What Is Your Ideal E-Reading Device?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

Most e-reading devices on the market are better suited to one function over another. When you dream of the perfect device, what is it?

By Edward Nawotka

iPad as ebook reader

Personally, I find reading a book on the iPad relatively uncomfortable — the screen’s too bright, the device too heavy — but it’s magical for magazines, interactive children’s books, and viewing photographs. I find it works better as a reader in apps that allow you to switch the text to “night reading mode,” which turns the background black and the text white. The Kindle, or any e-ink machine is my preferred device for reading straight text.

The Nook, the smaller format color Android tablet, has proven extremely popular for both it’s flexibility (you can hack its Android platform to make it fully functional) and low price. It is a lovely machine, but one that in my experience feels like a compromise. The screen is perfectly fine for reading book, provided you can manipulate the backlight to a comfortable setting. It’s too small for reading magazines in their original format, which is one of the reasons you can opt for an “article view” on the device — which provides a single column of text, albeit one that doesn’t take up the full screen real estate. And, despite B&N’s touting of a vast catalog of interactive children’s books, the images are cramped on the small screen leaving them looking…uninspiring.

Now that we’ve seen several iterations of devices hit the market, what is your experience as a user? Given a blank slate, what does your ideal reader look like?

Personally, I long for the day when flexible color e-ink screens allow me to fold up a page to any size, from broadsheet newspaper to paperback. Granted, this is wishful thinking. For the time being, I’d be delighted with a bezel-less iPad-sized reader, that offers dual e-ink and backlit color screen technology.

How about you?

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.