Excerpt from 7 Reasons Why eReaders Make Great Gifts This Year from PC Magazine:
- Form Follows Function
…Currently, Amazon’s Kindle is the apex of the design imperative for e-readers. In fact, I’m not sure Barnes & Noble’s Nook will outdo it, even with that nifty energy-sucking LCD color screen (which, of course, has nothing to do with the act of reading). The current crop of e-readers fromAmazon, Sony, and others are thin, easy to hold, and, especially in Sony’s case, exceptionally easy to use. All e-readers should have a touch screen that recognizes sweeping a finger across the screen as the gesture for ‘turn the page.’ Let’s also not forget how thin most e-readers are. The Kindle is thinner than a book, much thinner than three books and two magazines, and sits comfortably in your pocketbook, backpack or hand. I don’t think we could say the same of a laptop or tablet.
- There is No better Way to Travel with All of Your Reading Material
Most e-books hold 1,500 books in their flash memory. The typical reader will travel with three or four tomes of varying sizes. You can also, as I have, move magazine subscriptions to the platform. Recently, I started getting my New Yorker on the Kindle. The reading experience is, to be honest, different and a little weird. I no longer have the interstitial experience of seeing cartoons sandwiched inside a massive article on the coup in Honduras. All the cartoons are in a section at the end of the digital magazine. On the other hand, when a magazine of this density arrives every week, it’s impossible to keep up. I have been known to travel across the country with no fewer than five issues in my backpack. With my Kindle, those days are over. I could keep a dozen issues on the device and never feel the weight.
- Access to the Digital e-book Store is Free, No Matter Where You Are and Books are Cheaper, Too
It’s true, there are no discounts or subsidies when you by an ereader from Amazon or Sony. But Amazon’s 3G Whispernet cellular service is 100-percent free. I can peruse the Amazon bookstore from wherever I am and even do a little web browsing (though the browser is awful) if I want, and I never pay a thing. This also means that when my latest New York Times or New Yorker is available, I don’t have to look for an open Wi-Fi network or hook up to my PC. I just turn on the free connection and download. Many of the books are cheaper than their physical counterparts and magazine subscriptions can be cheaper, too.
- E-books are the Best Way to Read the Old-Fashioned Way
I know a lot of people who stare at a computer screen all day and complain of about eyestrain. E-ink, a technology that’s significantly different than LCD display technology, is fixed (no refresh), reflective (like paper), and it doesn’t introduce eyestrain unless you need new glasses or are reading without enough light. I can read on my Kindle for hours and never feel anything but delight. Yes, I have tried Kindle for the PC and reading e-books on iPhones. Both experiences were somewhat less satisfying. In fact, the iPhone was, for me at least, a total bust: The screen is just too small for reading a lengthy novel.
- E-books Are for Sharing
Yes, it’s true, DRM constraints make it impossible for me to share my Kindle books with someone who owns a Nook (Oh, wait, no one does yet) or even someone with a Sony eReader. That’s not great. On the other hand, if I buy everyone in my family a Kindle and then give Kindles as gifts to my relatives over the next few years, we can share books. The reality is that I almost never share books with anyone…
- Lots of People Still Want e-books
Mr. Elgan says everyone who wants an e-reader already has one. That would make sense if Barnes & Noble hadn’t just sold out of a device that it can’t even deliver in time for Christmas, and Amazon’s Kindle hadn’t just broken a sales record…
- E-reader Technology is Still Cutting Edge
2010 may be the year of the tablet, but no one really knows what the age of tablet will mean for consumers. Are tablets the upgrade to e-readers or, because they’ll use LCD technology, be heavier and probably a lot more expensive, will they be something completely different? Plus, with the sudden demise of Michael Arrington’s CrunchPad, the future probably just got brighter for the e-reader market, didn’t it?…”