Before I had kids, I was a book-reading fiend. It wasn’t uncommon for me to come home from work, sit down with whatever book I happened to be in the middle of at the moment (or start something new), and not get up until I’d finished it – or it got too late to stay awake any longer. In fact, that tendency of mine to not be able to put a book down very easily until I’ve finished it, is what kept me from reading very much when my kids were babies and toddlers – as most parents can attest, there’s not a whole lot of large chunks of free time. And I just can’t read a book piecemeal very well. Oh I’ve read some here and there, but it’s really only been the past year or two that I’ve really been able to read a lot more. In part, because I’ve learned over time to put the books down when I have to, but also because I can squeeze in more reading time now that my girls are getting older. I’ve really enjoyed reading books again – and I’m enjoying them even more now that I have a Literati e-reader to read them on.
What it is:
The Literati is by The Sharper Image, and is a dedicated wireless e-reader with a 7” color LCD screen (480 x 800 resolution). It is one of the few color e-readers currently available and as such, allows users to read items like children’s books, magazines, cookbooks, newspapers and other content that generally involves color when printed on paper, much more easily than black-and-white e-readers do. With the Literati, you can easily customize your reading experience by changing the font size and type, the screen brightness and more to best fit your needs. Here are some additional features of the Literati:
- A built-in bookstore (powered by Kobo) gives users access to more than 2 million books, magazines and periodicals.
- 150 FREE books (25 pre-loaded on the Literati and a coupon to download another 125 into your account)
- An SD card slot allows users to add storage (up to 8GB).
- The Literati comes with a free case to help protect your e-reader.
- The Literati development team is dedicated to ensuring users enjoy their Literati for years to come. Ongoing updates and new features will regularly be added.
- The Literati brings great flexibility to the reading experience. Not only can the Literati store hundreds of titles, it also lets users enjoy those titles on their laptop, smart phone and desktop computer.
- Once your Literati is powered on, using the Literati is as easy as taking a book off the shelf (“Books” Tab), moving to the “I’m Reading” Tab to view everything you are reading, loading PDFs (“Docs” Tab) or buying a book from the built-in bookstore (“Store Tab”).
The Literati comes in two models – white and black. Each model contains a built-in keyboard and navigation buttons. The backlit screen can be adjusted for either day or night-time reading comfort.
Here’s my take on it:
As a huge gadget geek, I love the idea of a product that combines my love for books with that for electronic devices. And while I hadn’t heard much about the Literati as compared to its competitors, I was very excited about the idea of an e-reader with a color screen, so I could put books for my kids on it as well as for myself. When the Literati arrived, I immediately loved the packaging – the box looks like a giant book in design, which is very cool. I’m hanging onto the box just because I like it, lol. Inside was the Literati, the free case, charging cord, a USB cable, and instruction manual.
My only true complaint with this product has nothing to do with the Literati itself, but the darn packaging… The device is packaged in that hard plastic that’s almost impossible to remove – it takes scissors, some serious hand strength and determination to get it out without cutting yourself in the process. But it’s definitely more than worth it once you do have the Literati in your hands… 🙂
I charged the Literati for 6 hours before using it, as recommended – then turned it on and explored my new e-reader. I found it very easy to navigate! I first connected it to our home wi-fi network and it automatically downloaded a couple of updates (as the manual said it would). I did have some trouble getting it to re-connect to our wi-fi (or any other wireless connection) afterward, but the very helpful support people at their 800 number suggested that I do a reset to factory settings and that solved the problem easily. I am very impressed with the amount of technical support for this product – you can check their site for answers to questions and then if you still need help, they’re available via phone or e-mail.
Reading books is very easy – they show up on your reader as images of the book covers and you simply navigate to the book you’d like to read and click on it. I love how easily the pages turn – you can use either the > or < buttons on the side of the e-reader or on the keypad at the bottom. Page turns are incredibly quick too – much faster than it takes me to manually turn the page when reading a regular book. And I love that I can easily hold the Literati with one hand – I always get cramps in my hand when trying to hold a paperback in one hand while keeping it open enough to actually read all of the text, especially right near the book’s spine.
The included case is very sturdy and holds the Literati snugly in place. It folds open and closed, so it even protects the screen when you’re not using the e-reader. And it’s still very easy to access the charging and USB ports. The power button sits right underneath one of the elastic straps on the top, but it hasn’t been a problem to use at all. And having the case is definitely a huge benefit because I like the security and protection it gives the Literati.
