I love to read. For me, it’s a quality of life issue. If I couldn’t read, my life would be far less enjoyable and meaningful.
So when we first started talking about living in another country, I knew I had to find a way to feed my reading habit no matter where in the world I found myself.
At that time we had thousands of books in our house. Hardcovers, softcovers, fiction, nonfiction — they were everywhere. Bookshelves overflowed in every room except the kitchen and baths, and we had books in boxes in the garage and overhead storage.
I decided to switch to e-books.
This wasn’t easy for me, but I recognized that the load of physical books created an anchor that would keep me from other things I wanted to do with my life — like move to another country.
I took some baby steps to start.
First, I bought a used Palm Pilot for a small amount, just to use as an e-reader. I wanted to find out whether I could tolerate the electronic reading experience before dropping about $400 on a “real” e-reader. (Yes, that’s what they cost back then. . .)
The Palm Pilot experiment was a success, so I took the plunge and bought a Kindle.
I really like reading on my Kindle, and it’s been a great conversation starter on more than one occasion as people are always curious about it.
My daughter went the other direction and got herself a Nook, which she adores.
I have the Kindle and Nook apps on my computer, and the Kindle app on my smart phone as well. I’m never, ever without something to read.
Since I purchased my first-generation Kindle, they’ve changed a lot and prices have plummeted. You can now buy a good e-reader from Amazon for $79, and a few months ago they came out with their tablet version, the Kindle Fire for $199. There are several models in between as well.
How do you know which e-reader will suit you best?
- If you’ll be reading mostly books (not newspapers or magazines) for long periods of time (more than half an hour at a stretch), choose one of the e-ink Kindles. They’re much easier on the eyes.
- If you want to add to your e-library when you’re outside the US, choose the 3G version. That way you can still download books if you don’t have a wireless connection available.
- If you read mostly newspapers and magazines rather than books, choose the Kindle Fire.
- If you want to browse the internet or watch movies on the same device, choose the Kindle Fire
Barnes & Noble’s Nook
Nook, Barnes & Noble’s e-reader, is also available in a tablet version as well as the dedicated e-readers.
Another option for enjoying books without holding the physical product is to listen to them. “Books on tape” have been readily available for the past decade or so.
You can listen to them while you’re driving to work, exercising, or doing other things where reading isn’t possible.
Today’s version of the audiobook doesn’t require you to buy a tape, CD or other physical product. Instead, you download the file to your computer and then load it onto your iPod or other MP3 player.
Audible.com is probably the biggest player in the digital audiobooks arena. They claim you can enjoy their books on over 500 devices, and they have about 100,000 titles.
Right now, they’re offering some freebies. Try Audible Now and Get A FREE Audiobook! [aff]