Ebook Readers 101


Technological advancements in the digital media have had a lot of impact on all of us. The emergence of the email, chats, messengers and other digital communication media have impacted us in a big way. Also, with the advent of Ebooks, the overall concept of reading has also undergone a big change. Ebooks or electronic books, just like a Word document, can be accessed from any PC connected to the Internet. An Ebook is a book published in electronic form, similar to a Word document, which can be globally accessed from any computer connected to the Internet.

With the increasing popularity of the Ebooks, the Ebook readers are also becoming a rage. These devices offer features such as E Ink technology, large digital display that helps provide a crisp and clear image to its readers and provides you the maximum readability ease. However, before spending $100-$400 on such a device, ensure that it has all the features you require. For example, you can check the battery life these devices provide along with checking the EInk used by them.

So what are some of the things that you must check before buying an Ebook reader? Well donít forget to check features such as portability, screen size, battery life, portability, and the books that it selects. Before you buy an EBook reader, letís look at some such features in detail:

Advantages of Ebook Readers over Traditional Books

Choosing ebook readers over traditional books allows you the convenience of having a virtual library in the palm of your hand. There are many different brands of e-readers available, and a wide selection of prices to choose from. Ebooks are a good choice for people of all ages, and come with many benefits that traditional paperback books can’t offer.

Portability & Convenience

The entire concept of Ebook reader depends on the fact that they can be carried along when travelling or otherwise too. So an Ebook reader that does not offer this facility is of its little use. The primary advantage of EBook readers is portability. They offer accessibility to one’s favorite books from anywhere; whether one is travelling, basking on the beach, or jogging. It should have the right screen display and resolution so that one doesn’t have to strain while reading. A reasonably long battery life is imperative and the screen must be readable even in bright sunlight. But with so many options available, what does one need to keep in mind when choosing a good EBook reader?

One of the biggest advantages of choosing ebook readers is that the device is totally portable, allowing you to easily incorporate reading into your daily routine. Since all of your books are in one convenient location, you don’t have to worry about grabbing the wrong book on your way out and you can change the book you want to read at a seconds notice. Ebooks also promote reading among kids and teens, since the device is attractive to younger users. You can download books appropriate for kids in preschool and up, providing a wide range of materials available anytime.


While technology can be controversial, there is nothing more beneficial than choosing options that are better for the environment. There is no doubt that ebook readers are more eco-friendly than traditional paperback books. You can easily find and download books from all genres, including digital textbooks for college and top sellers. Many authors are now opting to sell their own ebooks, as well, rather than going through a traditional publisher and having their books printed.

Audiobooks and Magazine Support

Ebook readers are also easy to use, and can be used for a wide range of applications aside from reading. The speech to text feature is available on most readers, allowing to you listen to books even when you are busy with other things. The e-reader that you choose will have an average of eight gigabytes of space, with an option to add removable memory. You can easily use your e-reader to subscribe to magazines, newspapers, and other periodicals in addition to reading novels on the device.

Ebooks are Cheaper

While you pay more money initially for an ebook reading device (The cost of ebook readers range from about $115 and up), you save money on the purchase of ebooks. Ebooks are typically cheaper than their print counterparts. Ebook readers are also a more affordable option than traditional books, particularly if you are purchasing digital textbooks. Digital textbooks can cost up to a third of the price of traditional texts, allowing students to save more on their needed supplies. Digital books can be highlighted, and specific passages saved or marked for easy reference in the future. With the wide selection of versatile features, studying has never been more organized or simpler.

You can, for example, buy any brand new hardback book in digital form for under $10 dollars from Amazon.com. Compare that to the print version which costs between 20-30 dollars for a new hardback and you save money. Most ebooks are cheaper than their print versions allowing you to save money if you are the one who buys new books.

Main Ebook Reader Features to Look At

Price: With regards to price, most of the EBook readers fall within the same range. For a preferably better service, one may have to pay extra. Those without any preferences for features such as Wi-Fi or touch screen capabilities may have the opportunity to save money by purchasing a reader without this functionality. However, this depends on personal taste.

