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Resident Mike Smothers is president of Smothers Computer Services based in Ahwatukee Foothills. Send questions to mike@smotherscomputers.com or call (480) 753-7667.

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Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2012 6:00 pm

I love watching “Seinfeld!” I can watch the same episode numerous times and never get tired of it. I especially like how they develop certain characters and phrases. One of my favorite phrases is “one of those guys” who do or say certain things that brand them as different from George and Jerry, such as a guy who can walk right up to a complete strange girl and ask her out. George and Jerry could never do that because they were not “one of those guys.”

I never fancied myself as “one of those guys” who would have an eReader. As an avid reader, I love the feel of a book. I love the smell of a book. I love to spend hours hanging out in bookstores. In short, I love books! So when the idea of an eReader was proposed to me on a camping trip a couple of years ago by my son (who shares my same passion of reading), I was a bit cool to the idea. I responded saying, “I love the feel of a book. I love the smell of a book…” To my surprise, on Christmas morning I opened the gift of a Kindle from my son and my life has never been the same. I have crossed over the threshold and now can proudly say I am “one of those guys” who takes his Kindle to coffee shops, the park, in fact, I take my Kindle everywhere because I never know when I may have an few extra minutes with nothing to do, so why not read a few pages?

Which eReader is right for you? How do you get the books? How does all this work?

There are a number of eReaders available, including the Kindle by Amazon, the Nook by Barnes and Noble, the Kindle Fire, again by Amazon, and, of course, the iPad, which can be used for reading books. Some of the eReaders are proprietary, like the Kindle and Kindle Fire and Nook so you can only get books by Amazon and Barnes and Noble, respectively. There are books you can get for free at the library and online that are compatible with these readers, but many times these are the classics or old, outdated books. If the classics are your passion, you may look into this area as a source of free literature. Personally, I prefer the latest, up-to-date information on a topic of interest so this is not something I take advantage of, but one of my most recent customers told me she uses the library often to get free books for her reader.

For all intents and purposes, books compatible with Kindle and Kindle Fire can be purchased from Amazon. Barnes and Noble developed its Nook to be compatible with books from Barnes and Noble stores. These may seem like drawbacks in some cases since there is not the flexibility of being able to shop Barnes and Noble for your Kindle and Amazon for your Nook, but both stores have such a huge selection of eBooks that this argument does not hold water for me. Devices like the iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Kobo, and others do have the flexibility of being able to shop most anywhere for books due to the compatibility with apps (applications) that allow these devices to do a huge variety of tasks.

Books for your reader can be purchased online and downloaded to your reader if connected to your wireless router, or directly to your computer, using a USB cord. The costs of the eBooks are generally a fraction of the cost of regular paperbacks or hard covers and there are no disposal issues. I have boxes of books in my garage just waiting for a book sale or some charitable organization. In fact, I promised one of my clients I would give her a box of JD Robb and Nora Roberts books, but I have forgotten who this client was. I will be happy to fulfill this promise if that client would contact me. I can use the garage space!

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Mike Smothers is president of Smothers Computer Repair Services. Send questions to mike@smotherscomputers.com or call (480) 753-7667.

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