Making Your eReader Your Friend

POSTED ON July 30, 2017 BY Austine IN Discussion

You’re running out of shelf space. You want to carry hundreds of books with you at once. You received an eARC. You want to take advantage of eBook deal prices. 

You need to use your eReader and it’s not an enjoyable experience because staring at that screen is a struggle.

Obviously this doesn’t apply to everyone. Some readers have zero issues with their eReaders but for those like me who struggle to use them after an hour or so, reading eBooks can be a pain. Up until recently:

e-Books = migraines

It sucked. And I wanted to start enjoying eBooks more.

To give you an idea of what I’ve used, I own a Barnes & Noble Nook HD, a Kindle Fire, and most recently purchased a Kindle Paperwhite. I’ve also used my phone and my laptop to read books depending on the format.

For the record, I don’t recommend reading on a computer screen. Ever.

I’m also prone to migraines. Have been since I was a kid and it hasn’t gone away. Sometimes medicine helps, sometimes it doesn’t, but having to take pain killers every time I want to read an eBook just plain sucks.

I know I’m not the only one who struggles with headaches and eReaders so I wanted to talk a bit about my experience with the ones I’ve used.


An e-Reader Breakdown

I started out with the original first gen Nook as my introduction to eReaders. It had the e-ink screen with a color touch section at the very bottom. The minimal touch screen was a pain to use and there was no backlight on the text portion of the screen, but it served its purpose. I eventually passed it on to a family member in favor of a Kindle Fire because I’d started to review books more and the Kindles work really nicely with the online services like NetGalley and Edelweiss, much nicer than the Nooks.

I loved my Kindle Fire, but still had a lot of eBooks on Barnes & Noble so I also bought a used Nook HD and rotated between the two devices. The Nook HD works basically like a tablet. You have access to the Google Play Store plus all your books and social media apps. The Kindle Fire offered similar access though was limited to the Amazon store, and I didn’t find the set-up as nicely for doing anything but reading which was fine. It’s all I use them for but if you want an eReader that does multiple things, I found the Nook HD more user friendly.

Both gave me headaches after a while. Even using the Blue Shade option on the Kindle Fire didn’t help much. So I caved and bought the Kindle Paperwhite.

I am in no way affiliated with Amazon but I want to say that the Paperwhite has saved my eBook reading experience. No headaches. No migraines. No issues whatsoever. It’s been fabulous. If I had to recommend an eReader of all the ones I’ve used, it would be the Kindle Paperwhite.


Working with your e-Reader

I know that not everyone can have the eReader of their dreams but I’ve learned a few ways to help combat the headaches that you can consider when planning to read an eBook.

Read in a well-lit room. Don’t strain your eyes by reading an eBook in the dark if you can avoid it. The harsh light from many eReader screens will hurt your eyes after a while and can cause headaches.

Set the screen color to a comfortable option. Most eReaders allow you to change the page color of your book. Personally, I use the Sepia/beige/tan option on mine because it’s not as harsh as black on white. Pick what works for you.

Take advantage of the Blue Shade option. My Nook doesn’t have this feature but my Kindle Fire does. If you have it, you can adjust the blue shade to whatever level is comfortable for your eyes. It will help when reading later at night.

There’s also a computer app called f.lux that I HIGHLY recommend that automatically makes your screen color warmer the later it gets based on your location and the sunrise/sunset.

Enlarge the text size. There’s no use squinting at your screen when you can make the text bigger. Don’t strain your eyes when you don’t need to!

Don’t try to read an eBook if your eyes already feel strained or you have a headache. Even if you need to read that book, it’s not worth the trouble of making the pain worse.

Pick an eReader that works for youIf you’re someone who wants to read a lot of eBooks, pick a device that suits your needs. If you want something that also works as a tablet, Nooks can be a great option. If you want a full color screen that makes it easier to read at night, the Kindle Fire might be a better choice. And if you just want your eReader to read and nothing else, I recommend the Kindle Paperwhite over all others due to the e-ink feature and adjustable backlight.


Obviously my experience and this post is based around what I’ve had the chance to use but I’d love to hear from y’all!

Do you have any tips/tricks for reading eBooks? Have a favorite device? Leave a comment!

