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5 Tips for Choosing the Right E-reader


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How important are pretty pictures?
If you plan on exclusively reading books, then there is really no need to look beyond an e-reader that utilizes black-and-white e-paper and e-ink.
If you plan on exclusively reading books, then there is really no need to look beyond an e-reader that utilizes black-and-white e-paper and e-ink.
Photo courtesy E Ink

When it comes to selecting just the right e-reader, what sort of reading you plan to do really matters: Will you be flipping through the pages of the entire Charles Dickens oeuvre or are you planning on reading (and enjoying the photos of) Glamour and Sports Illustrated? As a rule of thumb, if your reading tastes are classic -- i.e. you plan on exclusively reading books -- then there is really no need to look beyond an e-reader that utilizes black-and-white e-paper and e-ink. "For all adult fiction, color is totally unneeded and you don't need to pay for it," says California-based Andromeda Edison, who helps independent authors get published online and has reviewed various e-readers.

Then again, some e-readers, like the Nook Color and the SuperNova MediaReader come with full-color LCD screens, which allow users to enjoy magazines just the way they look coming off the rack, as well as other multimedia features. "An LCD allows for full-color animation, video viewing and a backlit display for reading in the dark," says Mark Mettler, a senior vice president of consumer technology at Staples. "Although slightly heavier and with a shorter battery life than traditional e-ink, the LCD option is better if you want additional functionality, like surfing the Web and checking e-mail. It's also a great choice for avid readers of magazine and children's books: The color screen really enhances the experience."

Click forward to see how to avoid letting batteries be a source of frustration.