Home » Tablets/Ereaders » You Tell Me: How Often Do You Buy a New eReader?

You Tell Me: How Often Do You Buy a New eReader?

2 January 2019

Nate has a question at The Digital Reader:

When it comes to mobile devices, some tend to get replaced faster than others. People hang on to laptops for as many as six to eight years, while smartphones tend to get replaced every other year (if not more often).

If we made a spectrum to track device lifespans, ereaders would be listed at the far end with laptops.

eReaders don’t change that much from year to year, so as a result people tend to hold on to them. For example, some brands such as Amazon and Kobo have used the same CPUs for years and years (it wasn’t until the Oasis that Amazon finally upgraded to a dual-core CPU). And even when the screen resolution improved, it was sometimes hard to see the difference and thus hard to justify replacing a device that worked just fine.

So tell me, how long do you hold on to your e-reading device?

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

PG likes technology that can do many things well.

PG loves, loves, loves technology that does something important perfectly.

His Kindle Paperwhite presents books for reading perfectly.

It’s small, light and completely operable with the right thumb.

The screen is perfectly legible when the lights are on or they’re off.

Its battery life approaches infinity.

It’s better than a paper book because it’s lightweight, it’s simpler to tap the screen with your thumb than to turn a page, you don’t lose your place if you drop it, it’s thinner than any printed book PG is interested in reading and you can take as many books as you like on vacation while still using only a single suitcase.

If you finish a book by a newly-discovered author you really like at 7:00 pm, you can immediately start reading the sequel without going anywhere.

PG bought a plain-vanilla Kindle before the Paperwhite was released and used it with some regularity, but the crisper screen of the Paperwhite together with the ability to use it in dim light or no light made all the difference.

 

 

Tablets/Ereaders

22 Comments to “You Tell Me: How Often Do You Buy a New eReader?”

  1. Richard Hershberger

    “It’s better than a paper book because…”

    The reasons you give are all valid, but there should be a proviso that ereaders in general, and epaper in particular, are great for narrative text, where you begin at the beginning and read through to the end. They are less good for anything with maps or charts or illustrations that matter, or any book where you might be tempted to stick your fingers between pages in different parts of the book, and flip back and forth between them. Yes, there are work-arounds. No, they don’t work all that great.

    I am one of those guys who reads books with endnotes, and keeps a bookmark in the notes for easy access. Depending on the citation style, I might have another in the bibliography.

    Any modern ebook will have the notes linked (which can itself be a problem if it is the sort of book dense with notes). But suppose the note is “Smith (2014) 42” or worse, “Ibid. 42”? With a paper book this is a bit clunky. With an ebook it is a genuine hassle to chase that citation down. This is a solvable problem, at least partially. The notes format could be adapted to be more user friendly. But in practice it isn’t.

    That being said, I use a Kindle for nearly all my fiction reading, and a fair chunk of non-fiction. But not all. There are some books were paper is still better.

    • I agree, Richard.

      I wouldn’t try to read a court opinion or a legal brief I needed to understand thoroughly on an ereader because there are a great many citations similar to those you describe.

      I have three monitors attached to my desktop computer and sometimes I’ll open up referenced documents on a secondary monitor while I read on my principal monitor. At other times, I end up printing out everything and spreading it out on a large table so I can jump back and forth across various referenced documents.

  2. I’ve had a Paperwhite for 2-3 years now and still love it. I don’t feel compelled to upgrade because it does everything I want an e-book reader to do, including get out of the way and just “be a book.”

  3. It’s like a #2 yellow pencil.

  4. We finally had an older kindle die (only part of the eInk page changing) and got another kindle.

    So only as replacements are needed …

    MYMV and your batteries hold a charge.

  5. Time for me to own up: between us my wife and I own seven Kindle e-readers (an old keyboard version, an Oasis and five Paperwhites).

    In our defence, three of the Paperwhites were shared between my wife and her late mother in an arrangement where mother-in-law had a pair which were swapped over on our monthly visits so she got her new book fix even though she had no WiFi, and of course I needed one as well.

    The reason we have recently added an Oasis and the latest Paperwhite is the big problem that PG did not mention in his encomium: they never had enough memory! The three original Paperwhites topped out at 1200 books a piece, which is really a trivial sized collection. So my answer to Nate’s question is “when we get tired of having our books spread across multiple devices”. At 32gb I hope the newest ones will last out our lives.

    I’m sure someone will tell me the books can reside on the cloud but this doesn’t work if I’m on holiday with no WiFi and want access to everything (just in case).

    • I saved the post for later reading, and I’m glad I did…the comments above are FASCINATING.

