The e-book is not a completely brand new concept. For years libraries and publishers have been scanning their printed volumes into computers for archiving. Some have released “PDF” versions to be read on computer screens. Encyclopedias have been released in CD-ROM and DVD format since 1989. Until recently the concept of reading an entire novel or textbook in a digital format just had not taken off, then came the “Kindle” by Amazon.
The Amazon Kindle, now in its’ 3rd generation, first hit the market in late 2007 and became an instant success. It quickly rose to the top selling product from the vast Amazon inventory. In the wake of the Kindle’s selling frenzy, many other companies started to market similar devices, most notably Barnes and Nobles’ “Nook”. Now there are a slew of e-Reader devices to choose from.
A dedicated e-Reader device is actually pretty simple. The main feature of these devices is their screen. There are made from a technology known as “e-Ink”, which is a matte, monochrome screen that is meant to look like a page of a paperback book. They have the ability to change the size and font of the words and have hardly any glare in sunlight. This makes it easy to read for long periods of time without the strain on the eyes that might be caused by a LCD screen.
Another incredible feature of many of these e-Readers is the ability to download complete novels in a matter of seconds. Both he Kindle and the Nook are backed by major book retailers, that allow you access to their vast libraries through a Wi-Fi or “3G” connection, with no computer necessary.
The most notable difference between the different e-Reading devices out there is the sources that you have available to acquire new books. The Kindle has access to the very large and increasing selection of Amazon.com, however, the Kindle only supports books downloaded from Amazon and saved in the PDF format. The Nook is also has an impressive selection for instant download from Barnes and Nobel. The Nook also has the advantage of supporting other formats such as “Adobe Editions” and the open “ePub” format. This allows you to download many books from other sources, including “borrowing” free books from the Cincinnati Public Library.
A few things to note: Not ever book is currently being published in electronic format. Then there is the chance the battery might run out, although most of these devices will run for days or weeks without a charge. And some people just miss the feel and smell of holding a real book. But, if you love to read and are looking for a faster, easier, and eventually cheaper way to do so, an e-Reader may but just the thing you are looking for.