E-Reader, also called E-book reader, E Ink, ePaper. It is a device designed for long-time reading. There are plenty of brands on the market, including Readmoo from Taiwan, Kindle from Amazon, Kobo from Rakuten, Likebook and Onyx from China. I use a Kobo E-Reader, so I will take Kobo for examples. However, these features are the same on most E-Reader.
This article will introduce the features, pros and cons of E-Reader, without model recommendation. If you want to read it , please link to another article Tips To Choose An Ereader.
Why I Choose Kobo
When I considered to buy an E-Reader, it was hard to find information and review of Likebook and Onyx. As a result, I removed these two options. And Readmoo, Kobo and Kindle, which one is suitable for you? It depends on the languages you prefer to read.
In my situation, I bought books in Traditional Chinese the most, and some English books for practicing English. Therefore, I hope to pick a platform with Chinese and English works.
The slogan of Readmoo is the “Largest E-Pub Platform In Traditional Chinese Market”. Exactly, most books on it are all in Traditional Chinese. Delete this option.
Kindle has a super rich backing and users around the world, so most books on it are in English. Some popular Chinese books are not available. Delete this option.
Finally, I select a neutral one, Kobo.
There is a point I should mention. My main requirement is “Buy Books From The Platform”, but if you want to download EPub file from the internet, you will consider it in other ways. In my opinion, the price of books are not really expensive, so I hope you can buy it rather than downloading a pirate version.
Let’s start to learn the advantages and disadvantages of E-Reader.
Advantage 1. Protect Eyes
Health is the most important thing whatever how many books you read. E-Reader is more harmless than screen of cell phone and tabled. The latter called LCD screen which mix red, green, blue light to display colorful content. On the contrary, E-Ink screen doesn’t have a illuminating backlight. It relies on ambient light, similar with real books. This is the reason that it can reduce the harm to our eyes. (Some E-Readers have built-in screen light, so you can read in a dark environment. Usually, you can turn this feature off by your self.)
Although you can read the same content on computer, tablet and cell phone, there is a significant difference on comfort. In this video, you can see the the display effects of E-Reader.
Many people asked me, “Don’t you feel tired to read suck a long time on that device ?”
I always answered, “Take it and try it”.
After a while, they would exclaim, “Cool. It’s like a toy”.
What if we compare E-Readers with real books? I didn’t search any evidence to support, but I believe real books better. It really makes sense. However, there is another advantage on E-Readers, adjusted layout.
Advantage 2. Adjusted layout
Reading in a close distance makes many people have nearsightedness. In some cases, we read nearer and nearer unconsciously because of the small fonts. Especially some old books with tight layouts.
E-Reader has several powerful features :
- Adjusted font size
- Adjusted line height
- Adjusted font type：it depends on settings of each brand. Buy I think built-in fonts working fine.
In my opinion, adjusted layout is an awesome function to protect eyes.
I am nearsighted with 4.0 diopters and astigmatic with 1.0 diopters. When using my E-Reader, I would increase the font size and read in a long distance without glasses to train my crystalline lens.
Besides, most people lower their heads when reading. Staying the same pose for a long time will cause pains to your neck our shoulders. As sick as me, I bought a music stand to stand and read, preventing to lower my head. Or you can use tablet stand.
You may ask, “Isn’t is inconvenient to flip page when standing and reading?” Lazy people invented a gadget called Wireless Page Turning . It seems not so popular, and I never use it either. But it is really cool.
Advantage 3. You Won’t Wait For Delivery Anymore
In two cases, you can’t wait anymore to get your new books. First, you need it right now for work. Secondly, you want to read the book immediately. Needs and Wants motivate evolution. E-Reader makes you progress in a astonishing speed.
For career, I believe the words without hesitation. Perhaps we are not the most brilliant or the outstanding ones, but we can buy new books soon to acquire knowledge after hearing a new concept. And your colleagues? He is going to pick up his package after work.
