While it is not the purpose of this Discovery Guide to tout one electronic book reader over another, it would be impossible to discuss e-readers without at least mentioning some of the major players.
Perhaps the most well-know of them is Amazon's Kindle. It is estimated that the Kindle accounts for more than half of the e-reader market. However, exact figures are hard to find, as Amazon seems to be tight-lipped about its sales.
• The Kindle was launched in late 2007.
• It is wireless, i.e., it doesn't need to be hooked up to a computer.
• It takes less than a minute to download an e-book.
• In September 2009, the Kindle and Kindle DX had accounted for a 25% share of the total "reader device market," which included desktop/laptop computers, other e-readers, cell phones, MP3 players, etc.
• It uses DRM, with the proprietary format of .azw
• SprintNextel's EV-DO data network comes with the Kindle, meaning you do not have to purchase it extra.
• New releases are $9.99, with "classics"
priced at $1.99.
Just as the ePub format is described as the MP3 of the text, the Kindle is often thought of as the iPod of the reading world. About half a million titles are available for download; however, Amazon's goal is to have every single book ever published available for download on the Kindle.
Arguably the second most popular, the Sony Reader reader includes a Daily Edition, Touch Edition and a digital notepad.
The Sony Reader:
• Can purchase e-books from the Sony eBook Library.
• Instead of a keyboard, the Touch Edition allows for touch or stylus usage.
• With memory cards, can hold up to 50,000 books.
• Supports PDFs and MP3s, as well as being compatible with both Mac and PCs.
• Built-in American Oxford and English Oxford dictionaries
Barnes & Noble's Nook:
• Uses 3G and Wi-Fi on the Android platform
• In lieu of a keyboard, there is a small, color touchscreen.
• Can view pages in six different font sizes.
• NOOKcolor has a color screen
• Can choose from more than two million books
Other e-Book Readers:
Others include Samsung's SNE-60; Spring Design's Alex; Border's Kobo; and Plastic Logic's QUE proReader.
Although not considered a dedicated electronic book reader, Apple's iPad is definitely in the mix. In June 2010, according to Apple CEO Steve Jobs, more than five million e-books were downloaded to the iPad in the two and half months since its introduction to the market.
What makes it different is a color screen, multimedia functionality (i.e., not just an e-reader). It has an iBook "app" (application), which can highlight text, add bookmarks and allow for note taking. In addition, the app supports PDFs.
Of course, these are just some of the major electronic book readers – there are about three dozen out on the market and more are being produced.
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