I played around with the display settings for a few minutes until I found the best combination of screen brightness and font size for me. It’s easy to change the brightness too, so if I use the Literati in a darker room, I can quickly brighten the screen. That’s a big benefit over both regular books and other e-readers without a backlit screen, where you have to buy and use a separate book light if you want to read in the dark. I think this would be perfect on night-time road trips too – as a passenger in the vehicle of course. 😉
I had never been on the Kobo bookstore site before, so went on and created an account to use. I like that there are so many books available, and at prices that are discounted over the cost for a traditional bound book. There are even 300 free e-books listed on the site too, that you can download. It was easy to search and browse through the available books and I did download both a free e-book (a kids’ one, called ‘Natalie Wants A Puppy’) and one that I purchased (Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, $3.99). Since the Literati is wireless, you can shop directly from the device itself and your purchases are delivered and available to read almost instantly. But if you’re shopping from your computer, you can transfer your book purchases to your Literati in a couple of ways – either through the free Kobo desktop app or by using Adobe’s Digital Editions software (also free). By using the Adobe software, I was also able to easily transfer PDF files and a book that I bought off of another bookstore website to my Literati. Being able to view PDFs on this e-reader is incredibly useful – I can put everything from travel itineraries to knitting patterns on there and have them with me when I need them – without having to bring my laptop. Although I can view PDFs on my iPhone too, the larger screen on the Literati makes them much easier to read. Pretty much anything in either PDF or ePUB format can be transferred to and viewed on the Literati. Although I haven’t downloaded it yet, there is an iPhone app for Kobo – and when you sync your library, you can pick up where you left off, whether reading on your desktop app, iPhone or e-reader.
Although I see that color content like children’s books and cookbooks are coming soon to the Kobo bookstore, I wanted to see if I could find a book now for my kids to read (since they’ve been begging ever since the Literati arrived), and also to see how the color pages look. I was able to find one for just a couple of dollars on a different bookstore website and easily transferred the book (in PDF format) to the Literati. It’s a Berenstain Bears Christmas book – perfect for this time of year. I can’t wait to see more content for kids on the Kobo bookstore site! There are ‘teen’ books on there now, but those are definitely beyond where my kids are at – my oldest is only 9. I think that the quality of the color screen is definitely impressive – the color book shows up very well.
The bottom line:
I am loving the fact that I can carry an entire library of books with me on only one lightweight, slim device. I used dread when books I really wanted to read came out only in hardcover, because it was such a pain to carry a heavy hardcover book around – and I tend to like to have a book to read with me at all times. The Literati fits easily into my large purse – it’s about the same dimensions as a trade paperback, but much slimmer. I’m practically giddy at the thought of being able to shop for and read books so easily on this e-reader – now I just need to find the budget (and the time) to indulge my bookworm habit. 🙂
Where can you find it?:
You can purchase the Literati e-reader in a number of places, including retailers like The Sharper Image and Best Buy – both in-store or online. Prices vary by retailer, but both Macy’s and Bed Bath & Beyond offer great deals on the Literati Reader, making it easy to pick them up while you are checking off the other items on your holiday shopping list. Check out the Literati website at http://literatireader.com for details or to find a retailer near you. And for more information, you can also follow on Facebook or Twitter, as well.
I have the opportunity to give away a Literati (I believe it’s the white one like I received) to a lucky reader! Whether you’re a total bookworm like me, or just want to be able to escape with a good novel every now or then – here are the rules to enter:
- Enter by visiting the Kobo bookstore site and leaving a comment here to let me know which of their free e-books you’d love to read on the Literati if you win. This is required – please don’t just say anything like ‘choose me’, or your entry will be discarded.
- The contest will run until Wednesday, January 5th at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be selected through random drawing, contacted by e-mail, listed on this post and also submitted to PRIZEY. US entries only, please.
- Please leave a valid e-mail address or other way to contact you! If the winner hasn’t responded within 3 days, an alternate winner will be chosen by random drawing.
- Please not that the Literati will take 4 to 6 weeks to receive after the winner’s information is received!
- If you’d like extra entries, you can:
- Subscribe to my RSS feed (click on the orange icon in the upper right sidebar) or subscribe via e-mail – leave me a separate comment to let me know (1 extra entry).
- Mention this contest on your blog with a link back to this post, and leave a separate comment with the link to your post so I can find it (1 extra entry).
- Tweet this giveaway – leave me a separate comment with a link to your tweet. For an easy way to tweet, use the re-tweet button at the top of this post (1 extra entry).
- ‘Like’ this site on Facebook – there’s a link in the sidebar or you can click here. Leave a comment to let me know (1 extra entry).
- Follow Literati on Twitter – leave a comment here to let me know (1 extra entry).
- ‘Like’ Literati on Facebook – leave a comment here to let me know (1 extra entry).
So that’s a total of 7 comments/entries if you do all of the extra entry options.
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED – and the winner is…
- ria – Comment: GOOGLE reader subscriber
Congratulations and I will be e-mailing you shortly to work out the details!
This post courtesy of: The Sharper Image and Girlpower Marketing, who provided the product(s) for both review and giveaway. No payment or compensation, other than product samples as described above, was received for this post. All opinions given here are solely my own or those of my family.