Let me begin by listing again what I consider to be 7 Key Considerations you should think about as you digest all the eBook Reader reviews and comparisons, collecting a list of the best eBook Readers, so you can choose that one great eReader you want to buy . Here they are again in no special order:

  • Form Factor
  • Audio
  • Memory / Storage Capacity
  • Digital Content Availability
  • File Type Compatibility
  • Connectivity and Coverage
  • Convenience

In previous articles, we covered Form Factor, Audio, and Memory / Storage Capacity. In this article, we will cover the next issue.

Digital Content Availability

OK, once you get your eBook reader, you're probably going to read books, eh? Where are you going to get those books and how are you going to get them to your eReader? What else would you like to read? Periodicals? Magazines? Newspapers? Research reports? The Web? Your significant other's shopping list? Many people are more than just book readers; they are also avid consumers of newspapers, magazines, and periodicals.

A significant factor in your decision on which of the eBook readers is best for you is going to be where you can get things to read and how can you get the documents onto your reader.

BIG book sellers, who also sell an electronic readers, have a BIG advantage. They are going to make it as easy as possible for you to get books and periodicals from them so you can read them with the eReader they sold you. This includes Barnes & Noble with the NOOK, Amazon with the Kindle, Apple iBooks with the iPad, and Kobo with the Kobo Reader. Sony also has an eBook store. All of these eBook readers provide easy access to the sellers' bookstores to buy and download eBooks. Amazon and Barnes & Noble also offer newspapers and magazines. Due to the convenience of access to your choice of reading material offered by these eBook reader sellers, their products should be right up there near the top of your list of candidate eReaders.

There is a potential disadvantage to acquiring your eBook reader from these sources. They tend to include something proprietary about the eBooks you buy from them so that they can only be used with their eReaders. Amazon uses a proprietary file format for its eBooks that only the Kindle and Kindle's software and apps can read. This makes it impossible to legally move your books to a new, non-Kindle eReader. Sellers also use DRM (see next topic) to limit even standardized file formats so that eBooks purchased from them can only be read on their readers. So, should you consider buying an eBook reader from an independent manufacturer not associated with one of the big book sellers? Unlike Amazon, many of the eBook sellers use a standard file format like PDF or EPUB. Users can view documents on any eReader that can read the specific file format and decode the DRM. But be aware that you are limiting your choices of reading material no matter which eBook reader you choose.

There are also many sources of free eBooks on the Internet. The free eBooks are automatically always provided in one of the standardized file formats like PDF or EPUB so they can be read with most eBook readers. One of the best known sources of free eBooks is Project Gutenberg at http://www.gutenberg.org/ . Google also has a project to digitize books and make them available, many for free. You can begin searching free eBooks available at Google by going to the Google eBookStore. If you're looking for free eBooks, you should also check out http://www.free-ebooks.net/ .

Currently, over two-thirds of public libraries in the United States offer eBooks. If you plan on getting eBooks from your library, check with them to see what file format (s) your library makes available, and make sure your eBook reader supports those formats. Note that the Sony Reader eBook site has a slick library finder that allows you to find local libraries that offer digital content.

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