Digital e-Book Readers - An Overview
The concept of using a digital book reader instead of the traditional printed book format made its appearance in the industry several years ago—the Franklin eBookman was released in 1999. But the idea didn't catch on until recent years, when a wide variety of improved eReaders and tablet devices hit the market. These new-age e-book readers, being both convenient and cost-effective, have managed to carve out a significant niche in the publishing market. Added to this, the rising popularity of smartphones, which allow for easy installation of book reader applications, has further revolutionized the e-reading industry.
Digital book readers that have revolutionized e-reading:
Dedicated e-book readers
- Amazon Kindle: Amazon is one of the leaders in e-book readers. Its latest offering is its 4th-generation model (introduced late 2011) that comes with a 5-way controller and Wi-Fi. The Kindle's success lies in its long battery life, its e-ink screen (claimed to cause less eye strain) and its ability to read MOBI, PRC files as well as PDF and TXT documents
- Barnes & Noble Nook: Barnes & Noble's e-book readers include the Nook, Nook color and Nook Simple Touch, all which run on the Android operating system. It offers easy downloading via the Barnes & Noble Store. Its only drawback is its inability to support Word or PDF files
- BeBook Neo: The BeBook Neo e-book reader, manufactured by Endless Ideas BV, a Dutch manufacturer of home and office electronics products, comes with an open-market technology, comfortable design and long battery life to make reading enjoyable. The Neo also offers up to 16GB storage and Wacom touch screen technology
- Kobo e-reader: The Kobo e-reader supports EPUB, PDF and Adobe DRM formats and comes with 100 free books to get you started. On the flip side, it doesn't have Wi-Fi or 3G to upload content
- Sony Reader: Sony's latest model is the Reader Wi-Fi, a new design that allows direct download from public libraries that support wireless technology. It supports a wide range of formats including EPUB (with or without Adobe DRM), PDF (with or without Adobe DRM), TXT, RTF, DOC, JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, MP3 and AAC
- The Apple iPad: The iPad works very well as a reading device. The free iBook application allows eBooks to be downloaded from the iBookstore. Kindle and Kobo apps can also be downloaded, if needed
- Samsung Galaxy Tab: The Samsung Galaxy Tab, in spite of being one of the smallest tabs in the market, makes a great eReader. It comes with a preinstalled Kindle app but also enables the reader to download the Nook and Kobo apps through the Android market
- HP Touchpad Tablet: The HP Touchpad tablet provides great eReading functionality with its Kindle app that gives readers access to millions of low-priced books in the Kindle store
- Apple iPhone: It comes with free downloadable Stanza reader software available from the Apple App Store that can be accessed through iTunes. The Apple iPhone also supports the Kindle and Barnes & Noble app in PRC and MOBI formats
- Android: Users of Android OS phones can download Aldiko, a functional book reader application to help you download, organize and read e-books. Other Android-tailored apps are FBReader, Word-player and Kindle for Android which can be downloaded from the Android market
- Windows: Windows Mobile smartphones have the choice of downloading a wide variety of book readers including Microsoft Reader, Mobipocket eBook Reader, eReader, Kobo, Txtr, Iceberg, etc
- Adobe Digital Editions: The most commonly used desktop book reader, Adobe Digital Editions, is still the only reader that fully supports the ePUB table of contents. Digital Editions also supports PDF and is perfect for downloading free reads from Project Gutenberg
- Microsoft Reader: This free, downloadable application allows you to read e-books on any Windows-running laptop. Similar to the Kindle 2, the Microsoft Reader allows you to lookup words in the integrated dictionary and write notes in the margins, but its drawback is that it supports Microsoft's .LIT file formats only
Internet-based ebook readers
- Bookworm: This book reader application is Internet-based and requires an active Internet connection for reading purposes. It supports the ePUB table of contents and displays HTML and CSS formats
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