      Let’s see:

      1. I read my first ebook on a Palm Pilot. But only one, so not sure that counts as having an ereader.

      2. My second ebook was, I think, the Da Vinci Code and I read it on a computer monitor at my desk. I DL’ed it because I couldn’t figure out what the fuss was about — a story about Mary Magdalene was creating buzz? What? Of course, the way some people were talkign about it, I thought it was some sort of non-fiction theory. Then I got sucked in by the short chapters and simple prose, I confess. Anyway. Moving on.

      3. I bought a Kindle, 2nd generation, because I live in Canada and it was a pain in the patootie to get the 1st gen without crossing a border or setting up a fake US billing address. Still have it, some 10 (?) years later but I don’t use it heavily. It goes in spurts. I still have a hefty paper TBR pile that I’m getting through. However, I purge when done with them and try to only buy digitally now, or borrow from the library. Of course with the 2nd Gen Kindle, and libraries, you have to use a program like Calibre to get the books on there.

      4. I have read occasional books on my full-size tablet and my previous mini-tablet, but not many. Sucks the batteries too much (Samsung Galaxy Tabs).

      5. My wife has a Kobo, backlit, touch screen. Sweet device. I still have a keyboard with all the keys worn off practically and two buttons on each side to go left or right. Plus menu BUTTONS. She buys direct from the Kobo store through wifi, and occasionally uses the Kobo app on her phone. And I transfer library ebooks to her through Calibre.

      6. For my son’s ereader (he’s 9), we went with the latest touchscreen Kindle with backlighting. He loves it, so long as Dad uses Calibre to keep it loaded with the latest Rick Riordan novels before trips home.

      I will likely get a new ereader in the next year, but if I had an iPad, I might just use it since their battery life would get me through a day still. I find the phablet phones (I have the new XS Max still just a bit small).

      My wife and I only keep the “TBR” and “current book” on the devices; my son likes to keep the ones he’s already read, but I’m slowly weaning him of that habit just so that I don’t have to manage them the same way.

      I do however have a whole new regime going for managing my ebook files, with separate “e-libraries” in Calibre to help keep the files straight:

      a. A “testing” area for when I import library books or MOBI books that I have to convert to EPUB or vica versa for the Kobo/Kindle dance.

      b. A “staging” area that I move all the files to after testing, so I can do a little sort on them.

      c. Then my libraries go a bit crazy. While some people do “tags”, I hate tagging. So I use separate libraries for me, my wife, and my son. There’s a bit of overlap, but not enough to be problematic. And I break the reading process down:

      – TO BE READ
      – ACTIVELY READING
      – READ
      – REVIEWING (mainly for my books)
      – FINAL SAVE LIBRARY (including any notes)

      But as anal as I am, I can’t imagine trying to keep all of it on my portable device, wifi availability or no. I can’t imagine a circumstance where I have to go back to the 12th Spenser for Hire novel to look something up or reread it RIGHT now. I have fireproof backups offsite of all my stuff, plus some cloud stuff, but beyond my “active” files, I can’t imagine trying to take it all on one tablet/ereader.

      For non-fiction, I’m fortunate enough that my stuff doesn’t have a lot of cross-referencing. Yet I still go paper when possible, unless e-version is significantly cheaper. Mostly I think that is because e-non-fiction has not yet figured out how to capitalize on the e-format yet. They still format like paper and just digitize it, rather than as others mentioned, doing a truly eversion that would have popup citations, note options, etc.

      P.

  6. I’ve killed two Kindle 3s from old age, I suspect. Batteries were still charging but they both began to reboot, default to menu and other strange behaviours.I’ll buy a new Paperwhite this time around although Zon isn’t keen to sell to Aussie customers on the .com site, preferring us to switch to au. Not happening. Big difference in prices between the two.

  7. Nate also his this little reminder of a recently added Kindle feature:

    https://the-digital-reader.com/2019/01/02/how-to-use-kindles-new-custom-font-feature/

    • I’d be interested to know how many Kindle owners take advantage of this feature.

      Personally, I’m not a font guy when it comes to reading straight text on a digital device. Pretty much any Serif font does the trick for me.

      For online or offline documents I create where the document formatting is part of what is selling the quality/validity of the document’s contents, I can get more finicky.

      However, I’m of the school that says if a reader who’s not a font junkie asks him/herself, “What font is that?” or otherwise notices font stuff, I’ve probably overdone it.

      • It’s a fair question.
        It’s mostly a matter of taste but there are cases where an alternate font offers a distinct advantage.
        The OpenDyslexic font is one example.
        Darker fonts are another.

