That time of the year is quickly approaching: the holiday shopping season. Around this time of year we notice a sharp uptick in eReading device questions at the library, ranging from helping people learn how to download eBooks from NEIBORS or eMagazines from Zinio (all possible with your library card), to letting patrons try out one of the library's Kindle Fires (you can check one out from the Reference Desk for 30 minutes of in-library use). We are also asked by patrons which device is best. This isn't as easy of a question as it appears - when looking at eReading devices, the variety and options presented mean you should carefully consider the person who will be receiving the gift before choosing.
For instance, for the person who wants the capability to do it all -browse the internet, play games, watch videos, and more, a full sized tablet is probably best, assuming they already have a home equipped with wireless internet. The variety of models at different price points make it easy to find one to fit any personality. Other options for someone who wants to be even more mobile are the smaller tablets, such as the Kindle Fire or iPad mini. These combine the functionality of a full-sized tablet with the portability that makes it a breeze to throw in a bag for a trip.
Is the person you have in mind not as high-tech? A simpler model, such as the Kindle Paper White or Nook may be the way to go. These devices are made for reading and reading alone. Their screens are as close to paper as you can get and while they do have wireless internet capabilities, it is generally used only to download the next book. These devices are great because they are small and lightweight, making them easy to hold up for extended periods of time. The text size can also be adjusted to suit the user, making them ideal for someone who needs larger sized print. However, these devices do require some technology know-how to use. Some require the user to have a personal computer to download books onto and then side-load onto the device. Others default to downloading through a wireless connection. Make sure to assess how much training on a device your intended receiver will want to invest in or if you would be willing to help them load the device regularly before choosing it as a gift.
Probably the best way to choose is to try a number of devices. Many big box retail stores carry a variety of eReaders and tablets. This option allows you to try a variety of devices and ask questions of the salespeople. There are also online reviews and lists that compare prices and features of many different models. If you stop by the reference desk at the library, we have assembled a few of these lists for you to look through as you make your decision.
eReading devices can be great for the right person, and a device suited to their personality will make using the device much more convenient for them. If you want to learn more about downloading free content through NEIBORS or Zinio with your library card, stop by the reference desk or make an appointment with a reference librarian. You can also go to our website at www.kylib.org and look under eLibrary for video tutorials and step-by-step guides for getting started.