Friday, August 12, 2011

What's the best way to read a book? Nick Bilton compares the Kindle, Nook, iPad, iPhone and a paperback

Nick Bilton is writing great pieces on the New York Times, many of them related to our favorite subject - books. This week he writes about another favorite subject of ours - the multiple options you have today to read a book, from the Kindle and smartphones to good old paperback. In other words - what's the best format to read a book?

As he mentions this question becomes no less important than the question what book to read as we have a growing number of options available.

So Bilton went out and checked couple of popular options: The Amazon
Kindle, the first- and second-generation Apple iPads, the Barnes & Noble Nook, an iPhone, a Windows Phone, a Google Android phone, a Google Android tablet and a laptop computer. Oh, and yes, he also compared it with reading on a paperback.

How he did it? He bought a book, “The Alienist,” by Caleb Carr, and read a chapter on each format. He's sharing his experience on this piece and you're welcome to read it all, but here are just couple of conclusions from his non-scientific yet so realistic experience:

1. Reading on the Amazon Kindle is a joy in many respects.

2. If you don't want distractions or you're the type that it's easy to destruct don't use a tablet, or otherwise you'll soon find yourself "sucked into the wormhole of the Internet and a few games of Angry Birds."

3. The Barnes & Noble Color Nook ($250) does allow you to surf the Web, but it is a little slow, though, and that sometimes frustrated Bilton. In other words, if you want to surf use the iPad 2, and if you don't use the Kindle. Nook's effort to provide you the advantages of both worlds is not really working.

4. Regular mobile users should be fine - "Despite the small screen on a mobile phone, I find reading on one to be simple and satisfactory. Maybe this is because I have become accustomed to mobile screens, using them for hours at a time to check the news, sift through e-mail and navigate social networks." One comment - I still have a feeling that reading a book on your mobile device is so much fun for your eyes, so be good to your eyes (you can't really replace them, right?) and just use a tablet or an e-reader.

Finally, Bilton says "but if money is tight, go for print. My used paperback cost only $4." He just forgot another option, even cheaper - taking it in your local library, either in a paper or an electronic format. Not only it's cheaper, it's even greener!

Photo: Nikkorz, Flickr Creative Commons

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant one tree for every book your read!