The first ebook reader models, created nearly 25 years ago, weighed more than a pound and had to be connected to a computer. These heavy-duty tools paved the way for modern, lightweight devices that can download today’s bestsellers and old classics (often for free) in seconds.
E-book devices and reading apps continue to evolve, so whether you want to upgrade your own, find something to give as a gift, or start e-reading. Here is a guide for you.
select your device
You can use e-readers, smartphones, tablets, computers and other equipment. Before you decide on one, consider what you want to study.
If you like pure text books, an e-reader like Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook or Rakuten’s Kobo is ideal. Compared to tablets, paper-like monochrome displays are easy on the eyes, have great battery life, and other apps won’t bother you.
If you like to read comics, picture books, digital magazines and other visual materials, you should consider a tablet with a large color screen. With a tablet or phone, you can use a single device for various tasks and entertainment options.
Pure text books work well with these books, too, although screen brightness and eye strain make reading difficult.
If you need help choosing which e-reader to buy, The New York Times product reviews site Wirecutter recommends Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite Kids as this year’s top e-reader pick and lists additional alternatives to the Kobo Clara HD and Kobo. Libra 2.
The website also has recommendations for the best tablets at different price points, with top picks including Apple’s iPad, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S6 Lite, and Amazon’s Fire HD8.
If you’re upgrading your equipment, you may want to donate your old Kindle or iPad to an organization that can reuse it… after you’ve deleted all your personal information from it.
choose your platform
An eBook reader allows you to buy and download books directly via wireless connection. If you already have a phone, tablet or computer and want to buy eBooks, you can install an eBook store app (or apps) and create an account.
Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s Nook, and Rakuten’s Kobo all have Android and iOS apps that let you read eBooks, organize your library, and listen to audiobooks (or books with built-in text narration).
These digital bookstores also have desktop or browser-based reading options, which can be great for those who prefer to read on a large desktop monitor.
Warning: You cannot purchase eBooks from these apps. In accordance with Apple and Google’s in-app purchase policies, you must purchase the book or other content on the company’s website and then purchase your books electronically in the app.
Also, app store owners have their own rules. The Apple Books app lets you purchase content directly from your Apple device. Google Play Books and Audiobooks, which run in a browser, have apps for Android and iOS, but iOS users must first purchase their content online.
set your screen
After downloading a book, explore the settings on your device and in the app to customize your reading experience, such as increasing the text size.
The steps vary by app and device, but tapping the top of the screen usually brings up a toolbar where you can adjust your ebook’s font, font size, line spacing, and screen background color. (Apple Books’ menu and toolbar are now at the bottom of the screen with the iOS 16 update.)
If you want to search for a word in the dictionary or Wikipedia, translate a phrase, highlight a passage, write a note, or search the book, press and hold your finger on the text on the screen until the options reference and a toolbar with options appear. notes.
In addition to reference tools, some Kindle books include Amazon’s X-Ray feature, which provides information about characters, plot, and context.
When you’re ready to pause, you usually have to tap the top-right corner to bookmark it. If you use the Books app on more than one device, you can set up the syncing of bookmarks and other annotations so they don’t get lost.
find free books
E-bookstores offer sample chapters for you to read before you buy, and many also have free public books.
Check to see if your local library borrows eBooks for membership users. Libraries using the OverDrive distribution system often lend digital materials through the Libby app for Android and iOS. (However, the New York Public Library uses the SimplyE app for Android and iOS.)
A vast repository of digitized content, the Internet Archive has publicly available books as well as an online lending library. The Google Books website is another treasure trove of scanned books and digital text; many titles are free, but the site directs users to stores and libraries for copyrighted works.
Finally, there is Project Gutenberg, a site that offers free downloads of 60,000 public domain books in various file formats. The site’s founder, Michael Hart, is best known for creating the first modern downloadable e-book on July 4, 1971, which copied the Declaration of Independence onto a university mainframe.
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