        The original Kindle font, Caecilia, was never my favorite and once upon a time I would’ve killed for this feature because on eink my font of choice is Georgia.
        Fortunately Amazon saw the light a while back and added it as an option so I didn’t have to go extreme.

        There’s critics for everything, especially fonts:

        https://www.epubor.com/custom-fonts-for-kindle.html

        • Having dipped my toe into one or two on line discussions on Kindle fonts my impression is that most users don’t care and won’t use this facility but that there is a small minority who do care and bring a passionate intensity (and often a hatred for Kindle typesetting) to the table.

          By and large I’m not worried and was happy to use Caecilia on our older devices. However, I might try this out on some of the documents I’ve created so thanks for the link.

          • I have often said that there is a special little circle within purgatory that contains supremely boring people, and therein is an alcove for people who care passionately about fonts.

      • I do use the special fonts feature. I pick the font and page setup that’s easiest to read. I have a few minor vision problems, and this makes a big difference. I can even read without my glasses!

        Full disclosure: I’ve also worked as a editor, so I know a lot about fonts, kerning, leading, etc. This seems to help me make good choices easier.

        But with whatever font, I love my Kindle for all the reasons PW has already expressed.

  8. As has been pointed out, ereaders are not ideal of non-fiction reference books. I prefer to do my research in print because I do have to thumb back and forth comparing passages and citations. I occasionally buy one that I won’t use heavily for an ereader if it is cheaper though because my research gets expensive. *heavy sigh*

    However, like PG, I strongly prefer an ereader for fiction. The one I have now I have had for 3 years and I am about to upgrade it because the battery is becoming less dependable.

    • I agree paper is more useful now for much nonfiction. But the odd situation we face is that eReaders on computers could easily be superior to paper.

      All those paper clips, stickies, and pencils I stick in pages? Software could make little thumbnails of the pages around the margins of the screen. Click the thumbnail, and the page appears in another full-size window.

      And all the underlined and highlighted stuff? Highlight it, click save, and it is added to a document that incrementally saves all the targeted text. Within that document, click on a para and go to the page from the book. Highlight a map or chart, and it goes in the same way. Let that document stand alone, and receive stuff from a bunch of books.

      And printing? Highlight anything, hit print, and it prints. Print all those pages represented by thumbnails.

  9. I agree paper is more useful now for much nonfiction. But the odd situation we face is that eReaders on computers could easily be superior to paper.

    All those paper clips, stickies, and pencils I stick in pages? Software could make little thumbnails of the pages around the margins of the screen. Click the thumbnail, and the page appears in another full-size window.

    And all the underlined and highlighted stuff? Highlight it, click save, and it is added to a document that incrementally saves all the targeted text. Within that document, click on a para and go to the page from the book. Highlight a map or chart, and it goes in the same way. Let that document stand alone, and receive stuff from a bunch of books.

    And printing? Highlight anything, hit print, and it prints. Print all those pages represented by thumbnails.

  10. Lost track of how many Kindles I’ve had since 2008, but my Amazon Manage Devices and Contents page says I’m currently on #4. That would be my first Paperwhite, acquired a couple of months ago.

    I can’t say enough good about it. My previous Kindles were okay–an early keyboard model, a basic one, and a Fire tablet, but all of them presented visual difficulties of one sort or another. And they were tiring to hold for long. The Paperwhite, however, is as you say, PG–lightweight, crisp, easy to read in all light conditions. I chose a cover that feels nice in my hands and looks like a journal. It fits in my purse or coat pocket. The battery lasts for ages and recharges quickly. I can control the font style and size for when I’m wearing regular glasses or contacts with reading glasses. It’s a game-changer. And now that we live where the library isn’t convenient, it’s nice to quickly have a new book that’s as pleasant for the eyes and hands as it is for the mind and heart.

  11. BTW, for all concerned, many older models of Kindle are on sale at woot. Prime shipping applies.

    https://www.woot.com/category/computers/tablets

  12. I replace my e-reader when I break/loose it or when there is a bigger, more readable screen.

    I started with the 6″ kindle 2, upgraded fairly quickly to the kindle DX (9″ screen), upgraded again to the DX with the perl screen (much more readable), and last year upgradeded to the Onyx Boox Max2 (13″ screen)

    I replaced the DX at least twice, and replaced the screen a couple more times.

    i’m coming up for air after a holiday reading binge (I lost track of exactly how many books somewhere over 30, I have saved far more money in book purchasing than the devices have cost me over the years, and not having to pack another suitcase with books to hold me over while traveling sure makes life easier.

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