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13 responses to “Making Your eReader Your Friend

  1. I love my Kindle e-ink…it’s before the paperwhite so its only drawback is the lack of backlight. Sometimes library ebooks leave ghost copies that stay forever and it’s strange.
    Then I have my Kindle Fire but I don’t use it often bc it is not easy with DOC files like the ARCs from NG or Edelweiss: they keep them separate from your books. Most of the time I just use my iPhone or iPad and the Kindle app…everything syncs and it’s right there but you do have the distraction of being able to check your email or go on Twitter…so it’s not good for an easily distracted reader.
    I think ebooks are great for actual reading and physical books are great for visually seeing your library. (I read my physical books and I’m always worried about hurting them when I carry them around…but that defeats the purpose of reading)!

    • I looked at the e-inks but I do a lot of reading at night so the backlight was a pretty big selling point for me with the paperwhite.

      I can’t say I’ve ever had issues with the Fire in terms of NetGalley or Edelweiss. Yes, they store in the Docs but I just have a shortcut on my home screen so they’re easily accessible.

      I love reading on my paperwhite now, sometimes more than physical books, but it’s more of a convenience thing vs being afraid of damage. Pretty careful with my books lol

  2. Anna

    I want to invest in a kindle paperwhite. I just use the kindle app on my iPad but sometimes the screen causes glaring and that creates a headache. Sounds like a kindle paperwhite would definitely help with that.

    • Having switched from the regular Kindle Fire to the Paperwhite, I can honestly see a huge difference. I can read for SEVERAL hours on the PW with no issues at all (and no glare which is nice). I’d definitely recommend it!

  3. I highly recommend the Kindle Paperwhite as well. It’s the only ereader I’ve tried, but I’ve had it for three years and I’m really happy with it. The screen technology doesn’t wage war on your eyes — it feels like you’re reading actual pages. And it’s really comfortable to read with when I’m tired and have to lie down.

    (And I totally agree on the hell that is reading on a computer screen.)

    Inge recently posted: Of Wonderland Has A New Look!
    • I honestly wish I’d picked it first before my others because it would’ve been the one lol. I think I fell in love with the idea of a full color touch screen that acted almost like a tablet but then I ended up never using them like one so I really didn’t need those bells and whistles. But I ADORE my paperwhite now!

  4. I have a Nook Glowlight and I love it! It sounds like virtually the same thing as the Kindle Paperwhite, though it has been a bit of a struggle with Netgalley ARCs. I definitely think using an ereader with an e-ink screen as opposed to the blue light of a tablet screen is the way to go, personally!

    • I agree! And yeah, the issues with the Books and NetGalley are one of the main reasons I went with a Kindle instead so I could just send stuff automatically to my device, from NG/Edelweiss as well as using a free program on my laptop to do the same.

  5. I have the same problem with the Kindle app on my tablet, but I’m put off the Paperwhite because a lot of the eBooks I read are library books via Overdrive & I’m not sure that’s available on the Paperwhite because – like you say – it’s just an e-reader, nothing else

    • I’ve used it with Overdrive and my local library and works great! I tend to use Overdrive online and my library offers the choice between an ePub file and Kindle so I just pick the Kindle file and it sends it to my device through Amazon, super easy!

      The paperwhite just doesn’t do stuff like social media and other apps.

  6. Thank you for this Austine. I’ve been living with chronic migraines since February 2009. I’m usually an avid reader and swore I would be an even bigger book nerd with the advent of e-readers. Not so.

    In November 2012 I was considering getting the 1st gen Kindle Paperwhite but settled on the 6″ E-ink Kindle because ‘I didn’t need no stinking gimmick’ to read a book. I quickly regretted the decision because of migraines and eye strain and rarely used it in 4 years.

    In April of this year I was going to pull the trigger on the Paperwhite but picked up the Kindle Fire 8″ HD because of the colors and so much more – plus it has a reader built in. I got this!

    No, I don’t. I use it primarily for watching Prime video and playing Word Twist. I usually end up downloading epubs from Overdrive and reading on my computer which makes me less mobile.

    The fact that you’ve used the Fire and prefer the Paperwhite speaks volumes. I love the feel of a physical book, but don’t necessarily want to lug around Shogun by James Clavell or Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace at 1152 and 1088 pages respectively.

    I’ve got some thinking to do.

    Thank you again, Austine.

    • I hope that some of these tips are useful to you! I use Overdrive with the Paperwhite and it’s fabulous (I just download the Kindle .mobi version of a book instead of ePubs). The full color of the Fire is nice but I also love the feel of a physical book and the Paperwhite is a nice substitute when you don’t want to carry around those big books or need the extra shelf space (I’m desperately in need of that haha). Glad you found this helpful!