The Future of Reading?


According to recent statistics the digital juggernaut is continuing to outpace traditional media. Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, announced a staggering 71% rise in e-book sales for 2012 and PricewaterhouseCoopers expects consumer ebooks to overtake printed in the US by 2017. Supermarkets such as Tesco also relied heavily upon sales of kindles and tablet devices over the Christmas period in 2012. The time is then ripe to ask what device offers the best reading experience.


The screen is the hallmark of a reading device. Improvements to smartphone and tablet displays are coming hard and fast, with the resolution capability of Google’s Nexus 10 leading the pack at 2560 x 1600 pixels. However, Nexus, as with iPad and iPhone, struggles in bright light. The glossy screens pick up annoying glare making outdoor reading virtually impossible. This is where Amazon’s dedicated eReader, Kindle Paperwhite comes to the fore; its matt anti-glare screen is front-lit with 24 levels of brightness, for sunlight and absolute darkness. For long text-heavy epubs this device ticks all the boxes. The catch is the lack of colour; glossy magazines, rich illustrations and news articles all suffer from the limitations of old-fashioned black-on-white.


Tablets, particularly Nexus and iPad, are streamlined around image-rich news and social media. But the whopping resolution figures, storage spaces and function speeds take their toll with notoriously short battery life, even at minimum functionality. Apple is the best of a bad bunch with the iPad 4’s 11-hour life; Amazon’s own tablet, Kindle Fire, can only manage 9. The Kindle Paperwhite, however, boasts “a single charge lasts up to eight weeks, based on half an hour of reading per day” – although of course some of us will use it for longer periods! At the size and weight of a traditional paperback it is also two-thirds lighter than the leading tablets.


Price, unfortunately, is always a key issue. This ultimately depends on your finances and needs. Splash out on the iPad 4 at around £399 and you’ll get mouthwatering aesthetics, high-resolution and the backdrop of the whole suite of Mac facilities. But if you are just greedy for more than one book, Kindle offers a more authentic reading experiencefor around £109. Why not throw in a new laptop or a Kindle Fire tablet? You’ll still have change to spare.

Written by Jennifer Viloria

Photograph by Kodomut/Flickr

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