Summer Reading Tech Guide

One of summer’s greatest pleasures is retreating with a good book. But bookworms looking to escape emails and social media won’t need to swear off technology entirely. Read on to learn about the top e-readers, how to get affordable audiobooks, and where to find great book recommendations online.

The Best E-reader for your Budget

The Amazon Kindle dominates the e-reader market thanks to its lightweight design, easy-to-read screen, and the enormous selection of e-books available in its store. The basic Kindle ($80) is an excellent entry point if you’re on a budget, but upgrade to the Kindle Paperwhite ($120) to get the built-in adjustable light.

The Kindle Voyage ($200) (pictured at top) offers two features that justify its higher price. First, the Voyage’s PagePress buttons make it a breeze to quickly flip through pages. Secondly, the screen’s brightness automatically adjusts to your surroundings. If you’re reading at night, the light will slowly turn down over time as your eyes adjust to the darkness.

The deluxe model is the Kindle Oasis ($290), which has the best screen display and the lightest weight of any e-reader. Additionally, the luxurious leather case contains a built-in battery that will keep the Oasis charged for months.

If you’re looking for an e-reader that can survive the extreme outdoors, go with the Kobo Aura H2O ($180). While it’s a bit bulkier than the Kindles, the Kobo’s case is dust- and waterproof, making it perfect for rainy camping trips or beach excursions.

On the Road with Audiobooks

Audiobooks are perfect for cross-country road trips, but can be pricey. A way to get affordable audiobooks is to join Audible. This subscription service features 180,000 titles, and each month you get a credit that can be used to buy one audiobook of your choice. While a subscription costs $15 a month, keep in mind that you can use the credit to buy audiobooks that would otherwise cost perhaps $30 or more. Once you buy a title, it’s yours to keep forever, and the Audible app makes it simple to download your books to any mobile device. If you want to give the service a try, you can sign up for a free month.

While OverDrive may not have as large a selection as Audible, many popular titles can be checked out for free with a valid library card. King County Library was one of the winners of the “Million Checkout Club,” with more than 3 million audiobooks downloaded last year.

Find your Next Favorite Read

Finally, I wanted to mention my favorite site for discovering new books: Goodreads. Once you create a free account, you will get new recommendations based on your favorite titles, as well as see what your friends are reading. The site also features intriguing interviews with authors, lively discussion groups, and upcoming local events. You can even spend your summer trying to beat your friends in ongoing reading challenges.

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