Reading on the street

Alternatives to printed books: Apps and other ways of reading!

Alternatives to printed books: Apps and other ways of reading!
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Electronic books (E-books) have changed the way we read, downloading any App and start reading. More and more people choose to read on their screens using lots of different apps rather than using paper books. Online bookstores have seen their demand for ebooks grow and few authors would decide to publish their book only as a paper book. Why would they? Traditional printed book sales are dropping, we have a lot of alternatives to reading on paper and some of them are really handy.

Why this change in our habits?

The rise of eBooks is due to several factors. Firstly, they are cheaper: you don’t have to pay for paper or covers (they are also more environmentally friendly). Just think about it, you can even download free books from a lot of websites, there are free novels even on Amazon or you can read lots of stories online available for free on the Internet! (like this one written by the same Stephen King)

E-books also don’t take up space beyond a few kilobytes on a small device, which is very important for people who travel or can’t afford to have tons of bookshelves They’re also easier to transport: you can download and carry hundreds of books in a small device, such as a Kindle or an iPad, and read them anywhere. Finally, many eReaders and applications provide some useful tools: instant dictionary search, quick annotations, underlining, you can translate words into multiple languages and even add multimedia links or search on Wikipedia.

Of course, paper books will always have their place. Lots of us love the aesthetical pleasure books bring, we love to collect them on our shelves and we enjoy the feeling of the paper. Or even, we love their smell! I guess there is some weird romance here too…
It’s true that you lose all of this when you read using an alternative to paper books. But, for the vast majority of readers, the benefits far outweigh this. Downloading books is part of our future, so it’s good to know all the possible alternatives to printed books.

 What are the main alternatives to paper books?

Perhaps the best known are electronic readers (or Ereaders), which can hold hundreds of ebooks. They can be used anywhere, as they do not need to be wifi or be connected to electricity. In addition, they are specifically designed to read on them, so the screen does not damage your sight no matter how much it is used. Their main drawback is that they are somewhat expensive for “only reading” and although they are light, they occupy a space that must be taken into account.

Another alternative is the mobile phone, no matter if Android or iOs. We take it with us everywhere and they have a great capacity to accumulate books. We can read anywhere without worrying about taking extra items with us. There is also no extra cost while you can do other things like playing video games, listen to music or watch videos. The main drawback is that it is not optimized as a reading device, so it is not always comfortable to read on it. In addition, the direct light of the screen may cause eye damage and also, due to the size of most of the cellphones, they can cause many eye-related symptoms like dry eyes, fatigue or blurred vision.

Finally, there are those who choose to read on a tablet or iPad. They are more comfortable to use because they are larger, and, like a mobile phone, they can be used for more things than reading at no extra cost. The main disadvantage is, apart from the screen light, that they are not comfortable to take everywhere. They are not the best choice, for example, on a trip or on public transport. This may depend on the size of your tablet though, but if too small, they may damage your eyes as cellphones.

The best apps for reading

There are tons of free apps you can download for reading, here are some suggestions:

If you use Amazon as your primary bookstore, the Kindle app is a must. It synchronizes all your Amazon books and has a direct link to the store, which is appreciated. It’s also very convenient to use and has a user-friendly interface.

Google Play Books is also an interesting app: you can buy many titles directly from their story and upload those books that are already on your phone.

If you buy books in several online bookstores, you will need an eReader that supports several formats. An example is FBReader, which supports .epub, .pdf and azw3, among other formats. If you don’t like the interface, you can try Moon+ Reader, with similar features.

Also, have you heard about Spritz? This is actually not an alternative app, but an alternative to the traditional reading itself. When you read, your eyes move from word to word, Spritz removes that. Instead, Spritz shows one word at a time, weird? At first maybe, but you get used in a few minutes, and then you discover it’s really cool.

You also have Wattpad as an alternative, a platform with an audience of more than 65 million users. This website has more than 10 million free books at your disposal, a fantastic way to read online. You can also download the app for free, available for Android cell phones and tablets, which allows you to read books with no internet connection.

What about you? have you gone digital yet? no matter what you choose, as long as you read, I’m happy 😍 If you need some book suggestions what about taking a look at the Freedays book category?  free downloading books every Friday.

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