A visitor holds a Kobo ebook reader in his hands. Photograph:( AFP )
With the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) going on, we believe it’s the perfect time to trigger the book enthusiast in you keep up with technology. We understand that it’s not imperative for people to make a shift from paperbacks to e-books, but what’s the harm in giving something new a try, especially when it is believed to bring along a plethora of benefits?
So, if you are averse to e-books and/or have some inhibitions and doubts about reading on an electronic device, we bring you some simple tips that can make your e-book reading experience as good as reading a paperback - and all that at no cost. But before we start, we would like you to develop some acceptance for e-books, because, as we all know, acceptance is the road to change.
1. Don’t start with a standalone e-book reader: If you are graduating from paperbacks to e-books, we suggest that you go slow. In other words, don’t straight jump on to buy a dedicated e-book reader once you have made up your mind to read e-books. You can do so if you are impulsive enough, but isn’t it better to first figure out if you actually like the taste of e-books? Isn’t it better to give yourself some time with e-books before you invest your hard-earned money in an e-book reader? Therefore, to begin with, you can download a free e-book reader such as Kindle on your phone, get some e-books from legal sources like Project Gutenberg, and make the most of your phone.
2. Download multiple e-book readers: It seems rational to have one e-book reader on your phone, but we advise you to not stick to one e-book reader, and in fact, download at least two. Let’s say, Kindle and Aldiko. This is because e-books are available in different formats and every app doesn’t support all formats. For instance, Kindle doesn’t read the EPUB format, but Aldiko can easily do that for you. So, why to compromise on content when an easy solution is out there for you?
3. Make tweaks before you start reading: Once you have an e-book opened on your e-book reader, don’t start reading as it appears. In fact, make some tweaks so that it is easy on your eyes.
First, increase the text size. For instance, I don’t prefer more than 6 words in a line. Second, invert the colours. So, instead of reading white on black, read black on white, especially when you are reading at night, and reduce the brightness. The screen goes dull and becomes pleasing to the eye. And if required, change the font style too. I personally prefer Helvetica on the Kindle app. And the interesting part here is that with a built-in dictionary you can find the meaning right there without having to leave the screen. In all, you can see what is comfortable for you and make necessary adjustments.
4. Disable WiFi and mobile data: One of the major reasons that an e-book reading experience doesn’t work for many is that people get easily distracted by social media notifications that pop up during the reading time. And the best way to deal with it is by disabling the phone’s WiFi and mobile data when you’re reading on your phone. In addition, it would be better if you could also resist the urge to enable them intermittently.
5. Keep a track of new free e-books: You can easily find free e-books on the Internet, but it gets challenging to keep a track of latest titles becoming available for free. And therefore, we have a simple solution for you to stay up to date and don't lose on new free content. Go to Twitter, type #free #ebooks in the search bar, and voila!
Having said that, while you can buy interesting reading material online, we discourage you to do so, if you are a beginner. Because the purpose here is to help you find out your interest in e-reading without shelling out any money.
And once you find yourself enjoying e-books and/or you think it’s time to upgrade to e-books, you can invest in any e-book reader of your choice.