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Five Reasons to Pick Up an E-book Reader

We list the advantages of electronic book readers over paper books

2. Adjustable Font Size

One of the key advantages to an e-book reader is the ability to change the size of the text. Most e-book readers offer five font sizes to choose from, from small to very large, and a few in between. In some cases, you can also change the font style — say, from Ariel to Comic Sans or Lucida Sans to Tahoma — as well as the number of line spaces (if any) and background color. Personalizing the look of the words and layout of the page could be beneficial to those with a seeing impairment. On a related note, the Amazon Kindle has a little-known feature that can have the device read a book to you in a human-like voice.

3. Anytime, Anywhere Availability

Feel like picking up a new book but you realize it's after 9 p.m.? Your local bookstore might be closed. No worries, as you can shop for new books 24/7 when it's done through a digital bookstore on the Internet. And you won't need to hop in your car and fight through traffic either. Regardless of the time or place, you can browse and buy new e-books for your favorite reader via Wi-Fi or in some cases, 3G (cellular) connectivity. And just like you can at retail, it's possible to see what's new and popular, browse by theme or use the search option. With most e-bookstores, you can begin reading the purchased e-book about a minute after you've clicked or tapped to download it to the device.

4. Built-in Dictionary

If you're unsure of a word's meaning, most e-book readers offer a handy built-in dictionary. Depending on the model, simply tap the text or press a button and the highlighted word will be defined for you, including its correct pronunciation, type of word (e.g. noun, verb, adjective) and an example of how the world might be used in a sentence. Don't try this with your paperback. In fact, rewind just a few years and if you didn't understand a word you either skipped over it or had to pull out a paper dictionary to look it up (or were forced to ask someone what it meant). On a related note, some e-books let you highlight words (ideal for students), make annotations or jot down notes.

5. Save Money

Generally speaking, electronic books are less expensive than paper books. On BN.com, for example, ordering a paper copy of Kathryn Stockett's The Help costs about $20 but the Nook e-book version is under $10. Similarly, on Borders.com, you can buy Sandra Brown's Lethal for nearly $20 — but it's under $15, digitally, at KoboBooks.com. This isn't always the case, mind you — Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding: A Novel is only $2 cheaper in digital form at Amazon.com — but more often than not there's quite a price difference. Also, keep in mind many e-book readers let you rent books digitally from your local library if they support the open ePub format; the day they're due they simple expire unless you renew it online, but at least there's no overdue fees!

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