If You Are A Mood Reader
One day, I enjoyed my holiday with brunch and coffee. Suddenly, I had a spur-of-the-moment idea, “It is a good time to read poem”. I picked a poetry on my cell phone, then connect the E-Reader to the hotspot of cell phone to download. This process was done within 5 minutes. Such a beautiful day.
Sometimes, we get tired soon when reading a book that is not easy to understand, like〈Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger〉. And you want to read a novel next. Without E-Readers, it is nearly impossible to change a book at will, which means you should carry them all in your backpack.
E-Readers represents a new lifestyle. Especially for people who need to spend a long time on transportations, with an E-Reader, the train is movable coffee shop.
Advantage 4. Save Notes And Highlights To Clouds
If you are an user of Online Note Software, Evernote, OneNote or Google Keep, for example, you must experience the awesome convenience. It also works on E-Readers.
We all had similar experiences, like refreshing and upgrading our brain after reading some books. Of course, we wrote down plenty of notes on almost every page. At that time, we believed we could bring them forever, reviewing when we need or we want. It turned out as a fantasy if you didn’t digitize them.
Upload to cloud, retrieve anytime, anywhere. Best of all, you can search in notes after digitalization. All bookish people know this is very important.
Sync Notes On App
Take Kobo for example again. It released app for both Android and iOS which can sync all notes and highlights. There is one thing to I noticed. When I installed app on my Android phone, I could only download books, not syncing notes instantly. At first, I thought it was a system issue, but everything worked fine in the next day. I guess it caused because system couldn’t transfer bulk data soon.
Although E-Readers are greats gadgets, limited with the hardware performance, it’s sometimes stuck when you check notes or turn pages frequently. Consequently, I prefer to check my notes on cell phone when writing book reviews.
Advantage 5. No Pain To Move
If you buy books often, it is really normal to have tens, even over hundred books on your bookshelf. However, it also means infinite pains when you are trying to move to a new house.
Advantage 7. Eliminate The Knowledge Gap
If you are an ambitious learner, I believe you must resonate with this point.
In some countries, like Taiwan where I live, it is said there is a knowledge gap around ten years between advanced countries. At first, I don’t believe it. I trust there is a knowledge gap, but not so large. Ten years is equal to the difference between graduates from university and elementary school. No kidding !
If you don’t believe like me, I bet you will open your browser, then pick a translated book in your native language. For example, the best-selling book Deep Learning Ability of 2019 in Taiwan. The gap between English and Traditional Chinese edition is 13 years. And Ask first, why?, the gap is 8 years. Even for fast-updated books, like computer and technology, the five-year gap between the Chinese and English editions is common.
If you want to buy an original book in your country, apart from the expensive price, you must to wait for a long time. Some non-popular books may not be in stock, so it will take longer. If you buy from Amazon, then delivery to other country, the shipment fee may be more expensive than the book, and it still take a long time to deliver, even until you forget it. In that case, e-book is a perfect solution to make up for the information gap. But some people will ask, is it necessary to have good English to read the original version of book? In fact, reading the original book is not as terrible as expected, and the level of English is the basic requirement of competitiveness, is it?
To give another example, Dan Brown’s new book Origin. When I noticed this book in early 2018, there was no translated edition in Chinese, but the original version was already on the market in 2017, so I bought the original version. It was about May 2018 when I finished reading it, and the Chinese version was just been published.
Advantage 8. Cheaper Than Print Books
According to my experience, ebooks are cheaper than print books, but the price difference will not be too much.
I guess the reason is that publishers are also afraid of the collapse of physical book sales. For the book Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, the price of physical book on books.com is 253 NTD for 79% off, and the e-book is 197 NTD; on the other website TAAZE, the physical book is 253 NTD for 79% off, and the e-book is 224 NTD for 30% off; and the e-book on Kobo is also 224 NTD.
