The development and growth of e-book readers has been an exponential one. Even though e-books were introduced way back in 2000 (Stephen King's Riding the Bullet for instance), they never caught the imagination of the public. Things have changed a lot in the decade after that. Sony, in 2006, released its first e-book reader. Amazon, the world's largest bookstore brought Kindle to us in 2007. The timeline has only grown exponentially since then. With prices of e-book readers falling rapidly and the best books in the world arriving in the digital format, the mainstream casual reader has all the reasons to go digital. But the big question is whether these e-books will eventually replace paper books, in the manner digital technology has made offices and workplaces paperless?
The advantages of the e-book reader are many. It is the lightest, easiest and most compact method of carrying your own personal bookstore along with you, wherever you go. Gone are the days when you had to go book-hunting. With e-book readers, every title imaginable is available for download and easy payment options coupled with low prices make it very simple and fast to get your favorite books. No packing, no shipping or any other hassles of getting a real book included.
If you are searching for something particular in a book, a simple touch of a button on the e-reader replaces the turning of hundreds of pages. Add to this the ability of these readers to customize the colors, fonts and image sizes, the e-books become a very attractive option. Today, many encyclopedias and journals have become interactive with embedded videos too. Even the visually handicapped could enjoy books as these readers come along with the audio read-aloud facility. Such a wholesome and complete experience could never be imagined with a book.
Let us gain some brief insight about the biggest e-book reader makers in the world today.
Amazon Kindle 3G
At $189, this reader from the largest digital bookstore in the world comes with 3G compliance. The reader features perfect ergonomics, a large display, high speed and social sharing abilities too. The vastly improved speeds ensure that you have your favorite book downloaded in seconds and the enhanced contrast of the screen ensure enjoyable reading. A battery life that lasts a month and a library of 700,000 books sure kindles the passion to read.
Barnes & Noble Nook Color
This reader from Barnes and Noble has greater versatility than the Kindle and is priced about $10 lesser than it too. It arrives with ability to display images, show videos, play audios and flash support for the web browser. Though the battery lasts only 8 hours, this e-book reader is said to perform better than an Android tablet, or maybe!
The Sony reader arrives with a screen bezel that has an infrared optical sensor embedded into it. The reader is very responsive and does not give out harsh glares. It is rumored to equal the Kindle in its display qualities and has an excellent refresh rate. The rendering of PDFs and other large files takes place in a jiffy, but this feature comes at a price - the SONY reader costs above $250.
Kobo Wireless eReader
This entry-level device from Kobo comes with Wi-Fi, an e-book store, a dictionary and a host of apps. It saves a bookmark each time a book is closed which is very helpful for the voracious reader. The construction is strong and elegant and the interface is very attractive. It has slow load time and lacks support for HTML, but is an excellent device for an entry-level.
Change, whether it is for the good or the bad, is always a difficult and uncomfortable thing. That is the only reason why the whole world has not yet made the shift from traditional books to e-books. As e-book readers become capable of greater storage and get incorporated with a host of audio-visual features, their appeal keeps increasing. Another trend that is fast catching is the 'green' revolution where people are becoming ecologically conscious. On that front too, e-books, being paperless, score over traditional books. The modern generation which is definitely tech savvy has accepted and adopted e-book readers. With publishers in US reporting rapidly increased revenues from e-book sales, the time is not far when these readers will completely replace the traditional paper books.