Even for the most ardent of readers, the days of carrying bags full of hardback books are slowly but surely coming to an end.
Electronic book readers have enjoyed a boom in popularity recently, offering readers the ability to carry an entire library of books in just one slim handheld unit. No more hardbacks clunking in your bag and no more shelves straining under the weight of your entire collection. In the same way that the iPod transformed our CD collection, book readers are changing the way that we read.
With modern book readers, it is possible to carry up to 13,000 separate books in just one, paper-back sized device, making them perfect for those who prefer to read on the beach or on airplanes, where you may be trying to carry as little as possible.
Sony is one example of a major electronics name looking to capitalise on a growing market and their E Reader PRS650 is a solid ebook device, packing in some great features with an easy-to-use menu and navigation.
With the E Reader, you store as many books as you can fit on an SD Card or MemoryStick, allowing you to carry an almost endless list of titles in your pocket at any given time. The E Ink screen is also extremely easy to read, even in direct sunlight, and unlike the high resolution colour screens that you might find on many tablet PCs, it won’t cause strain on your eyes as you gaze at it for prolonged periods of time.
The built in Oxford English dictionary means that if you come across a word that you aren’t sure of, you can instantly look up its meaning and if you like to read with some background music, the E Reader PRS650 also has a built in MP3 player and headphone socket.
The battery life on the E Reader, which offers up to two weeks of reading on a single charge, also makes it ideal for lazy holidays by the beach, long haul flights or just a quiet night in.
With Google books, you also have access to more than 500,000 free books from sony.co.uk/Reader.
If you are looking for something a little more versatile, then you may consider a tablet PC as an alternative. Products such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which comes out on November 1, offer so much more than just a simple book reader, with games, movies, web browsing, email and office applications all squeezed in behind a 7 inch screen.
At £749, it is some £500 more than the Sony but of course, you get a lot more functionality for your hard earned.
Running Google’s highly acclaimed Android operating system, the Galaxy offers 16GB of storage space for all of your books, music, videos and games.
The built-in Reader Hub also gives you full access to up-to-date news and magazines, meaning that you can get the latest news, opinion and gossip delivered directly to your hands.
You also have access to free navigation software from Google Maps and Samsung has also packed in a 3.2Mp camera in the rear, ideal for those snap shots, as well as a 1.3Mp camera in the front – perfect for video calls over WiFi.
So there you have it. Time to ditch the hardbacks – reading has come into the 21st century!