Parents that want their child to read as much as possible will no doubt consider purchasing an e-reader at some point. These devices put thousands of books and other publications at a child’s fingertips, but they can also be quite the investment and have countless features to choose from. For those that are ready to purchase an e-reader for their own household, here is a look at some of the considerations that must be made to get the best device possible.
The child’s age is going to be one of the most important factors in this process. No matter how mature a younger child may be, handing them an expensive e-reader will be an accident waiting to happen. For children that are under the age of 8, it is generally a good idea to go with an interactive reader instead of an e-reader. Interactive readers will provide a child with the same opportunities to read, but they are also designed to be much sturdier and the publications focus on books for younger children. When a child hits 8 or 9, then parents can decide if it is time to upgrade the device.
The line between tablets and e-readers is incredibly blurry, and these two devices often have identical features. E-readers such as the Kindle Fire actually qualify as a tablet because they have a broad range of functions and features. Parents that want nothing more than books on the device should choose an e-reader that has a paper-like display. These are designed to be used in all lighting conditions and have limited functions outside of downloading and reading books. If the e-reader will be used to play educational games and watch movies, then a tablet or multifunctional e-reader such as the Nook Color will be a better option.
There are third-party websites that can be used to download content for children, but almost every e-reader comes with a designated marketplace for making purchases. This is another major consideration as many parents are partial to companies such as Amazon, Windows, or Apple and would prefer to make all their purchases through a specific marketplace. These companies offer nearly identical books, games, and other downloads, but the payment plans will change slightly.
Even though many manufacturers do tout storage as an important factor, very few children could ever fill up their e-reader. If the e-reader’s storage does fill up, books and other programs can easily be transferred to cloud storage and then uploaded whenever they are wanted. Battery life, on the other hand, is one factor that should be carefully researched. E-readers with paper-like displays generally base their battery life off of how many times a page is turned while tablets with LCD displays typically have a battery life ranging from 5 to 8 hours with moderate use.
After parents have narrowed down their choices, they should then try to find a local store and let their children get a feel for each device. Even if the e-reader will be purchased online, it is difficult to gauge the ergonomics and design of a mobile device without actually holding it. Once an e-reader has been chosen, a child will have access to millions of books, educational games, movies, TV shows, and other invaluable software.
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