Keep this in mind for all device types!
Reading reviews online.
We really recommend doing your homework before buying a device. We often read reviews on these sites:
- CNet - their review main page, then click on a type of device.
- Android Central - for Android tablets and smartphones.
Does the device fit the needs & life of the person it is for?
Unfortunately, many people do not consider this before purchasing a device. Please think about these things:
- What will they really want to use the device for?
- Audiobooks Only - Tablets aren't very portable and need wifi to continue playing the book (so not good for commuters). A simple MP3 player may be what they need! People who listen to audiobooks while exercising really enjoy MP3 players that have a built-in clip to attach the device to their clothes (like the Sansa Clip or iPod Shuffle).
- eBooks Only - if they read in bed, you might consider an e-ink reader that has a light (like the Nook Glowlight or the Kobo Glo).
- Internet Connection for Tablets-- does the person have wifi at home, or can they use wifi elsewhere daily without problems? You need wifi to access the full features of a tablet (email, facebook, downloading books directly to the device).
- Physical ability--for tablets and color ereaders, consider the weight of the device. Glass-screen devices get heavy after reading a book for some time. For ebook readers needing a lightweight device, look at the e-ink readers. If someone really needs a very light device, the Kobo Mini is the smallest e-ink reader we have seen.
- Technical ability--we have noted when a device requires extra work to make it compatible with the statewide services. If the person you are giving the device to is not very good with technology, we do not recommend these devices. Get something that will be compatible with no extra work! (Examples of devices needing extra work: Kindle Fires and Sony eReaders).
Are accessories needed for the device?
All devices will come with a USB cord that allows it to connect to the computer for transfer and / or charging purposes. This is really all you need to make it work. Some devices come with quite a lot of extras, so take a look at the 'contents of box' before deciding to buy accessories.
- Charging - AC adaptors allow you to plug the device into the regular outlet of charging through the computer. Most tablets come with one, because they either will not charge fully through the computer or cannot charge that way at all.
- Case/cover - to protect the device. This can be a silicone "bumper" to protect the edges of the device to hard protective storage cases. Be sure that it fits and holds the device securely,especially if you are buying a case not made by the device manufacturer.
- eReaders & tablets - you can get cases that open like a book cover. Sometimes these only attach to the device by two corners, be sure to read customer reviews to make sure the device won't fall out!
- MP3 players - if this if for someone that exercises and the device does not have a built-on clip to attach to clothes, you can usually find a case that has an armband or clip.
- Screen protector - for tablets or color ereaders. The screens of these devices are glass, you can purchase screen protectors to keep them from getting scratched.
- Stylus - for tablets and color ereaders. If you think the person receiving the gift will have trouble tapping on buttons properly, a stylus can help with that. Be sure that the stylus you buy is compatible with the device.
- Cleaning supplies - Microfiber cleaning cloths (also sold to clean your glasses) or electronics cleaning wipes are best.
- Earbuds - MP3 players usually come with earbuds (but not always, or may be poor quality). Tablets do not usually come with earbuds, if the person will want to use the audio capabilities of a tablet this may be a wise addition. The sound is usually better than the speakers on the tablet, which can be tinny.
Including State Library's phone number and email address!
If you are buying a compatible device and the person receiving the gift will need technical assistance, make sure they have our contact information. We can even now connect to the person's computer (with permission) to help set up on the computer to use digital books. We are open 8am-5pm Monday to Friday, excluding State holidays. We return emails and voicemails outside of regular hours as soon as possible.
If the person will not need technical help, just give them the address of http://kslib.info/digitalbooks. They can see how to use the services from these pages, read our help & FAQ notes, or find our email address if they have questions later.