What if I told you there is a game console for books? I don’t mean you can shove a paperback into the cartridge slot of a game system and play it. I’m talking about a single purpose device designed to do one thing, but instead of playing games, it’s dedicated to reading books.
The digital gadget for such wordplay is the…eReader.
The Book Console
As I rediscovered my Kindle Paperwhite recently, with the joy of long-form reading, I realized something about it for the first time. Besides being a unique kind of gadget, the reason I like it so much is because it’s tailor-made for book reading. It excels at what it does, which makes reading books super easy.
To get a better idea, consider the comparison: as a game console is to a computer, so is an eReader to a tablet.
A computer can play games well, but it also must take on many other tasks. It’s a system with much potential, which also means greater potential for failure. While it can be fun to geek out and tweak a gaming PC to play the latest first-person shooter at max settings, any number of variables can introduce a problem. Such a system requires more management or overhead to play games.
On the other hand, a game console, like the classic Nintendo Entertainment System, is a simplified and laser-focused gaming machine. It removes the many error-prone variables of a gaming PC to create a system that just plays games. There’s almost nothing a player must do to set up. It’s the epitome of plug-n-play.
Likewise, a tablet, smartphone, or a computer can display eBooks for eReading. Text on a screen is kind of a solved problem. But those multipurpose devices are also saddled with other tasks. This can cause distraction for a reader. And like a gaming PC, a tablet — though it’s a simplified computer — is still more complicated than an eReader and is likely more prone to technical issues.
An eReader, though, is much simpler than a tablet; it does one or two things. So I know what I’m going to do with my Kindle every time I pick it up. It’s so focused on book reading that it’s like picking up an actual book, whereas grabbing a tablet or smartphone is like picking up a slot machine for internet access, an entertainment hub, and a communicator all at the same time. At best, a tablet is an eReader with a split personality.
eReaders are like consoles. They make reading eBooks more accessible than other multipurpose devices do, which results in a simple and fulfilling experience. Like the Nintendo systems I’ve owned, which yell, “gameplay,” my Kindle always says, “bookread” (or something like that).
I’ll mention that when compared to either a tablet or an eReader, an actual physical book would be best for the purest reading experience. That said, I prefer eBooks for their added digital benefits.
All this is also another way to extol the virtues of single-purpose devices versus their multipurpose counterparts. After you weigh the pros and cons of them, you pick your preference. For me, a dedicated book console (eReader) is the best way to read eBooks. Its dedicated design is what allows for the best feature of eReading…eInk. And even if a tablet had full-color eInk, it would still also have the myriad of other features that can pull one out of a good book.
A tablet is a slab of glass that can become anything, such as a book. But fancy tablets have a tendency of becoming video playback devices or web browsers more than they do books, at least in my hands. An eReader, though, is a book from the moment I pick it up. My brain is already prepared to dive into a good read as soon as my eyes look for my Kindle. Such is the focus and fulfillment of a single-purpose book console.
Do you prefer to pick up a book, an eReader, or a tablet for reading?