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eReaders vs. Tablets

by Shannon C - 3 Comment(s)

Thinking of buying an eReader or tablet? You’re in good company. More and more stalwart print book fans are purchasing eReaders and tablets this holiday season. And with your Calgary Public Library card you can download “all sorts of awesomeness” like free eBooks and eMagazines from our website.

What do you need to know when buying an eReader or tablet? Read on!

Can I borrow eBooks from the Library?

With your library card you can download free eBooks from our OverDrive and Freading collections and eMagazines through Zinio like US Weekly, The Economist, Martha Stewart Living, Rolling Stone and over 350 others.

Which devices can I use to borrow Library ebooks and eMagazines?

Many of today’s popular devices work with OverDrive, Freading:

Kobo Arc 7HDKobo Arc 7HDeReaders

  • Kobo Aura, Glo, Mini, Touch
  • Sony Reader WiFi, Touch
  • Barnes and Noble Nook


  • Kobo Vox and Arc
  • Blackberry Playbook
  • iPad, iPad Mini, iPod Touch
  • Microsoft Surface
  • Barnes and Noble Nook
  • Samsung Galaxy
  • Google Nexus
  • Sony WiFi-PRS-T1
  • Kindle Fire

Zinio eMagazines can be viewed on any computer, tablet or smartphone through a two-step process.

Want to download Library eBooks? Search OverDrive’s list of compatible and incompatible devices to make sure your chosen device is compatible. Note that some of the newer devices won’t yet be included on the list. 

Considering a Kindle? You can use the Kindle Fire tablet with OverDrive in Canada by downloading the OverDrive Media Console app to your device. The Kindle Fire works with Freading also, with a few extra steps.

Which eReader or tablet should I buy?

Do your research before buying a new device. We have Consumer Reports in print at all our locations and you can access it online in our E-Library (have your library card ready)!

Here are a few things to consider when making a purchase:

  • Cost: Prices are generally lower for eReaders than for tablets. Expect to pay between $80 to $400 for an eReader. Tablets cost from $200 to $850 depending on storage size and connectivity.
  • Weight: eReaders are lighter than tablets — the Kobo Mini weighs in at 134 grams, while the Apple iPad2 weighs 1.33 pounds. Try a friend’s if you can or try a few out at the store to see what feels most comfortable to you.
  • Screen Size: The Kobo Mini measures only 4 inches by 5 inches while tablets like the Apple’s iPad are double that at 7 by 10 inches, closer to the size of a magazine, or hard cover book.
  • Screen type: In general, tablets have LCD screens and are back-lit, emitting their own light, but the print can be less sharp. EReaders have e-ink (electronic ink) screens that reduce glare and reflections in bright-light conditions, but rely on reflected ambient light to light up the screen.
  • Functionality: What do you want to do with your device? Do you just want to read, read and read some more? If that’s the case you might want to choose an eReader, specifically designed to create a great reading experience. If you want to do more with your device, like search the Internet, download apps, take photos and watch video, choose a tablet.
  • Battery Life: Tablets use a lot more energy than eReaders do, due to their screen type and processing power, and need frequent charging with high-use. EReaders on the other hand can go for weeks without charging.

iPad AiriPad AirFor more information visit:

How can I learn about borrowing eBooks from the Library?

We offer great programs on getting started with eBooks at the Library:

  • eBooks: A Library on the Go
    Library staff demonstrate how to download an eBook using OverDrive, and answer your questions.
  • The eBook Doctor
    Drop in for one-on-one help with your eBook and E-Reader questions and learn how to use OverDrive and Freading.

Check back December 16 for our 2014 programs — they fill up fast!

What if I need more help?

Check out our Getting Started information for OverDrive, Freading and Zinio online.

Still not finding what you need? Feel free to call us at 403-260-2782 and our staff will be happy to help!



This Post Comments RSS 2.0
by Agothy

I think amazon had the most vast collecton of books.I never used kobo or any other readers since im always happy with the kindle readers.Well also it does have a lot of free books and lending options.Anyway good to know there are other options for ebook readers.Also found the same point on

by Carol Lee Burnstein

thanks, very helpful!

by Anonymous
I have a Sony ereaders and my husband has a Kobo. We both download books from the library. It is a great way to get your books. It should be noted that the day the book expires it no longer accessible by your ereaders. This is good and bad. Good because you no longer have any late fees. Bad because you may not have been done reading the book. On occasions I have power read when I went the book was about to expire. Sometimes once it expires you can just download it again but if it has a hold on it you will have to wait. I have read only a half of a few books now. That's frustrating. Oh and the Kobo does not indicate the days until the book expires (unless they have changed that in recent versions). But we do really like this service. It is easy to use and very economical. ??

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