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Why you should get a cheap ereader

An ereader just means any type of digital device that can display written books. To be fair, your computer screen is an ereader. Your iPad is an ereader. Your smart phone is an ereader. But the best way to read ebooks is on a dedicated, and cheap, ereader. Please let me explain.

There are two ways to read books on a digital device - the way that you are reading now, on an LCD (Liquid Crystal Diode) screen or on an e-ink screen. An LCD screen, such as the computer screen that you are looking at right now (or your phone) lights up and using red, green, and blue to create all of the colors of the rainbow. It works well, but for reading books, it has some drawbacks.

The disadvantages of reading an ebook on an LCD screen are

• Staring at light shining in your eyes is annoying. We can do a little bit of it, such as surfing the web, looking at our phones, or watching a movie, but up close, the way a book is read, it is harsh.

• LCD screen devices are expensive. You can buy a dedicated ereader, with a black-and-white screen, using e-ink, for a fraction of the cost of an LCD device. And it's letters on a page, why in the world would you need a color screen?

• LCD devices run down batteries fast. An ereader that uses e-ink hardly uses any power at all. I charge my Kobo every few weeks.

The principle of an reader using e-ink is similar to the old etch-a-sketches (if you remember them). The image does not light up, it appears on the screen through a process of tiny magnetic attraction. The only power it needs is when you turn a page, it "re-shuffles" the information.

I've had my Kobo for many years. I realize that it won't last forever, but when it does stop working, the good news is that it won't be expensive to replace.