Buying your first e-reader? What you should know before making the switch

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Buying your first e-reader? What you should know before making the switch
Shifting from paperback to e-books? This guide will welcome you to your new reading era!

MANILA, Philippines – Many people, like myself, have hesitated to invest in e-readers. Not only are they more expensive than traditional paperback books, but it is also hard to give up the tactile experience of sniffing the pages, dog-earing them, and writing annotations on them.

Like me not long ago, you might be uncertain about transitioning to e-books. How much will it alter your reading experience? Or will e-readers revolutionize how you read?

You never know until you try! The big switch could be an exciting experience, so this guide is here to assist you. Let’s dive into the world of e-readers.

Why switch to e-readers?

With e-readers, you can carry hundreds of books in a single device, making it easy to switch between your favorite titles anytime. Whether you’re in the mood for a thrilling mystery, a heartwarming romance, or an insightful non-fiction piece, your reading library is just a touch away.

Another perk is customization, as e-readers allow you to adjust the font size, style, margins, and screen brightness to suit your reading preferences and conditions.

Instant access is another advantage. Instead of buying at a bookstore or waiting for online delivery, you can download a new book instantly with just a few taps (and many times, at a cheaper price).

By opting for e-books instead of printed copies, you also reduce paper consumption and minimize the environmental impact of book production and transportation.

E-readers can further enhance your reading experience with interactive features like note-taking, highlighting, and built-in dictionaries. These tools can help deepen your understanding of the text and make studying and referencing easier.

Tips on choosing a model

Opt for a model with a high-resolution screen for enhanced clarity. E-readers with high-resolution screens boast sharp, clear text that closely mimics the crispness of printed pages. This is quantified in pixels per inch (PPI), with higher numbers ensuring sharper text and more detailed images. This feature proves to be invaluable during extended reading sessions, minimizing eye strain and enhancing readability, particularly for intricate illustrations or small font sizes commonly found in e-books.

Prioritize extended battery life for uninterrupted reading. An ideal e-reader has battery longevity – they only need a few hours to fully charge, and can last up to weeks. Devices with robust battery life can sustain hours of reading on a single charge, making them perfect companions for long flights or remote travel. E-ink technology significantly contributes to power efficiency and prolongs battery life.

Consider storage capacity for maximum reading. When selecting an e-reader, good storage capacity is important to accommodate diverse titles and collections. Popular models like the Amazon Kindle offer ample storage options, such as 8GB, which can house approximately 6,000 books.

Some specific models facilitate expandable storage through micro SD cards, so you can store large volumes of e-books, magazines, and other documents without having to delete them regularly.

If you like reading by the beach or pool, consider a water-resistant design for added durability and peace of mind. Devices featuring IPX or ingress protection ratings are designed to endure getting submerged in water up to a designated depth, safeguarding against accidental splashes or exposure to rain. This durability not only extends the usability of the e-reader in diverse environments but also enhances its versatility, protecting it from potential damage in outdoor settings.

Kindle vs. Kobo

One question divides e-reading bibliophiles: Kindle or Kobo? Here’s a detailed look at some noteworthy options across their different models.

Kindle Basic E-Reader 2022

If you have a limited budget, the Kindle Basic E-Reader 2022 provides a comfortable reading experience despite its more economical price. Featuring a 6-inch glare-free display with 167 PPI, it ensures text remains crisp and clear, complemented by an adjustable front light for reading in various lighting conditions. While lacking water-resistant features and audiobook support, it provides storage choices of 8 GB or 32 GB and is available in Black and Denim Blue color variants. 

The Kindle Basic E-Reader 2022 is priced at around P5,800 to P6,000 in the Philippines. Prices can vary among sellers or online platforms. You can get it online via Amazon, Shopee, or Lazada

Kindle Paperwhite 2021 

Stepping up in features, the Kindle Paperwhite 2021 boasts a 6.8-inch high-resolution display at 300 PPI, delivering sharp text and enhanced readability. Its standout feature includes waterproofing, making it ideal for worry-free reading by the pool or bath.

It also features an adjustable warm light for comfortable reading in any lighting scenario and supports audio integration. Available in Black, Denim Blue, and Agave Green colors, it offers 16 GB of storage to accommodate a vast library of books and audiobooks.

The Kindle Paperwhite 2021 generally costs between P8,000 to P10,000.

Kobo Clara Colour 2024 

A new contender in the e-reader market, the Kobo Clara Colour 2024 introduces a vibrant 6-inch color e-ink display, marking a significant advancement for readers seeking richer visual experiences. Boasting sharp text and vivid colors, it incorporates ComfortLight Pro with adjustable front lighting, reducing blue light exposure for comfortable reading at all hours. Available with 16 GB of storage, it caters to readers with a huge digital library.

The Kobo Clara Colour 2024 is priced around P10,000 to P12,000, depending on the retailer. You can purchase it online from platforms like Amazon and directly from Kobo’s official website.

Kobo Libra Colour 2024 

The Kobo Libra Colour 2024 features a 7-inch Kaleido display, delivering vibrant colors and sharp text for an immersive reading experience. Designed with waterproof capabilities and physical page turn buttons, it combines durability with user-friendly functionality. Compatible with the Kobo Stylus 2 for journaling and annotating, it also offers 32 GB of storage.

The Kobo Libra Colour 2024 typically costs around P10,000 to P14,000.

Choosing my first e-reader was a challenging decision. Initially, I was drawn to the Kindle Paperwhite because of its warm light feature; however, its larger size reminded me too much of studying PDFs on my iPad, making me feel stressed rather than relaxed. I prefer a smaller, more compact device.

I finally decided to get the Kobo Clara Colour 2024. Transferring e-book files has been a breeze with its USB-C cable, making it easy to move files from my laptop to the device. The compact size is perfect and meets all my needs. The color display is a game-changer; I love seeing my book covers in full color, and the ability to highlight text in different colors adds vibrancy to my reading experience. It has truly added color to my once monochrome life. – Kila Orozco/

Kila Orozco is a Rappler intern.

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