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What device to read electronic books?

  1. May 28, 2016 #1

    I'm studying physics for two years now and I have never bought a book [thanks to professor's notes, free and "free" books on the web].
    I got tired of using the laptop, so I need something to read ebooks (pdf and djvu mainly and also epub).
    Is it better for this purpose an ebook reader or a tablet?
    Can you recommend something?

    Thank you.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2016 #2


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    If you are reading technical texts you need a tablet, because you will need to refer back and forth often to look up theorems and definitions that are quoted. Doing that is too slow on an ebook reader, which have slower processors (to prolong battery life) and slower page rendering technology.

    ebook readers are great for reading novels, or anything else that can be read linearly with not much referring back and forth. The big advantages of ebook readers are that the battery lasts enormously longer, that they can be read in bright sunlight, they are less tiring on the eyes and they are less of a thief-magnet.

    I read mathematical papers on a tablet, but novels, essays and humanities papers on an ebook reader.

    If one wants to have only one device, then it has to be a tablet, and one has to just put up with having to charge it every day and not being able to enjoy reading it in a sunny garden, beach or park.
  4. May 29, 2016 #3


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    Also note: most ebook devices I know are poor at displaying pdf documents, and these dominate science publications.
  5. May 29, 2016 #4
    I agree with the posts above. I would strongly recommend Kindle for novels, but reading PDFs on it is awful so I wouldn't buy it for your purposes.
    Definitely go for tablet or ereaders specifically developed for reading scientific PDF documents. I saw such devices when I was searching for an ereader but it was quite a long time ago and I forgot what brand it was.
  6. May 29, 2016 #5
    I agree with andrewkirk.

    Another note is that if in the end you decide to go with a tablet, be sure to choose one with a good bright display if you are planning on using it in sunlit areas. Check this out:

    The devices mentioned there are a little old, but it may guide you to choose a proper tablet if you decide to go with one and if it is that you are planning to use it on bright places. I tell you because by experience, some tablets have terrible screens that reflect a lot of light. Mine is like an opaque mirror.

    You can search for the keywords: "tablet screen brightness" to get multiple results about specifications and recommendations on different websites.
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