Choose an E-reader the healthy way. Stand up for life!

I won my first e-reader in author Brinda Berry’s contest during her Whisper of Memory release celebration. Thank you, Brinda! To say the least, I was excited when it finally arrived two weeks ago. It was my fault it took so long because I read reviews before ordering, and then I thought about it a while before deciding. I didn’t want to make a mistake because I plan to use it until it wears out.

I picked the old style Kindle 3G with a keyboard over the other Kindles and Nooks. You can see the April 25, 2012 article from PC Magazine by Jamie Lendino and Wendy Sheehan Donnell here. The editor’s pick is the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight. The editor must read in the dark. How and where you read is a big consideration. I pasted the chart below so you can compare the features.

As you can see, this chart doesn’t cover the more expensive readers. For those, you can read CNET’s 5 May 2012 article by John P. Falcone here. He covers 7 important questions, including whether you want other features on your reader besides reading. I do. So why didn’t I choose a tablet?

Actually, I already have a convertible netbook/tablet for traveling and my choir director duties. It’s a Dell Duo with a nice speaker docking station I use to play music for choir when our pianist isn’t there. I chose it because partly for its small size so it won’t have to count as a separate carry-on for airlines. The other deciding factors were its OS, Windows 7 premium, and its large hard drive, 320GB vs 32GB for Android tablets. As a writer, the ability to use Word on a Windows 7 operating system was an important factor. But I hear ASUS has the next best word processing program.

I like everything about the Inspiron Duo except its battery life (under 3 hours) and screen visibility in bright sunlight. Dell doesn’t offer the combo with the speaker dock nright now, but you can still get it on Amazon, here. I wouldn’t at the current price. I paid $399 on Newegg before Christmas. I would wait to see what new version Dell offers later in the year or buy one used if you really want it and don’t want to wait.

With this sweet setup using Kindle for pc to read .mobi books and Calibre for pc to read Nook .epub format books, why would I want a separate e-reader? And why the old-fashioned Kindle 3G? Well, one is that screen visibility in sunlight concern, and the other is the Duo gets heavy after 2 miles of walking. I’ve walked for years to build my bones because I got osteoporosis when I was under 40 years old. I now walk in the sunlight because the body needs Vitamin D to absorb calcium, and pills weren’t working.

Doctors never tell women that bedrest takes 5% of bone every month, and if the woman is young enough, under 35, she’ll get back a maximim of 5% a year, not month. I was put to bed for too many pregnancies and found out I had osteoporosis when I broke 5 ribs coughing right before my last child was born–past the magic age of 35.

That may be more than you wanted to know, but I’m not the only person who should choose an e-reader based partly on health considerations. Sitting is bad unless you want a heart attack. People who sit all day are as subject to heart disease as smokers. Put that in your pipe, but don’t smoke it. I take my own advice to heart (pun) even when I’m using my laptop to write. I put it on a stand above my desk and work while standing, at least until my feet get too sore. Then I take a break or work sitting for a while or take a walk.

As for the e-reading, here’s how I decided to read the healthy way.

I eliminated the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet first. From all the internet review sites I visited, I confirmed that the screens aren’t very readable in bright sunlight. Considering the fact that I do almost all of my reading outside while walking, I was sad to realize these weren’t for me. No amoled screen like some phones you can see in daylight, but maybe that will change in future versions.

The Kindle Fire also doesn’t have free 3G internet. Neither do any of the other Kindles or Nooks, although some have 3G for downloading books. The Kindle 3G has real web browsing ability which I wanted for reading emails and checking twitter and facebook when I travel away from big cities. My Virgin Mobile phone often doesn’t get reception in the boonies using Sprint’s network, but the old fashioned Kindle 3G uses AT&T’s more widespread network. I didn’t expect to watch movies, just do the basics.

The second reason I wanted the Kincle 3G is it’s keyboard. I’m lousy at typing on touch screens. Maybe it’s because of my cold fingers. Maybe my astigmatism makes me hit the keys wrong. Whatever the reason,  physical keys work for me. Now I can make notes of mistakes I find in books when I’m beta reading or reviewing for other authors. I found over a hundred problems in Artemis Fowl 5 before I notified Disney of the formatting errors. The point is that now I can point at what I want and mark it all while I’m on my feet, outside, working to stay healthy. In a profession where a lot of us turn into desk-potatoes, if not couch potatoes, I think I prefer the slight risk of tripping and falling over the risk of heart attack and a body that looks like a marshmallow.

I’d love to hear what you think.

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Interesting post, Sher. Good food for thought. 🙂

  2. It’s all about what works for you! Everyone has different needs.
    I wanted everything – that’s why I’m on my third iPad.

  3. Thanks, Melissa. That food idea is part of why I stand up too. It burns more calories so I can eat more, LOL!

    Alex, my son loves everything Apple but they’ve always cost more than I’ve been willing to spend. The important part is to use whatever reader or tablet you choose on your feet instead of your behind.

  4. I still love my Kindle Fire, although I haven’t tried using it out in bright sunlight yet. It’s great for the occasional quick game fix (Plants vs Zombies, Angry Birds, etc.) when I have 5 or 10 minutes available. My wife uses it all the time throughout the day. I mostly use it when I go to bed – where I not only use it as an e-reader, but also to do some light editing on my WIP.

    • I should note that I exchanged an email with Ken to find out what app he used to convert his manuscript to .mobi. It turned out he bought a $15 app that lets him edit word documents on his Kindle. I didn’t even know that was possible. On rare occasion, I edit in bed too. But I take my own advice about staying upright until my feet can’t stand standing anymore.

  5. I got my first ereader from my hubs and son for my birthday quite some time ago and I also went with the Kindle 3G and have not been sorry. I like that my reader can be used from most countries around the world and that is important to me. I also have a couple others including a Kobo that does not suite me as well, and recently saved up all my shekels and gifts given to me and got a Kindle Fire, which is a fun toy and I am able to see the really pretty covers of my books in color – I will admit that at times I am one of those mood readers and if a pretty cover grabs me, that is the next read LOL, but is is also more limited in where it is able to be used as it is only wifi and no 3G. I so agree with you that it is important to research and find what will meet your individual needs. Thanks for sharing this excellent post, I have talked with lots of folks who say what kind of reader should I get and yep – I say research and check them out 🙂

    • Good to hear from you, Denise. I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in being old-fashioned, if e-reading in any form can be labeled that way. I’m a sucker for a pretty cover too. Acquiring things that attract us is in our nature. Maybe now you can point those people who need to research e-readers to my blog. It’s a start. Thanks!

  6. This post is great. I think anyone who is doing comparison shopping should just read this post. You are certainly thorough! I read on my iPad and my husband has an older model Kindle (which he loves). I thought about getting him a Kindle Fire for his birthday, but I’m not so sure after reading this. Thank you very much for mentions.

  7. Wow! nice collection of tabs, Thank you for displaying all its features. I am planning to buy Kindle fire tab.

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