An e-book reader (eReader) is a mobile device designed primarily to read digital books (or “ebooks”). The device has a screen for reading and allows the storage of digital publications and the creation of a digital library.
The device is also called an e-reader, eReader, or e-book or reading tablet.
Other devices such as the touch pad, smartphone, laptop or desktop computer can be equipped with an application for reading digital books.
As of 2012, the majority of eReaders feature a 6″ sized electrophoretic touch screen that displays a resolution of 600 × 800 pixels and sixteen shades of gray. As of 2013, they feature an HD screen that displays a resolution of 768 × 1024 and which incorporates a lighting system. They weigh between 150 and 200 g and offer an average autonomy of thirty days, without a Wi-Fi connection. They can have a Wi-Fi connection allowing the purchase of digital books directly via the reader, through an online library.
In 2014, PocketBook then Kobo produced waterproof readers.
In 2016, Kobo released a new feature called “ComfortLight” (or “ambient light”) that allows you to read at night or in dim light, without being blinded by too much white light. Above all, this feature reduces the blue light emitted by screens and thus makes it easier to fall asleep. In 2018, Kobo adds “ComfortLight Pro” mode which automatically adjusts the light
The main selection criteria for an eReader concern the size of the screen, the reaction of the touch screen, compatibility, connectivity, and autonomy.
- Screen size: The larger a screen, the larger the characters can be, making it easier to read. However, it is possible to enlarge the text on a smaller reader, which will then be more portable.
- Screen reaction: Majority of screens are now touch-enabled, allowing highlighting, annotation, etc.; but not all screens respond as quickly to touch controls.
- Compatibility: Not all eBooks are published in the same formats, and not all eReaders support them. Additionally, some eReaders have exclusives: for example, Kobo eReaders will not be able to read digital books purchased from Amazon, which are formatted for their own eReader (Kindle).
- Battery life: When traveling or on the go, it can be useful to have a device with a long battery life. Some models allow weeks of use without having to recharge the battery, depending on the use made of it.
There are also other criteria. The weight can be a determining factor in the choice of an e-reader, these are indeed up to two times lighter than the tablets. The possibility of changing text parameters, such as typography (in particular to enlarge the characters), or greater respect for the editor’s layout wishes.
Advantages and disadvantages compared to the paper book
The digital format brings certain functionalities including the ability to carry an entire library with you, to enlarge the font size, to search for words in all the text, to use hypertext navigation functions, to highlight passages, to add personal notes or bookmarks and consult an internal dictionary, or even listen to the text using voice synthesis, consult the Internet and listen to audio files. In 2012, many e-readers were even equipped with a touch screen and Wi-Fi connection.
- Easy and discreet transport of the reader due to its low weight and small size
- Reading lightness in the hands
- Choice of font size and format, comfortable and suitable reading
- Features (zoom, dictionary, annotation)
- Backlight for night reading
- Library of hundreds of books available
- Library synchronized across all digital devices
- Reduced price and free books belonging to the public domain (free of copyright)
- Autonomy of up to several weeks of use
- Eye-friendly digital ink
- Possibility to read in the shower for waterproof models
- Loss of sensation to touch paper
- Autonomy limited to one charge and risk of breakdown or technical problems
- Possibility of control by the distributor of titles purchased (Ex: Amazon removes 1984 from Kindles).
- Limited loan of purchased books (ex: Amazon limits loans to 14 days)
Includes texts translated and adapted from Wikipedia