Several years ago when ebook readers were just starting to become popular, they all used to have physical page turning buttons.
Then touchscreens started taking over a few years ago and page buttons started getting phased out. Now it’s gotten to the point where physical page buttons on a new ebook reader is a rarity.
Some people, myself included, prefer the convenience and feel of real page turn buttons.
It’s nice to just be able to rest your thumb on a button and press down to turn pages instead of messing with the added motion of swiping or tapping, which sometimes requires readjusting your grip.
Buttons are more consistent as well; sometimes taps aren’t recognized with touchscreens or sometimes the software interprets it as a long press and opens the dictionary or highlighting function.
There’s also the fact that bezels keep getting smaller and smaller all the time, and it’s easy for a thumb to accidentally cross over into touchscreen territory and cause inadvertent page turns.
There’s no question that touchscreens are more convenient for navigation, shopping, adding notes, etc. But when it comes to the simple act of turning pages, the most used function when reading, it’s hard to beat the convenience and simplicity of a page turn button.
When it comes to ereaders, there are many types of page button configurations.
The Kindle Voyage has the latest and most unique page button technology. It doesn’t actually have any buttons; there are sensors under the glass on the sides of the screen that detect presses, with three pressure settings available from low to high.
The Nook Touch was famous for its comfortable-to-hold design and embedded page buttons on each side of the screen. It’s a shame B&N decided to get rid of them on the newer model.
Some ereaders have page buttons on each side of the screen and some, like Sony eReaders, had buttons below the screen. I once reviewed an ebook reader called the Pyrus Mini that had buttons on the thin side of the frame—they were actually quite nice to use. Other devices have navigation wheels, or just buttons on one side of the screen, where you can flip the orientation of the screen depending on which hand your are using.
So what about you? Do want page buttons on your next ebook reader? If so, what kind of button layout would you want?