Professional eBook Services

What is an eBook Reader?

An eBook reader, also called an e-book device or e-reader, is a mobile electronic device that is designed primarily for the purpose of reading digital eBooks and periodicals.

Any device that can display text on a screen may act as an eBook reader, but specialized eBook reader designs may optimize portability, readability (especially in bright sun) and battery life for this purpose. A single eBook holds the equivalent of many printed texts with no added mass or bulk.

An eBook reader is similar in form to a tablet computer. A tablet computer typically has a faster screen capable of higher refresh rates which makes them more suitable for interaction. Tablet computers also are much more versatile, allowing one to consume multiple types of content, as well as create it. Technologist Michael J. Saylor predicts that the eBook reader may be absorbed by the tablet computer, negating the need for users to carry both devices.

The main advantages of eBook readers are better readability of their screens especially in bright sunlight and much longer battery life. This is achieved by using electronic paper technology to display content to readers. Commercially sold electronic paper is mostly available in black and white (16 shades of gray) and rarely in color.

Many eBook readers can use the internet through Wi-Fi and sometimes have a relationship to a digital eBook seller, allowing the user to buy and receive digital eBooks through this seller. In this way, the books owned by the user are managed in the cloud, and the eBook reader is able to download material from any location. An eBook reader may also download material from a computer or read it from a memory card.

Research released in March 2011 indicated that e-books and eBook readers are more popular with the older generation than the younger generation in the UK. The survey carried out by Silver Poll found that around 6% of over-55s owned an e-book reader compared with just 5% of 18 to 24-year-olds.

According to an IDC study from March 2011, sales for all eBook readers worldwide rose to 12.8 million in 2010; 48% of them were Kindle models, followed by Barnes & Noble Nook devices, Pandigital, Hanvon and Sony Readers (about 800,000 units for 2010).

Some of the major book retailers and multiple third-party developers offer free (and in some third-party cases, premium paid) eReader applications for desktops and mobile devices, to allow the reading of eBooks and other documents independently of dedicated eBook devices.

Comparison of e-book readers

Popular eBook readers:

  • Amazon Kindle: Kindle, Kindle Touch
  • Barnes & Noble Nook: Nook 1st Edition, Nook Simple Touch, Nook Color, Nook Tablet
  • Kobo: Kobo Glo, Kobo Touch, Kobo Mini, Kobo Arc
  • Sony Reader
  • PocketBook