eBook Reader: a library in your pocket
What is the first thing that comes to mind when talking about eBooks?
The image that immediately appears in people’s minds is the reading medium, that rectangular device that we have come to know from the shelves of electronic shops, from the Internet or from the windows of some chain bookshops.
But how many people physically own an eBook Reader?
First of all, a preamble. Not everyone who reads ‘digitally’ does so with a dedicated reader. Thanks to the versatility of smartphones and tablets and thanks to app synchronisations, reading eBooks has become cross-platform and can easily switch from one device to another.
Is it therefore worth buying another device just for reading? Our answer is: definitely yes.
How eBook readers work
Unlike the backlit displays of smartphones and tablets (but also of PCs), the displays of eBook Readers consist of ‘electronic ink’ (e-ink). It is a special technology that imitates the appearance of printed paper. The screen of eBook Readers consists of two thin layers of transparent plastic containing several thousand microcapsules of less than half a millimetre. Each of these microcapsules contains a clear liquid, in which white, positively charged and black, negatively charged particles are immersed. When a positive or negative electric field is created, the corresponding particles move, making the surface white or black at the selected point.
This technology brings two major advantages. The first is that a backlight is not required to see what appears on the screen (unlike our everyday devices). The eye does not get fatigued and get the feeling of looking at something ‘analogue’, like printed paper. The second is that the display, when the electric field is not activated, does not consume battery power. The time between recharging is therefore very long, as the battery is not used during stand-by times.
These two peculiarities make the eBook Reader a very suitable tool for reading in any situation, whether lying down or sitting, perhaps on a means of transport such as a train. The large storage capacity (thousands of eBooks can be stored), lightness and compactness make it easy to transport in all conditions, without fear of carrying ‘something too much’.
The evolution of eBook readers
eBook Readers have changed a lot over the years. Although aesthetically they look similar, they conceal considerable differences from past models.
Storage space has increased, allowing more eBooks to be stored. The quality and resolution of electronic ink displays has sometimes even ‘surpassed’ the quality of printed paper. The backlight, which was not present in the first models, is now perfectly calibrated and allows easy reading even in completely dark areas, without straining the eyesight. There are also colour eBook Readers on the market, which make it possible to take advantage of the wide range of digital comics that have now invaded the market.
The leading eBook readers on the market
Without making a long list of which is the best eBook Reader currently on sale, we will just highlight the main ones on the market.
Amazon, of course, leads the way with its Kindle, available in several variants. It starts with the basic version and goes through the ‘intermediate’ variant of the Paperwhite (and its ‘deluxe’ version, the Paperwhite Signature Edition) to the most expensive one, the Oasis. Unfortunately, Amazon restricts the reading formats of its Kindle to those on its purchase store (MOBI), which is in any case one of the richest on the market.
Then there is Kobo, whose device was launched in Italy by Mondadori (you will find it in bookshops). Kobo has very well-maintained eBook Reader and the advantage, compared to Amazon, is that you can download eBooks in ePub format. There are different versions to choose from.
The basic KoboNia, the intermediate Kobo Libra 2 and the ‘premium’ readers, such as Kobo Forma or the brand new Kobo Sage. The Kobo Elipsa, which comes in a package with a stylus and case, where you can also take notes by hand, deserves a special mention.
There are several other models, but in most cases it is these two brands that you will find most often online or in shops. The choice always starts from the reader’s needs.
The situation in Italy and La Novella Orchidea
Even the Italian publishing market finally seems to have grasped the potential of eBooks, making a large number of Italian-language titles available. These range from the great classics to the latest publications, which are always available in both print and digital form.
Our series La Novella Orchidea was created with the intention of providing exclusively digital content to its readers. Our eBooks are available in all major online stores (such as Amazon and Kobo) in various formats. You don’t have to worry about having the right reader! And if you like comics, you can find a whole section dedicated to them (both in black and white and in colour).
What is better?
But are eBook Readers better than a good old book? We have deliberately left this thought for last, as it is not our intention to draw up a ranking of ‘what is better’. The truth is, as always, extremely subjective and responds to a number of specific user needs.
A few examples? If you are an avid reader, like to always have the latest news at hand, devour books in your spare time and perhaps do not have much space available, the eBook Reader is the best solution. It could also be a mere economic choice: eBooks are often found at a reduced price compared to the paper version.
If, on the other hand, you are a reader who also attaches importance to the ‘materiality’ of the book, loves turning pages, takes your time and prefers to cultivate your paper library, then the classic book will always be a first choice.
But we see no reason why the two should not go hand in hand. It is nice to have a large paper library at home, but no one forbids you from also having an eBook Reader with all the readings ‘of the moment’ stuffed in your suitcase or bag.
The paths of literature are endless: why not those of reading?