Yesterday for most of the hour between 9pm-10pm I discussed eBooks and Futuristic Libraries on the ABC Local Radio NSW/ACT Evening show with Dominic Knight. I was invited to be a guest on the show because of my unique position: being simultanously a technology journalist creating content for national media outlets such as the ABC and News Ltd as well as nearly 5 years experience as a casual Librarian at the University of Technology Sydney.
Below is an excerpt from my article on the ABC Technology & Games website eBook readers: Kindle Paperwhite versus Kobo Glo:
eReaders with eInk screens might have stabilised just north of $100 but the technology has not been standing still. I’ve been using the latest generation Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and Kobo Glo during recent overseas trips and while commuting to see how well they work.
The new built-in screen lights solve the problem of reading in the dark and dimly-lit places (like planes) while higher screen resolutions increase display crispness. The faster 1GHz processors make everything feel snappier.
‘Affordable’ tablets like the iPad Mini and Google Nexus 7 are great gadgets but they have limited battery lives whereas dedicated eReaders last for many weeks if the wireless and the light are turned off. With their lights on at a low level the Glo and Paperwhite batteries still last for a respectable 60-70 hours.
Tablets’ LCD displays are back-lit and so light shines direct into your face which can get wearying. However, the Paperwhite and Glo have lights which, from the front, shine down onto the device making the reading experience more comfortable. Nevertheless, the smaller tablets are more affordable and easier to hold than the initial Apple iPad so they are likely to be stealing some marketshare from eInk eReaders.
According to several industry analysts, the sales of eInk eReaders has plateaued and may fall soon as people who own one already are not upgrading to newer models unless their existing one breaks. This is backed up by anecdotal evidence from seeing ebook readers “in the wild” on Sydney public transport – most are at least one or two generations behind.
In terms of software, both the Glo and Paperwhite are easy to use and have smartphone and tablet apps that sync with them so that you can continue reading your books on other devices if you leave your eReader at home
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