Ebooks and ebook readers are becoming increasingly popular these days, so much that only very few books or magazines are published without consideration for an ebook format version.
Ebook readers come on different software platforms and devices. Many come in form of dedicated devices like Amazon’s KINDLE and Barnes & Nobles (B&N)’s NOOK. These happen to be the major players. Many also come in form of softwares ported for PCs and devices like smartphones, ipad, iphones,etc.
Ebooks files come in a lot of formats. Many of us are familiar with Adobe’s PDF, Microsoft’s DOC and maybe RTF formats. There are an awful lot more than these with some of them being proprietary like the AZW format for the kindle and Zinio’s ZNO. For a better understanding of this, check out this write-up on Wikipaedia.
A number of companies offer top rate magazines and books for download on PCs. I can not say for sure how Zinio compares to its peers but I’ve actively subscribed to their services for about 3 yrs and it has been a satisfactory experience. However, companies like Amazon and B&N offer similar services and probably have a larger array of books to offer.
For a number of reasons, i have not really been a strong fan of PC based ereaders;
– Reading from a PC for prolonged period causes eye strain mainly due to its backlight (applies to smartphones too).
– Your PC is not exactly very mobile.
Recently, i went shopping for an ebook reader for myself but like with a lot of people, making a choice could be a little confusing and difficult. I finally settled for ECTACO’s JETBOOK LITE based on the following considerations;
– It was about the cheapest when i got it for about $129.99.The darn thing fell to $99.99 about 3 months later!
– It supports the widest file formats, about twelve.
– It does not have any proprietary restrictions. I could even install some other 3rd party firmwares. Dare you to try that with a Kindle!
– Easy access to ebooks.
A note of warning, most ebook readers support the Pdf format but due to screen limitations, they are not rendered well on screen. There will be some inconveniences reading such files except you can settle for bigger screen but less portable readers like the Kindle DX. You may, however, decide to convert the PDF files to other formats using software converters like Calibre.
There is a price war going on at the moment, the prices are fallen drastically and i dare say this is the best time to pick up one of these gadgets, it sure beats stacking up all those hard cover novels. At the moment, i have well over 2000 books on my ereader. How many i have read is another story…
Some people still have reservations about ebook readers in general but one thing i can say for sure is that it has indeed revived my book reading habits!
PS: You may have issues purchasing books online in Nigeria with your credit cards for obvious reasons. B&N does not allow Nigerian cards at all, while Amazon may. Just try your luck. There are tons of sites where ebooks can be bought and probably more where you can get them for free.