These days I have lent my Kindle reader to my wife as she sometimes prefers to read while our daughter is playing in the park or when she’s waiting in the music school during our daughter’s class. So these days I’m reading Pompeii on my Samsung Galaxy tab. For two years I read books – including War and Peace by Tolstoy – on my tablet without encountering major problem.
They say that once you start reading books on a proper e-book reader like Kindle or Nook you totally understand why you don’t want to read books on usual tablets. I don’t have such extreme views maybe because I’m not brand or devise loyal. These days I’m reading on my tablet and I have no problem. It depends on your environment which device you prefer. I lent my Kindle (she strongly protested when I suggested that we should purchase another e-ink reader, maybe a Nook this time) to my wife so that she can read in the sun. I read in the evenings, in my well-lit room, whether I’m reading on Kindle or the tablet.
Reading under the sun’s glare can be a problem when you read from a tablet so that is ruled out with current display technology I think.
Prolonged exposure to the screen’s glare can pose a problem, but this can be countered if you sit in a properly-lit environment. For instance, avoid reading in the dark if you want to use your tablet in order to read long text. You can also go to the display settings and reduce the brightness of the screen. The Kindle software for Android (I’m sure this feature must also be available on other operating environments) allows you to reduce the brightness from within the software interface rather than reducing the brightness of the gadget itself.
There are many benefits of doing serious reading on your tablet such as more tweaking-features that are normally not available in the actual Kindle device. Compatibility with multiple file formats is a big plus – for reading in Kindle you need to convert every file to the appropriate format but since you can install multiple e-book reading applications in a tablet you can read multiple formats from multiple sources. You can use different fonts and even different page colors (a feature that is lacking in the reader). Then of course, you can see colors that you cannot see, at least at the moment, in a typical e-ink reader.
There are many benefits of reading from a dedicated e-book reader. Although it is not as near to reading a paper book but it is almost there. You can read under the sun and the Kindle reader that I have got can be backlit so you can also read in dark.
This is a problem of self-control and not the problem of the device, but when you’re reading on your tablet you have to encounter many distractions, especially when you also use your tablet as a phone like I do. You will get phone calls, you will get SMS messages, you will get Twitter and Facebook notifications and whatnot. Of course you can turn everything off but then turning everything off and on repeatedly becomes kind of a hassle so it’s best to use a dedicated device if you are a serious reader. Many people say that there is no eyestrain when you read from an e-book reader and there is lots of eyestrain when you use a tablet but then again, it is a problem of the environment and not particularly the gadget you are using.
So should you use a tablet or a dedicated e-book reader if you want to do some serious reading? I have got both and I have used my tablet for almost 2 years reading some great books, so I don’t have very strong biases. If you already have a tablet, whether it is an Android device or something like an iPad, and if it doesn’t strain your eyes, and if you read around one book in a month than your current device should do just fine. School and college books that may have lots of diagrams and images look far better on an iPad rather than on an e-ink display. People say that they can even read on their iPhones for that matter, and I do believe them. The screen resolutions of tablets and phones are improving remarkably and they can give you a great reading experience provided you are not using a cheap device which can harm your eyes irreparably if you do lots of reading.
Reading off a dedicated e-book reader like Kindle is an altogether different experience, so I won’t say don’t buy it if you’re planning to buy it. The text is as clear as reading from a printed paper and yes, there is no strain no matter what lighting condition you are reading under. The greatest advantage is you can read under the sun or in a bright environment. It is extremely light (at least the device that I have) so your wrist doesn’t hurt even with prolonged holding. There are no distractions. Various vendors are trying to introduce e-book readers with social features but I think this defeats the entire purpose and they may end up creating another version of tablets. They should keep electronic book readers as simple as possible while improving the existing experience of reading books.
When should you invest in a Kindle or a Nook or a Sony book reader? Mostly when you are planning to do lots of reading under various lighting environments, especially under the sun. You want to feel as if you’re reading an actual book devoid of all human as well as technological distractions. It’s just for reading books, and this is why I like it.