Carry your library with you! Get an ebook reader

EBOOK readers are convenient. They range from basic models that can be connected to your computer to download the ebooks into it, to internet-enabled wireless models.

The latter can download ebooks and other information from the internet, and even be able to receive digital subscriptions to international newspapers.

 
Main features

Ebook readers are characterised by a large paper-like display which is easy on the eye for long term reading due to superior screen and ink technology over the ordinary computer screen.

A reader can carry hundreds of ebooks, practically your entire library assuming they all have ebook versions. They are also getting lighter, weighing about 400g ie about four average-sized apples! Weigh that against the library of physical books replaced :)

 
Models

Some like the internet-enabled Amazon Kindle can connect to Amazon Bookstore to buy and download ebooks. Sony, too has its own ebook reader with a proprietary format. In the US, Sony has now added a second ebook reader PRS-700 to its range. Available from end 2008 onwards, it costs about US$400, is the size of a "slimmed-down paperback book", weighs about 280g, has a touch panel and incorporates a reading light to its 6-inch display.

 
Market availability

Market availability-wise, a recent enquiry of Amazon returned a reply that the Amazon Kindle is only available in the US currently due to import/export laws and other restrictions.

Sony Customer Contact Center in Singapore revealed that Sony has no plans to make the Sony ebook reader available in this city state but it could be bought online.

Dutch company iRex, which co-produced Netherland's first e-newspaper earlier this year, makes ebook readers that can ostensibly be used anywhere. But yes, the price can cause one to hesitate, averaging US$500. This should hopefully drop as it catches on.

 
What to consider when getting one

For those of us who would like to try an ebook reader, maybe as a holiday gift for your tech-savvy child or even yourself (!), these are some of the aspects to consider before getting one.

1. Screen size
2. Touch screen with handwriting recognition software that allows notetaking and wacom tablet capability
3. Thickness, weight
4. Extended storage
5. Wireless and blue-tooth connectivity for easy purchase and download of digital content
6. Ebook formats
7. Preloaded ebook titles (you generally get a number of classics free!)

In addition, you might want to check screen resolution modes like colour and multi-level gray scale screen options. As ebook readers get better, more features and enhancements will become available.