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Should you bother with ereaders?

Q. Kim, my trusty ereader is on the way out and I’d like to upgrade. But should I just buy a tablet instead?
- Lisa, from Merced, CA, listens to my national radio show on KSTE 650 AM


A. Great timing on that question, Lisa. You might have heard that Amazon introduced a new version of its Kindle Paperwhite ereader this week.

This latest Kindle has a higher-contrast display, a speedy processor and the latest touch-screen technology. You can check out the full specs in my ereader comparison chart.

But as you know, you don’t need a dedicated ereader to enjoy ebooks. If you own a smartphone, tablet or regular old computer, there are plenty of free ebook apps that can turn your gadget into a lean, mean, reading machine.

This begs the question: Do you really need to own an ereader to enjoy ebooks?

Before I give you my take, I’m going to talk about ways to enjoy ebooks without an ereader. Not everyone reading might know about some of these.

Just a few years ago, you needed a Kindle, Nook or other dedicated ereader. That’s not the case today.

With bigger screens and bright, high-resolution displays, many people are turning their smartphones into ereaders.

Both Amazon and Apple, to name a few, offer free ebook apps that look great on smartphones. There are the Kindle app and iBooks app, respectively.

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