E-Readers. Love them or hate them, they’re here to stay. With 191 million devices sold in the USA alone during 2020, they’re extremely popular1. So why the popularity?
There’s a lot to like about them.
Of these e-readers, there’s currently a clear market leader in Amazon which has just over 70% of all e-readers sales. Whereas the next biggest seller is Barnes & Noble’s Nook taking up just 10%. It’s probably one of the reasons why I’ve bought into the Kindle brand.
I love tech and an e-reader is probably the most techie thing a book lover can buy. Not only is Amazon the biggest seller of e-readers, but it also has the largest selection of books available for use on them. They’re constantly upgrading their technology to make sure that their machines are the best. Not only that, but they also have the Kindle App so that you don’t even need an e-reader, you can use your tablet or even your phone to read.
I’ve tried using the Kindle App on my iPad, and it’s great for viewing colour images and small text (say on diagrams). But when the sun is out, it’s difficult to see the screen, which is where the e-readers have a big advantage. They’re perfect in all kinds of weather. The other big drawback of the iPad is that it’s quite heavy compared to the Kindle device. It means that if I’m on a sun lounger reading, it’s difficult to hold the iPad still for any length of time. I haven’t tried the Kindle App on my phone, I’m not sure whether I could have a lengthy reading session using such a small screen.
I’ve had my Kindle Paperwhite for about nine years now. It was a massive step up from the original kindle, it had a touch screen and a backlight. This to me was a game-changer. Those of you who had the original Kindle will know that they were brilliant for reading during the day, but at night? Forget it. You had to keep the bedside light on to read, often disturbing your loved one. I even tried some of the many contraptions designed to throw a light on the screen, but they were pretty rubbish, to be honest. So, for me, the Paperwhite was a godsend.
Roll on nine years and I’ve decided to upgrade to the new Paperwhite Signature. My old one was taking its time when turning the page, highlighting text and checking the dictionary. So with Amazon Prime Day around the corner, I took the plunge. Fortunately, Amazon sent the Paperwhite Signature and many of their other own brands out early so I was able to grab one quickly.
The Paperwhite Signature boasts a whopping 32GB of storage (compared with the normal 8GB). How much of this I’ll actually use is debatable, but if you like reading magazines using the Kindle, then it could be useful. It’s a little larger than the standard Kindle measuring in at 6.8” compared with the original 6”. The other specification I was keen to see was the 300ppi screen resolution which is almost double the standard Kindle.
Battery life is meant to last up to 10 weeks, which is great, but how long was the tester reading for at a time to get those figures. It does bode well though for my holiday in Spain later in the year when I tend to be on the Kindle for hours at a time. The other interesting feature is the wireless charging capability. I like this as I have a couple of wireless chargers so should easily be able to swap out my phone for the Kindle when needed. No searching for charging cables everywhere.
It all sounds impressive; I’m hoping to find out if it is…
You can clearly see the difference in size between the screens of the Paperwhite Signature and the Paperwhite.
One area that I was looking for an improvement in was the screen resolution. I had issues when reading Janice Hallett’s The Appeal (a marvellous book by the way…). If you’ve read the book you will know that it’s made up of email excerpts, messages and post-it stickers. On the old Kindle, I struggled to read some of the stickers and hoped for better on the Signature. The results are below:
You can see the difference, but it’s not as great as I’d hoped, but at least I can read all of the sticky notes 😃
I final feature that I’ve not mentioned before is warm lighting which was previously only available on the Kindle Oasis. It looks pretty good, and I imagine that it will be even better during night-time reading.
I’ve been reasonably impressed with it so far, even the set-up was a doddle. The Signature grabbed my Wi-Fi password from my old Kindle and connected me straight away. It didn’t download any books for me, which was good as I wanted to choose what I added to the device.
For me, traditional books are not going away any time soon. In the US and the UK, traditional book sales were more than double digital sales. In France, Germany and Spain book sales were almost five times that of the e-book.2
I for one think that’s a good thing. I may be able to store thousands of books on a single device, but I still love the look and feel of a traditional book. I will often have both a hardback and a digital version. I just love the look of a filled bookcase stocked with old and new classics.
What do you think? Do you have an e-reader, and if so, what type have you gone for?