Battery life: Your Ebook reader should offer you a facility where you will not have to change it every now and then. Conversely, it can be used without any battery charge for a minimum period of time as specified in the manufacturing instructions. Devices that utilize e-ink screens offer dramatically longer battery life over devices that use traditional CRT screens.

Screen Size: It is important for you to purchase a gadget with an optimum screen size. The screen size is one of THE most important aspects when looking for an reader. In cases where one needs to see the full size PDF, (especially for businesses) one should consider getting the iRex, Kindle DX or other larger models. Otherwise, smaller models are actually an asset as they can easily be held in one hand. The smaller sized screens are not fit for reading and cause a lot of inconvenience to its readers. Therefore, ensure that the screen size s comfortable for you and is ideally not less than 6”.

Screen Type: Another very important feature you'll need to look at. The type of screen you choose will determine how your device functions and your battery life.

there are basically two types of screen technology found on ebook readers right now.

1. Digital E-Ink Screens

Ebook readers that have come out the past 5 years will usually have a digital E-Ink screen. This is a special screen that works differently than normal computer screens. Unlike traditional screens, the digital e-ink screen actually "prints" pixels to the screen using a special type of ink. In essence, the text is printed on the screen much like one would print ink to paper. This means you don't get eye strain from reading text on a digital E-Ink screen because the text remains static (as opposed to flashing faster than the eye can see). This also means you can read text displayed on digital e-ink readers in direct sunlight. Another advantage of the Digital E-Ink screen is that battery power is ONLY used when text is printed to the screen. This means you can get weeks of usage before needing to recharge the battery. The downside to digital e-ink is that motion/animation is not possible (yet) and there is a notable delay when refreshing text on the screen.

2. LCD/CRT Screens ("the typical computer screen")

CTR or LCD screens are the normal computer screens we are all used to. The advantage of these screens is that text is displayed MUCH faster on the screen. CTR screens also allow for animation -- you can watch movies, see graphics move, etc.

Formats supported: There are quite a number of e-book formats available and although most of the EBook readers support text files, HTML, Jpg, MP3 and PDF, before deciding which one to buy, it is vital to make sure that it supports the current eBooks that you have. The MOBI format is quite a popular format for most eBooks. However, the Sony reader doesn’t support this format.  It has its own format LRF. For Kindle, the format is AZW; however, it doesn’t support the ePub format while the other readers do. One has to be aware of the fact that other readers might be unable to open such formats. The good thing however, is the fact that most EBook readers do support several graphics and audio formats.

Audio: Some people like to have some background music while reading their books. Some of the readers come with speakers but those users who would like to listen to audio books should remember to choose one that has a headphone adapter.

Connectivity and Location: To obtain access to a new eBook, one needs to connect to the internet in order to get the content from the various stores and in this case, connectivity becomes a major issue. Most of the EBook Readers lack the option of wireless connectivity and one will need to connect the reader to a PC first, although some readers offer a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection making them more convenient. In addition, the fact that eBooks are often customized for specific countries makes it difficult for international buyers to acquire one as some features will be out of their range.

Content access: The Kindle scores greatly in this sector. Most manufacturers of e-books usually have their own stores. The more the publishers that a manufacturer makes deals with, the better your chances of finding a book that you want. Since Amazon is the biggest merchant of books, Kindle users can easily get access to books that they want. Other e-book readers’ users cannot afford this luxury and usually end up buying the books from other stores.

Ability to Surf the Web: Some of the newer ebook readers feature built-in wi-fi (Kindle 3 and Nook being the two biggest examples). Some readers may even offer cellular access to the internet (Kindle 3 3G model). Typically, devices that offer access to the internet will allow you to surf the web on a built-in browser, check email, and of course buy books and download them directly to the device without needed to connect to a PC.


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