall.co.za as well.

  • Tammy - 2010-06-04 14:34

    @Camilla - part 2. Also, Amazon does ship to SA, but shipping is a bit pricey. Wantitall have Kindles - The price of which range from R3 000 - R 5 and a half thousand. Kalahari.net currently have the IRiver and the Cybook Gen 3 - both of which are below R 3 000.

  • Ryan - 2010-06-07 09:40

    Our Sony Centre store currently stocks two models of E-readers priced from R4295. We can be contacted on 011 684-2871/0

  • Shaina - 2010-06-07 10:25

    I bought my Kindle in March, ended up paying about R3200 for shipping, device, cover and screen protector. Also Kindle books are a lot cheaper than Kalahari and are wirelessly delivered to your device.
    I'm still reading paperbacks but I absolutely adore the functionality of my Kindle.

  • Lesley - 2010-06-07 10:41

    I recently ordered a Kindle from Amazon.com and it took less than a week to arrive.
    I paid about R 2500.00 inc delivery.
    I am totally in love with it. Books are also priced reasonably and are so easy to download. I totally recommend the Kindle.

  • Charly - 2010-06-07 10:50

    We ordered our kindles directly from Amazon. It was here in 5 days and cost R 2500 each. Tip: buy the covers or sleeves with the kindle to save you having to order it later and paying extra postage. There are thousands of options to choose from.
    Had the kindle for 6 months now and is still in love with it. We don’t have to take an extra suitcase on holiday anymore just for the books and reading is so much easier. Especially with the dictionary function where you can lookup any word or even wikipedia it. Would recommend it to every bookworm.

  • Jan - 2010-06-07 11:53

    Erm, the click 'here' to enter the competition link is not there... How am I supposed to enter the competition??

  • Tammy - 2010-06-07 12:10

    @Jan - Sorry about that. The link should display now!

  • IceMan - 2010-06-07 12:42

    I would still prefer a paperback, just the feel of reading a "book" not some electronic media, also what are the long term effect due to eye stain looking at a screen , be it LCD or whatever, it still has to reflect / project onto a screen thus having a flicker / refresh no matter how minute it is.
    I am on a PC / Laptop 10 hrs a day using the best screens , but still feel the stain at the end of the day

  • Annette - 2010-06-07 13:32

    e readers are also environmentally great as less trees will be chopped down for paper . would be also great if we can get our local news papers downloaded

  • Gary - 2010-06-07 15:20

    I have no problem with e readers. The only puzzling thing is the price of the e books. Surely they should be much much cheaper than a printed book. No printing or distribution costs.

  • Leervis - 2010-06-07 15:48

    Would love know which of the e-readers you consider better than the kindle? Have you tried a kimble?

  • Preshen Govender - 2010-06-07 15:57

    you also don't have to worry about people not returning your book also

  • Pieter - 2010-06-07 15:58

    No, because these e-reader allow access to your storage by the licence holders of the books your read. So even though my books are legal my security and privacy issues ensure that I stick to the old fashioned books.

  • Preshen Govender - 2010-06-07 16:05

    you can also read $ex book can you don't have to worry about hiding the cover

  • Old E-reader - 2010-06-07 16:27

    I'm surprised nobody's mentioned what I consider to be the greatest power of e-books - The ability to search.

    In my line of work (IT) I usually need to reference a book I've read before. I have a slew of PDFs, CHMs and word docs. I hardly have time to trawl through the indexes of the books that cover the topic I need to reference.

    I find for high volumes of reference books, it's best to have an app like google desktop handy. No more carrying 2Kg encycolpedia Brittanica indexes! :)

  • Dougie - 2010-06-07 16:47

    My wife and I are avid readers and we now both have kindles which were delivered within about 5 days of ordering from amazon. Fantastic screen - no more sore eyes - and love ordering online from the kindle and receiving your book within about 90 seconds!!! Use it at home, airports, on holidays, the beach - anywhere. Oh and Gary, e-books are generally a lot cheaper than hard copy.

  • Eric - 2010-06-07 17:32

    I've been using the Kindle since it was available outside the US in October last year. Since then I've read nearly 200 books! The e-books available (about 380,000 titles) are cheaper than the printed versions, and so easy to order/download. And since the Kindle uses e-paper instead of a computer screen, you don't suffer eyestrain like you would from reading on your laptop. The Kindle is definitely a good buy.

