Reading the e-book way

With all the talk about e-books in the media, you would think that print reading is about to go extinct. A quick review of the e-book world, however, shows an idea just in its first stages of development and a long way from replacing the venerable book.

But, if you want to join the e-book revolution on its cutting edge, where should you start? Here is a quick review of the options to date:

The most obvious place to start reading e-books is on whatever PC you happen to have handy. There are literally hundreds of software titles available to read e-books, but the problem with e-reading on a PC is not the software, it’s the hardware. Most people find reading on a typical computer screen difficult because of the brightness and glare and the fact that sitting in one place can be very uncomfortable. Even reading on laptops has its disadvantages.

Graduating from the PC means buying a dedicated e-book reader for many people. There are dozens of them on the market now, but the most successful one to date has to be the Amazon Kindle. The limitation of the Kindle is that it is tied to Amazon, but the company is ahead of everyone else in the field, which means their technology works. Close on Amazon’s heals are new e-readers from Sony, Barnes and Noble, and rumors of readers from everyone from Google to Microsoft.

An alternative to a dedicated e-reader is something most people carry everyday: your mobile device, especially if that device is a smartphone. Most smartphones come with some sort of e-reader software installed, and if yours does not have one, there are quite a few companies willing to let you download one for free or for very cheap. The two big players in the mobile device e-reader category are MobiPocket and Plucker.

With all of the options available, it should be easy for anyone who wants to be an early adopter of e-books to find an option that works for them. Just be prepared for the technology to develop and change.


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