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Friday, December 18, 2009

What's an eReader? Do I need one?

As digital book readers become more popular, the library is getting questions about which e-book reader is the best.  While we can't decide which e-book reader is best for you, we can give you information to help you make an informed decision.

Some of you may be wondering what the heck we're talking about.  What's an e-book reader?  An e-book reader (also called an eReader) is an electronic device that displays e-books.  An e-book is an electronic version of a printed book which can be read on a personal computer or e-book reader.  The main advantage of these devices is the ability to carry around hundreds of books in one small, lightweight device.

There are three major brands of e-book readers on the market: Sony Reader, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes & Noble Nook.  Each reader has different features, but the main idea is that you buy e-books and store them on your e-book reader to read at your leisure.  Here's where the library comes in.  If you want to use e-books but don't want to buy them, you can download them from the library for free through Kentucky Libraries Unbound (you will need a valid library card and password).  There are hundreds of e-books to choose from and they can all be read on your computer but not on every e-book reader. 

Let's look at each of these e-book readers more closely.

Sony Reader is the only e-book reader that has been tested and approved to work with the library's free downloadable e-books.  You will be able to download and read approximately 90% of the library's e-book collection (PDF and EPUB e-book formats).  Sony Reader

Amazon Kindle does not allow downloading of free e-books from library websites.  You must buy books from

Barnes & Noble Nook is currently in pre-order status and is rumored to allow downloading of free library e-books.  Once the Nook is available its compatibility will be tested by the technicians at Kentucky Libraries Unbound.

If you would like to download e-books from the library's website and view them with an e-book reader, then we recommend the Sony Reader; however, an e-book reader is not required. All content at Kentucky Libraries Unbound may be used on a computer after installing the free software.

For more information about e-book readers we recommend visiting Consumer Reports (you will need a valid library card and password).

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