In many people’s minds, the price of the original book will be more expensive than the translated version. This is a fact, and the same is true in e-books, but occasionally you can find the opposite example in the e-book market, such as the Dollars and Sense in the picture below. The price of Traditional Chinese edition is 287 NTD, and the English edition is 243 NTD. If you feel free to read a English book, or if you want to improve English through reading, this is a good choice.
Advantage 9. More Discounts
Although we don’t have any evidence, we can reasonably speculate that the cost of e-books must be much lower than physical books. Because e-books only sell the right to use, no paper costs, no shipping fee, and no Inventory costs.
Are these important? Sure, because it means that the e-book seller has much more profit margins that can be used for promotional campaign. Let’s take Kobo as an example again.
First of all, you can take a look at Kobo’s fan page. Many posts on it are about promotional campaign, including new book promotions, holiday promotions, special holiday promotions, 20% off, 40% off, 50% off, or 3X points, 5X points, 10X points. If you save a lot of books in your wishlist like me, you can save considerable money when you place an order during a promotion, but you may also spend considerable money accidentally.
Kobo usually have a promotion from Friday to Sunday. In the past, the most common promotion type is to buy 666 NTD and get 222 points. Sometimes there will be a 25% discount. Just a little calculation, of course, the former is cheaper! However, as the e-book market has matured and consumer habits have also developed, Kobo has obviously begun to reduce the discount. Recently, the most common promotion is to buy 555 NTD to get 111 points, or 15% off, 12% off.
It is worth noting that Kobo’s points and Rakuten market are common, and each point can be used as one dollar in cash. But it seems the loyalty program policy is different in each country, you can check it on Kobo website. The good news is that the point is regard as money, so if you redeem points to buy a book, you can still get additional points in return.
I want to remind you that the discount code published on Kobo fan page must be entered manually at the checkout page to get the discount. The picture below shows the one-day flash 50% off event on February 1, 2019.
This is the checkout screen when I placed an order on the day of the 50% discount. I bought three books in total, the original price was 477 NTD, and the discount was 238 NT.
Advantage 10. Borrow Books From Rakuten Overview For Free
If cheap books have already caught your heart, the free borrowing function should let you place your order right away. Many public libraries and college libraries are now pushing e-book borrowing services, including e-books suitable for readers. Kobo borrowed books from the library through Rakuten Overview, but this service depends on your country.
It must be noted that if you have an older e-reader, you will not be able to use this function even if you update the software to the latest version. The official instructions are as follows:
With a Kobo Forma, Aura ONE, Aura H2O Edition 2, Aura Edition 2, or Clara HD, you can borrow and read ebooks directly on the device. These ereaders work differently than older Kobo devices or ereaders from other manufacturers.OverDrive Help
Advantage 11. Dictionary
Kobo E-Reader has built-in dictionary. It’s really helpful when you read an original book.
10) Reading Records
11) New Audiobook Feature
Disadvantages 1. A Little Expensive
Kobo’s entry-level 6-inch reader Nia is priced at about 3000 NTD. Although it is not too expensive, it is still a bit hesitant for people who do not use it frequently.
Disadvantages 2. Some E-Books Are Fixed Layout
As I mentioned earlier, one of the advantages of e-books is the reflowable layout, but not all e-books can. For example, some older books or books with more pictures are just a fixed-layout like PDF. You can’t search, draw lines, take notes, either modify the layout. Especially when the screen of your reader is not so large, it is very painful to read books with a fixed layout. I bought a few books in the fixed layout accidently, and I never opened them again. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to preview the book before buying it to make sure it is an upright e-book to avoid tragedy.
Disadvantages 3. Functions Are Not Complete Yet
Some functions are not complete, or not so easy to use . For example, when you buy a book on an e-reader, you can only purchase a single book. You cannot add multiple books to the shopping cart at once. It is really inconvenient during sales.
Another example is about keyboard. I prefer to set my interface language as English, but sometimes I want to take note in Chinese. This feature is unavailable currently. You can only type English with English interface, and type Chinese in Chinese interface.