Going away this bank holiday? Keep on top of your reading with help from the latest technology
The May Bank Holiday provides a rare moment to draw breath and catch up with all that reading you promised to do when you made your New Year’s resolutions back in January. Thankfully, technology is making it easier to read that new bestseller or forgotten classic on holiday without having to sacrifice half your luggage to allow for a weighty book in your suitcase.
Here is the O2 Gurus’ advice on how to make the most of the latest in reading tech on your holidays.
Technology has changed the publishing industry – not just the way literature is produced, but also the way we consume it. E-books, and the e-readers through which they are accessed, are the clearest demonstration of this major industry change. Light and physically compact, they’re loved for their portability and are ideal for reading whilst on holiday. E-readers do exactly what they say on the tin – they’re free of frills or other apps, meaning you can concentrate on your text without any distractions. They also offer excellent battery life, easily scrollable text, and dictionary functions to look up new words.
E-readers have advanced substantially since the technology first appeared back in 2006. Most, such as the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, come with screens that are viewable both in the dark and in bright, direct sunlight, making them ideal for use on the beach or on an overnight flight. The slim and sleek Kobo Aura, meanwhile, is one of the most aesthetically pleasing options, offering impressively sharp resolution and first-rate social features.
E-readers are great for those looking to escape the hustle of the modern world, but if you’re looking for a device that can do a bit more, tablets may be for you. They allow access to a greater variety of reading material, including several magazines and apps exclusive to the platform. Books which prioritise images, such as comic books and graphic novels, tend to look better on their high spec screens, too.
Apple’s iPad remains the market leader, offering unrivalled app selection and impressive performance levels. Amazon’s response, Kindle Fire is a far cheaper option which adds new functions and improved specs (including a much demanded colour screen) to the traditional Kindle device, whilst Google’s Nexus 7 is a great alternative if you prefer Android devices.
Book apps give you access to millions of different texts on the go. Apple’s iBooks is an inevitable market leader, offering a vast selection of titles alongside high-resolution Retina Display and iCloud compatibility. Amazon’s Kindle app provides a similar service for those e-books you’ve bought from Amazon, as well as access to over 18,000 free titles. These apps are a fantastic resource – just make sure you’ve updated your device before heading aboard to avoid incurring unwanted roaming charges.
Many other innovative apps are helping tech-savvy readers supplement and enhance their reading experience. Goodreads is the ultimate literature community app, giving vast numbers of readers the opportunity to share their reviews, use a barcode scanner to keep track of their library, and stay on top of the latest book trends and news. Keep an eye out for Spritz, the tool that claims to speed-up your reading rate to up to 1,000 words a minute. Operating on the basis that the majority of reading time is spent moving your eyes from one word to the next, Spritz displays one word at a time and focuses your eye on the part of the word which your brain can interpret the quickest. It’s already available as an app, but may soon be used as a feature on other platforms such as the Kindle.
Creative app designers are pushing publishing forward into new inventive spaces. Our Choice, a reworking of Al Gore’s 2009 book about the environment, is the first effort by Push Pop Press which turns the book into an interactive tool featuring charts, high resolution images and animations. The growth of interactive books has the potential to dramatically overhaul the publishing industry.
Reading tech is about far more than just tablets and smartphones – there’s also a whole host of gadgets that can improve your reading experience on holiday. The Breffo Spiderpodium, a sturdy yet portable stand for your tablet, is a top accessory for on-the-go reading. It’s highly flexible and can be folded down or even scrunched into a small ball to allow for easy transportation to warmer climes. If you know you’re going to be stuck on a long haul flight, the Night Owl LED Reading lamp is an ideal companion: clip it on to your reading glasses and it will illuminate your text in a dark place. Smaller than a regular book light, it takes up minimal space in your carry-on luggage and won’t annoy those passengers around you trying to catch some shut-eye.
How else would you like to see technology used to aid reading whilst on holiday? Tweet us at @O2 and let us know what you think.