We’ve had a couple of emails asking us for our recommendation for the best eReader for those living in the UK. (If you have any further questions about eReaders, don’t be afraid to use the contact form at the top of the page).
The question as to which eReader is best for the UK market in 2011 is not exactly a simple answer – it all depends on what you want from your eReader.
With a couple of exceptions eReader technology, like most technology, is playing out on a world stage – and so it’s not a case of which eReader is suitable for one country and which is suitable for another. It doesn’t really work like that.
While it may be different for customers across other countries in Europe where the eBook market has yet to take off like it has in the US and the UK, the UK is largely on par with the US in terms of the range of the eReader market.
If you’re living in the UK and you’re looking to buy an eReader, you can pretty much have a choice of any eReader that you can manage to get your hands on. While the Barnes and Noble Nook and the Kobo eReader are not being sold to a UK market yet, there is the chance that they will be in the future and the fact that you can order items to be delivered to the UK will satisfy those looking to purchase one of these eReaders.
However, it is important to remember that there may be some compatability models with 3G eReaders as they may require an US data provider to allow you to download books. Technically, WiFI only eReaders should work perfectly in the UK – but there may be limitations in the support should you have any problems.
Choosing an eReader in the UK for 2011 is really a case of just choosing an eReader that you like – one where the features suite your needs and one where you feel comfortable obtaining books from.
Obviously, the market leader in the eReader world is the Amazon Kindle – it’s the number 1 eReader in the UK and the US, despite the large push by Waterstones to get the Sony range of eReaders at the top of the UK market.
The Kindle is a fantastic, revolutionary device and is something of a triumph in the eReader world. Most of all, it’s designed by Amazon who we have found to have unrivalled customer service and the largest range of eBooks available for download.
What’s great about the Kindle is the accessibility to books and the sleek little device itself. With a 3G model of the Kindle you can download books from anywhere in the world where you can get a mobile phone signal and, as eBooks take up very little data in terms of file size, you do not have to pay a monthly fee to use the 3G technology. The eBooks that you select are downloaded to your Kindle from anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds.
You can find much information about the Kindle all across eReader King and around the web so we’re not going to blow its trumpet here again. What we will do however is begin to allow you to decide which device is worth you parting your cash for.
You need to think about where you get the majority of your books from. Waterstones are supporters of the Sony eReaders and if you go into a branch of Waterstones there will likely be a display section showcasing the Sony eReaders and you can try them and have a go.
The Sony eReaders – whether it’s the touch, or our personal favorite, the Pocket PRS-350 version – are great eReaders. While they are not talked about as much in the US, they are a great device and one that has taken second place to the Kindle in the UK.
Our only real dislike of the Sony eReaders is the fact that they do not offer 3G connectivity and so you need a WiFi connection in order to purchase your books. This isn’t a huge deal because it’s not likely that you’ll be in the middle of the desert before you decide to buy another eBook – you can simply make sure you’ve downloaded what you need before you leave the house.
While it is possible to get free eBooks on the Sony Readers as it is on the Kindle, the books that are offered from Waterstones tend to be a little more expensive. We’re not sure why this is but there have been many instances where it would actually be cheaper to walk into a shop and purchase a paperback copy of a book as oppose to downloading an eBook from Sony/Waterstones.
This isn’t the case in all instances but a quick look around the prices of the eBooks that you normally buy will give you a good idea about what’s happening in terms of pricing of eBooks.
While the Kindle is the all-around winner, there are still a few instances where the eBooks may be more expensive than the physical version of the book. This isn’t always down to the store or the supplier though – it can be the fault of the publishers putting certain limitations on their books.
Before the Amazon Kindle began to allow PDF files to shown on the device, the Sony Readers were the most accessible and easy to use eReaders. Now that Amazonhave allowed PDF files on the Kindle, there are fewer reasons to choose a Sony Reader unless you always shop in Waterstones or you have a liking for the device.
There are also a range of budget eReaders that are available in the UK. While they don’t live up to the heights of the Kindle or the Sony, they may be perfect for those that are only occasional readers or who want a simple and cheap approach to eBooks.
With the proliferation of tablet computers, you really need to be thinking whether you just want a device that reads eBooks or whether you want to step more towards the idea of table computers that do much more – as well as being able to read eBooks.
There are plenty of apps available for tablet computers that allow you to download and read eBooks. The problems with reading books on a tablet computer, however, are largely down to the size – tablet computers have a larger size and so are more difficult to hold and are less portable – and the lack of eInk technology.
The Kindle and the Sony Readers use eInk technology and so it’s much less of a problem for your eyes and your overall reading experience. It also means that your battery life runs into the range of weeks as oppose to the hours that you will get with tablet computers.
Another problem with using a tablet computer as your eReader is that you can’t just slip it into your pocket because it’s too large.
So, when looking for an eReader to choose within the UK market for 2011 doesn’t just come down to what’s available to the UK. The UK has a great choice of eReaders. However, the choice comes down to the actual device and how much your eBooks are going to cost you in the long term.
Do your research.