  • Zed - 2010-06-07 18:53

    My Question is Why is it soo Expensive???
    This machine is a joke!
    For the same price, ifnot cheaper , one can buy a Notebook or sometimes a Laptop with More features ?? Why Price this machine at such a high price if you want people to read? Highway robbery at its best and here we find suckers who actually fall for it!

  • Denise - 2010-06-07 22:10

    I have a windows mobile device (a Samsung Omnia) and use Mobipocket to read my eBooks. Mobipocket is free (their books aren't, but that is to be expected). The best thing is that one can also download the Mobipocket creator that changes whatever book you have purchased into a .pdb, which Mobipocket reads. I love it, and have so often almost overshot home as I read my eBook on the train!

  • Jan - 2010-06-08 00:02

    @Iceman: i think that debate about 'the feel of a book' will last as long as the film vs digital photo debate lasted... okay, maybe a little longer. ;)
    Question though - if you go to a book signing, can the authour sign your copy of their book on your kindle?

  • Sal - 2010-06-08 07:56

    I can't imagine a life without my Sony e-reader, it goes everywhere with me, it fits perfectly into my handbag. I always have a choice of books to read, especially when waiting around. I got mine from www.wantitall.co.za

  • Nolan Thomas - 2010-06-08 08:16

    I just got my kindle from take 2 and I am really happy with it. My reasons for getting the kindle are as follows: I think that it will benefit the environment, books are cheaper and on some sites are actually free, you have access to books in 60 seconds that would otherwise take up to a month to be imported and there is the issue of space. I have about 1,000 books and they take up an enormous amount of space. The kindle can store over 1,000 books on it.

  • Sam - 2010-06-08 08:18

    I have been buying/reading e-books for years. First on a HP PDA and then on a notebook. I definitely think a notebook is a better investment price wise as it is far more versatile and you can also shop around a lot more for your books as just about any type of reading software can be installed!! Price wise I have personally found Powells.com to be the cheapest source of e-books. The only problem I have come across is that you now have to check carefully whether books are downloadable to South Africa - a lot are now on special licenses that only allow download to certain countries. In that case you are forced to use local licenses and they still seem to be a lot more expensive (apart from not having anywhere near the same amount of titles available). I do tend to buy paper books from certain authors, but especially where I want to try someone new, an e-book is definitely a cheaper way of trying them out!!

  • TheGrem - 2010-06-08 11:51

    @Camilla, I bought my wife the Amazon Kindle and it is brilliant. My wife is aan avid reader and also a publisher. She rates the Kindle very highly. I landed hers with leather carrier and screen protector for R3250, so if you don't get the extras you will land it under R3000. It uses digital ink (I don't know about the others) so the battery lasts a hell of a lot longer. As for anything with a 'Normal' screen, as a computer professional, I would NOT recommend them as eye strain will be a huge problem. Anything that is backlit causes eye strain not matter what they say. So, for me, the iPAD would not be an option.

  • Gerald - 2010-06-08 12:37

    I've been reading E-books for years. Started reading on my laptop, which is obviously bulky, hot and really strains your eyes. About 2 years ago my wife got me a aztak (hanlin-v3) reader from the states, and I love it!
    Their displays are made from e-ink, which is as easy on your eyes as a real book. This is where the ipad falls short with its lcd display. This is also unfortunately why they are so expensive, since the technology is still new and propriatry. Prices are falling as popularity increases though.
    My advice to anyone buying, look at how many book formats are supported by the device, and beware of units that only read ebooks from a specific vendor

  • Victoria Emerton - 2010-06-08 15:16

    I got a Kindle for my birthday, the best gift I have ever got! you get instant downloads and the service from Amazon is fantastic without any extra's my Kindle was delivered for under R2500.00 the battery life is fantastic I could just go on and on

  • Nine - 2010-06-17 19:27

    I have bought myself a Sony PRS-600. It is unfortunate that these e-readers do not get sold by anyone locally. And I am absolutely happy with it. In comparison with the Kindle, the Sony is more robust, more expandable, and has a more intuitive use, due to it's touch screen. (The Kindle keyboard/joystick is is cumbersome.)
    As to readability: I use screeens the whole day as well, but can still sit with the e-ink display at night and read for hours. It is not an LCD, it is very similar to paper. I will not go into too many details on this, but I would suggest, if you know someone with an e-reader, give it a run!
    Downside to e-books: everyone, including kalahari.net rips you off with costs, as they want you to pay the same costs, if not more, as a paperback book.
    P.S. I am male, so apologies for the invasion. :)

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