What is an eBook?
Before we understand what’s an eBook reader, let’s start with what is an eBook.
An eBook (short for electronic book) is a digital file which is the equivalent of a normal printed book. Until today eBook were usually read through the use of computers or pocket PCs. eBooks are usually published in one of 2 ways:
* Published books that were converted to eBook format – with the growing popularity of eBook readers more and more books are published in a digital format as well.
* eBooks which are created by home users for personal / commercial use – since the internet has grown in popularity many people use eBooks as a way of spreading out their knowledge. This is a major advantage as you can read quality material from people who wouldn’t have gotten the chance to publish their thoughts anywhere else.
eBooks come in many formats (over 25 formats to be more precise) but the most popular formats are:
EPUB, PRC/ Mobi (Mobipocket format) , AZW (Amazon Kindle format) and of course PDF (Portable Document Format).
So now that we know what’s an eBook let’s move on to what is an eBook reader?
The development of eReaeders
An eBook reader or an eReader in an electronic device which is used for reading eBooks. But I guess you already knew that didn’t you?
So what makes it any different than your iPhone or a laptop?
Well, the eReaders use a special technology called E-Ink. E-Ink or E-Paper are names used to describe how eReaders work. I won’t get into all of the technicalities but basically this technology allows you to display text and images in a way that it feels as if they were displayed on actual paper.
This technology has 3 major advantages:
* Because it looks like real paper it doesn’t strain your eyes and it feels like reading an actual book.
* The technology only uses power to create the page once, therefore if you don’t turn a page you don’t use power. This allows eReaders to go on for weeks before they need charging. This is also the reason that eReaders battery life is measured in page turns.
* You can read out of eReaders even in bright places and in sunlight. Because there is no backlight to light up the screen like in normal computers it is possible to read in very bright places as well.
OK, so now you know what an eReader is right? It’s time to move on….
How do you evaluate an eReader?
When you come to examine and eReader there are several things you need to take into account. Here is a short list of the important parameter to check out:
Display,Compatibility,Battery life, Availability of books, Warranty, Size,Wireless and Customer reviews
So now you also know how to evaluate an eReader, all that’s left now is to find out who are the major players and take your pick.
Who are the major players in the market ?
When eReaders just came out there was one major player in the Market which was the Amazon Kindle 1. This was around a year ago. Today, there are a lot of new eReaders out there, so let’s go over some of them.
Sony PRS readers – Sony has come out with a series of eReader. The most known are the PRS-505 and the new PRS-700. You can read reviews about them here. The Sony eReaders are considered to be one of the top contenders out there.
Amazon Kindle 2 – After coming out on February 2009 Amazon has already managed to sell 500,000 of this amazing device. I am a personal Kindle user and I must say that this is one really cool device. You can check out my full review here. The Kindle, although not yet perfect, has most of the qualities you’d want from an eReader.
BeBook – Although the company Endless which manufactures the BeBook is not that well known like Sony or Amazon, they have managed to put together quite an impressive and relatively cheap eReader. The best thing about it is that, unlike the Kindle or the Sony eReader, you can purchase it even if you’re not a citizen of the US.
There are a variety of other eReaders as well, but these are defiantly the major players in the eReader market today.
Regarding the sensitive issue of cost, Today’s eReaders average around $ 350. Some cost more, some less, but this is no doubt a high price to pay. My guess is that in a couple of years we will be able to find eReader around $ 150, but there’s still time until then. If you’re a book lover like me then this is a relatively small price to pay in order to enrich your book reading experience. Trust me, I’ve been there.
So there you have it, now you know all you need to know about the eReader world and you can set out and pick the most suitable eReader for your needs. Here at eReader Central we try to keep you updated with the latest news, reviews and comparisons, you can also check out are Blog for cool updates about the eReader world.
Well? What are you waiting for? Go find your eReader!
Matt Palen is the editor of eReader Central, a website dedicated to eBook Reader reviews, eBook reader comparisons and updates.