If you love to read on the plane, train, or in a car, you’ve probably asked yourself which eReader (if any) was best for you. Not only are there so many options for eReaders on the market, but there’s also the option to get a tablet, phone apps, and good old paperback too. Not to mention audiobooks.
I’ll admit, I’ve never been a so-called voracious reader. I studied journalism and short-form was always my favourite. I inhale articles at an alarming rate, but finish a full book? I average about five a year. Yet, I want to be a person who reads so a few years ago, I used some Amazon credit to get a Kindle. I thought surely a technological solution was the missing piece to unlocking all these books I wanted to read. Did it help…Sure. But just as much as new leggings help you get to the gym more often. It’s a temporary lift, at best.
As I constantly try to cut down on the tech things that I pack, I started to rethink my Kindle. I also got a new iPhone so I asked myself “wouldn’t I be better off just using my iPhone with the Amazon Kindle app?” Jury is still out but it lead me to make a list of all the options to consider when choosing how to read during travel.
The eReader like a Kobo, Kindle, and Nook
Dedicated eReaders have so many advantages. First off, they are designed purely for reading. They are even roughly the size of a book. The features were created for readers who like to highlight, make notes, and track progress. They also integrate really well with whichever online marketplace they’re tied to so purchasing eBooks is pretty seamless. The battery life is also quite good so you don’t have to worry about recharging it every single night or that other activities like FaceTime will drain the battery life you need for reading later.
The cons are few but worth considering. First, it’s a whole other device to pack that only has one function. Second, it’s a fairly proprietary experience. For example, uploading things other than eBooks purchased on Amazon to a Kindle is quite difficult. If you have PDFs on your computer, you can do it, but it’s not as easy as just purchasing an eBook or manuscript from Amazon.
Generally though, they’re a great option. For more tech specs, read an article like this for a comparison.
Tablets with an eReader app
I’ve considered getting an iPad even though I have an eReader. I had the 1st generation one when it first came out and loved it during my college degree. Eventually, I gave it to my nephews when it started to fail me. Fast forward six years and I’m considering all the things I’d do with one, including reading eBooks and magazines.
The perks of tablets are that they can do so much more than just store eBooks. PC or Apple, tablets are a good place to store all your digital entertainment, including audiobooks. You can also use multiple different apps so you can purchase books from different platforms and access them on one device. If you download free books from a place like The Gutenberg Project, it’s also quite easy to upload them to your device.
Battery life may be an issue if you use your tablet to stream movies, browse the web, and read during a whole day of travel. They also aren’t cheap. But overall, a tablet could be right for you. Need help picking one? Check out this review.
Using a phone to read eBooks
Want a basically free solution to reading books on the go? Using your phone is probably the simplest option. You already have it and all you need to do is download whatever app you prefer. You can get the Amazon Kindle app to read eBooks purchased there, Apple’s Books app, or upload PDFs to your phone. There are tons of ways to do it.
The disadvantages are similar to the tablet’s regarding battery life. In that sense, eReaders will always have the advantage. Also, if you happen to have a phone with small storage, like a 32g or 64g, you may quickly run out of space for books. However, the benefit of having one tool for everything is fewer cables and fewer devices to charge. Also, if you’re only into audiobooks, your phone as a solution becomes the clear winner.
Good old fashioned paperback books
Of the disadvantages of paper books, there’s only one I care about: they take up room. You can really only travel with a one or two at a time and when you’re done, you have the choice of passing it on carrying it around until you get home.
However, there’s still something great about holding a book over an eReader. For one, you can show off the book you’re reading and use it to strike up conversations. Two, you can focus on finishing a book instead of jumping between books. Three, no need to plug anything in. And lastly, when you’re done, you can loan the book to a friend or even resell it, which you can’t do with a digital copy.
You can also borrow books from friends or the library. If you want to buy them, they do cost more than eBooks and require paper from trees, but there’s something to be said about the beauty of holding the real deal.
Whether you choose a traditional eReader or simply stick to borrowing books from the library for your next trip, kudos to you for reading more! Just remember to rest your eyes on your next flight as well, since flying can be very drying.
Happy travels xox