Tips for Traveling With an eBook Reader

On a recent cross-country flight home from a conference, a friend noticed an impressive number of electronic devices in use by passengers. Whereas years ago one could shuffle down the narrow walkway years ago and see open books and magazines, or newspapers folded to the sports section or crossword puzzle, now one finds people reading from digital book devices and watching movies on tablet computers.

If you are the type who enjoys reading on a long flight, you might find an eBook reader a worthy investment. As airlines impose stricter regulations regarding carry-on luggage, you may have had to leave things behind in order to get by without paying extra fees. With an eBook reader, however, you can download hundreds of books into one slim device the length of a trade paperback book, and adjust the font size to your comfort. For the frequent traveler, the eBook device is perhaps one of the best travel items to buy, and you decide to obtain one before your next trip you’ll want to make certain you get the one that’s best for your needs. Here are a few things to consider as you shop:

Size and Storage: eBook devices are made available in various sizes – some are about six inches long lengthwise and resemble a mass market paperback size, while more expensive models come letter-sized (8 by 11 inches). It’s important, too, to check specifications on models to see how many gigabytes they hold. This will determine how many books you can keep on the device. If you find you are a voracious reader, more is definitely better.

Proprietary Shopping: Depending on the device you buy, you’ll discover your reader is connected to a specific online retailer. Amazon offers the Kindle, Barnes and Noble has the Nook, and Sony has their own reader. Most people who buy a certain device will buy books from the vendor, though it is possible to obtain eBooks from other sellers and import them. It’s up to you to decide where you wish to buy books because that will determine the reader you use.

Battery Life: How long are flights, and how long do you expect to use your device between recharging periods? Not all readers have the same battery life, so pay attention to specs. You don’t want to be in the middle of a great book halfway to Europe and have your reader conk out on you!

Once you have chosen your eBook reader, make sure it is charged before your flight, and that you have loaded up the books you wish to read. While some airlines offer in flight Wi-Fi which would allow you to use your reader’s store function (if it has one), it’s better to have the books bought beforehand in case there’s a blip in the connection.

Happy reading!