The recent upsurge in popularity of ebook downloads has been unprecedented. Book retailers and publishers are feeling the pressure, as the way people buy books changes at an incredible speed. Many ebook retailers are now offering new customers a free ebook downloadin order to entice them away from more traditional retailers, and it seems to be working. The device that started this phenomenon – the Kindle – is still very popular in the UK, as it strikes a balance between a good reading experience and the convenience of modern technology. However, the main drawbacks are the device’s size and the fact that users have to carry two electronic devices with them; whereas iPhone owners only need one.
Amazon has been quick to react to the feedback provided by many of its loyal customers. The new Kindle Paperwhite succeeds in addressing many concerns, such as a problem with freezing screens and the device’s customisation options. However, it is the Paperwhite’s new screen that is certain to attract a brand new legion of followers. With adjustable contrast, the front-lit Paperwhite succeeds in recreating the experience of reading a real book admirably. It retains all of the charm and
functionality of the original, but its improvements will undoubtedly have an increasing number of people confining paper books to the annals of history.
The iPhone relies on a number of apps in order to display ebooks. However, the increasing quality of the apps available does not alter the fact that this is a phone – and not a device designed for the reading of books. Of course, e-readers such as the Nook app have taken customisable reading experiences on the iPhone to a new level, but reading books on handheld devices is a struggle for many. The appearance of the iPad has made the reading experience a little more enjoyable, yet the
reflective properties of the screen mean outdoor reading is still a chore rather than a pleasure.