After nearly 12 months of rigorous use, my Kobo eReader’s e-ink display failed. Kobo’s customer care has been very responsive and I have sent the device back for replacement. In the meantime, I’ve learned a little more about the Kindle Fire tablet in using it as a replacement of sorts for the Kobo. First and foremost, as an eReader, the Fire makes an excellent tablet alternative to the more expensive iPad. In other words, I ultimately found the back-lit, computer screen display of the Fire does not lend itself to lengthy eReading sessions. My eyes quickly became irritated by the glare from the screen.
The Fire has become an excellent entertainment delivery system, streaming Netflix, old radio dramas, providing access to a host of excellent apps, and in a pinch acting as second computer. Still, I needed something to fulfill my eReader needs. Would a dedicated Kindle be the answer? In talking with a colleague about the various options, he reminded me that Sony offers a product that features wireless content delivery that circumvents the complexity of Adobe Digital Editions. It’s the Reader Wi-Fi, and when I went to Sony’s site to check it out it was on sale for $99. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a sale, so I bought it.
Two things sold me on the Reader Wi-Fi: direct downloads and active support for libraries. From a user’s perspective, downloading library content from Overdrive on this device could not be easier. Once you establish an account within the Sony store feature on the reader, you simply go to the Library button on the second page of the device’s default menu and tap it. You’ll get the option to find CLP’s Overdrive site. Once you’re logged in with your library card number, you can search for content and access your Overdrive account in a simplified version of the package available on our web site. You can either search and check out the items from your PC or tablet device, then move over to the Reader Wi-Fi for quick and easy downloading, or do everything on the Reader’s interface. It also includes a plastic stylus for easy data entry, and once you enter your card number it will remember it for each visit.
The folks at Sony thought enough of public libraries to build specific features for them right into the Reader Wi-Fi. That’s the second reason I made this move. There’s even a menu option that allows you to easily tag materials en masse and return them early. When reading a book the navigation features include the ability to swipe to the next page (or a previous one) with the tip of a finger, or you could use the handy buttons below the screen. Font sizes can be adjusted with the simple touch of a button as well.
Now lest you think I am completely smitten to the point of blindness, the Sony is not perfect! Browsing online with it can be dicey, as the wireless does not provide lightning fast response time. Also, the touch screen offers some tablet-like functionality, but “pinching” to expand the content on the 6″ display can result in unintentionally traversing links as the thumb and finger brush by them. These issues aside, an eReader that recognizes the value of easy access to public library content merits consideration when navigating through the growing sea of devices now on the market.
If you think you might like to meet the Reader Wi-Fi in person, or any of the other popular eReaders on the market today, visit one of our upcoming Gadget Labs where we offer individualized instruction and hands-on experiences with these devices.
Now if only my hold on Song of Ice and Fire Series, Book 4, A Feast For Crows would come in, I’d be golden!