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Battle of the e-Readers

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The world is greatly divided when it comes to the e-reader vs. book debate, and it is a polarizing argument. There are people that argue passionately against the e-reader, citing all the amazing qualities of the humble book like the smell of the pages, the binding folding as the reader progresses through the novel, and being able to see how much of the book is left until the end. However, there are also people that can rapidly ramble off the virtues of the e-reader, including the convenience, the amount of books that can be contained in one small space, and the true embrace of new technology.

If an e-reader is the future of books, what features must be considered in choosing the perfect e-reader? Is it storage space or function? Is it the list of convenience factors that are associated with this technology? With the two giant brands that have cornered the market, what are the differences? Personal choice, in the end, will dictate a preference for one over the other, but what are the advantages of both?

Two major e-readers have saturated the scene; the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes and Noble Nook. Through many generations and incarnations, Amazon and Barnes and Noble have produced the two most popular models of e-readers. Both models have serious advantages and disadvantages that would be important to a voracious reader, and the latest generations have chosen to compete strongly with one another.

The Amazon Kindle was the first to emerge in 2007. The original production featured an on device keyboard for searching the device. This model was somewhat cumbersome and the device had yet to be perfected. Now in its seventh generation, the Kindle barely resembles its brethren. The latest version, called the Kindle Voyage is, according to Amazon.com, made for the love of readers worldwide.

This new model has a 300ppi high-resolution display that looks amazingly, and even feels, like an actual book page. The display is adaptive to determine the amount of light needed from behind to produce a pleasant reading experience. Former incarnations of the Kindle have not had a backlit display, thus requiring a book light for reading in a darkened room. The Kindle Voyage weighs in at $199, a far cry from the purchase of a hardcover book, but the Voyage also possesses the ability to hold thousands of books.

Amazon also features the original Kindle’s newest little sister, simply called the Kindle. It is a bare bones edition that features no built in light, but still possesses the same amazing battery life, which is weeks on a full charge and all the storage space. Also available from the Amazon family is the Kindle Paperwhite. This 6” reading display boasts massive storage, battery life, and a backlit display for reading in any light. All Kindles are anti-glare, which means an exquisite beach or poolside reading experience. Available at $79 and $119, respectively, these Kindle models are the perfect way to break into the e-reader world.

Barnes and Noble released the first generation of the Nook in 2009, most likely as an answer to Amazon’s production of the Kindle. Well timed, with a pre-Christmas release, the Nook looked similar to the competition. This generation was also quite clunky and not yet streamlined, but Nook has come into its own. Now, weighing barely half a pound, the Nook once featured one advantage over the Kindle. The Nook Simple Touch featured a mini SD card slot to expand the memory exponentially. While the newest generation does NOT have this feature, Barnes and Noble promises a massive amount of storage in the Nook GlowLight.

Nook’s GlowLight boasts the same advantages of the Kindle, and weighs in at $99. However, Nook comes hand in hand with Barnes and Noble’s extensive catalog and features suggestions based on past purchases. Another key feature of the Nook is that it is an ad-free experience, while the purchase of the $79 Kindle will force the reader to swipe through an advertisement before they get to the book they want.

Nook also promises a more durable display than previous models. It will sustain hits from keys and pens if it’s clanking around in a purse. It also features a curved design that contributes to an easier and more comfortable reading experience as it fits quite well in the palm of the hand. Nearly an ounce lighter than the Kindle, Nook also promises a positive experience for extensive reading efforts. With over a million free titles from Barnes and Noble, the Nook will keep any reader happy for weeks.

Both major models of e-readers feature the ability to look up unknown words, mark the pages for faster look-up, and will return readers to the last page read with ease. When choosing which e-reader will delight the pickiest readers, it will come down to a matter of taste and brand devotion. Amazon lovers will typically flock to the Kindle, while bookstore loyalist will prefer the Nook. Whichever e-reader is chosen, either one is sure to open the readers world and eliminate the days of carrying six different books onto a plane for a week’s vacation.

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