For those of you who are wondering which e-Reader to buy, I will happily provide a few pointers. I spent a few months researching this before purchasing a Kindle Fire. If your concern is file formats, you really have nothing to worry about. There are software programs, Calibre
for example, that will convert your e-books to the correct file format for your e-reader. Barnes & Noble and Amazon each have their own file extensions. When you plug your cable into your computer to transfer files to your new e-reader, Calibre will recognize your e-reader and offer to convert files for you so that you can read them on your device.
Do not assume that you are limited to buy only from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, depending on the e-reader you've purchased. If you download the Calibre software, you will be able to convert your files to the proper file extension. (If you're interested in Calibre, let me know, and I would be happy to write a little how-to article for those of you who have never used it before.)
Also, I said "buy" in relation to books, but the truth of the matter is, I have only purchased one e-book. All of the rest were free on Amazon. If you prefer best sellers, however, you will have a different experience. You will have to pay more for new books, no matter what format they come in. Because I prefer authors that are long-since dead, I am able to get the majority of my favorites completely free. I must also note that Amazon has more free books than Barnes & Noble. Some of the books that are free on Amazon, are $1.99 or more on Barnes & Noble.
The other issue is the price of the actual device. Now that Amazon has come out with their new line of e-readers, getting an affordable one isn't so much of a problem anymore.
I am extremely amused by the battle going on between Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I'm ready to begin taking bets on which company will fumble first. Barnes & Noble has apparently released their own Tablet e-reader, the new Nook, in an attempt to one-up the Amazon Fire. Still, the Fire remains $199, while the new Nook Tablet is $249.
I love my Fire. However, if you're the kind of person that gets sick of looking at a computer screen after a length of time, you may want the Amazon Touch, which is also a touchscreen e-reader, but has e-Ink technology instead of the bright screen of the Fire.
The Fire isn't hard to read on at all; it doesn't hurt my eyes, which was one of my main concerns. I'm impressed, and I'm happy I bought it. But I'll still keep a paper book collection on hand, because I love being able to turn the pages. I also love my antique book collection, and I wouldn't trade them for the most advanced e-reader in the world.
And yes, I still miss my typewriter. When push comes to shove, I will happily set aside all of this technology, pack up a bag, grab a tent, and venture into the Appalachian mountains for hiking and camping. As convenient and fun as technology is, I would still rather be out in the woods, with nothing technological on my person other than a wristwatch.