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Step 4: What eBook Readers and ereaders are currently available in the marketplace?

What's coming?

By Jack Burden

Below is a listing of currently available eReaders. We have limited this list to devices dedicated to being eBook readers and have excluded smartphones, computer software and tablet computers such as the iPad which can also be used for digital reading. Unless noted these devices use an electronic paper screen.

Amazon Kindle

The Kindle is probably the most popular eReader, it wasn't the first one but with Amazon's marketing muscle it has become the best known. Kindle is now in it's third generation and boasts a new high contrast screen, lighter weight and thinner construction. It has a built in dictionary, better PDF support, a rudimentary web browser and the ability to automatically upload your notes and highlights directly to your Facebook or Twitter profile. The Kindle is available in a WiFi only version and a 3G and WiFi version, it also comes in the traditional white and new graphite colors.

Amazon Kindle DX

The Kindle DX is based on the second generation Kindle but has a larger 9 inch screen. This model is better for reading some documents and especially PDF files.

Barnes & Noble Nook

Barnes & Noble's answer to the Kindle also has a 6 inch e-ink screen but incorporates a color touch display for browing your library and other fuctions. The Nook supports more file formats than the Kindle and enables checking out e-books from your local library and loaning books to friends. The library and loaning has a time limit before access to the book shuts down. The Nook is also available in WiFi only and 3G/WiFi versions.

Barnes & Noble Nook Color

The Nook Color is B&N's newest offering. It has a 7 inch, full color touch screen. This is a backlit, refreshing screen so the Nook Color is perhaps more of a tablet computer than an eReader. The Nook Color runs on the Android operating system found in many smartphones and some other tablets.

Sony PRS-950

The PRS-950, called the Reader Daily Edition, sports a 7 inch e-ink touch screen. It is the largest of the Sony eReader models and supports many file formats, checkout from your local library and access to Sony's Reader store. Use a stylus for easy highlighting and a virtual keyboard for taking your own notes and making annotations.

Sony PRS-600

The PRS-600 is known as the Reader Touch Edition, it has a 6 inch, e-ink touch screen. The touch screen allows for a compact design since there is no need for another touch screen or button controls on the face of the unit. The unit supports the same file formats as the PRS-950 but is smaller, lighter and less expensive.

Sony PRS-350

The Reader Pocket Edition shares the same features as the Reader Touch edition but has a 5 inch, e-ink touch screen for an even more compact design. The Reader Pocket Edition is perfect for reading on the go.

Borders Kobo

Another large bookstore chain has entered the ereader market. Borders has introduced the Kobo e-book reader, it features a 6" electronic paper screen made by the same manufacturer that supplies the screens for the Kindle and the Nook. One of the interesting features is the back of the unit, it is quilted for a comfortable feel. It uses a 5 way digital pad at the bottom of the unit for navigation and has one gigabyte of internal memory. There is no 3G or WiFi connectivity but it can use USB or Blue Tooth to sync books to the unit. It comes in at a cheaper price than some of it's cosest competitors but it also is lacking in some of the features of those units.

Pandigital Novel Digital Reader (LCD Screen)

The Novel by Pandigital uses a 7 inch LCD touch screen rather than an electronic paper screen. The LCD screen requires backlighting which drastically shortens battery life when compared to e-paper competitors. The LCD screen allows the Pandigital novel to be a multimedia device and show full color video and display animated content such as games and animated websites. The Novel is not a tablet computer but it has more functionality than the average eReader. If you are bothered by reading on a backlit refreshing screen then you will prefer an electronic paper device.

Sharper Image Literati (LCD Screen)

The Literati is another color LCD based eReader although this color screen is not a touch screen. The controls below the 7" color screen give the Literati an elongated shape when compared to it's competitors. The Literati rather inexpensive for a full color device and this could help it against some of it's more full featured competitiors.

Ectaco Jetbook

The Ectaco Jetbook has a 5" electronic paper screen and is the only eareader to run on AAA batteries. There is no WiFi or 3G connectivity but it supports many file formats than can be put on the Jetbook by connecting it to your PC. The Jetbook was significantly less expensive than it's competitors at one point but they have come down to match or beat the Jetbook's price and functionality.

Aluratek Libre

Before Borders Books put out the Kbo they did't have their own branded eReader like Amazon and Barnes & Noble and they had tied their name and online eBook store to the Libre by Aluratek. It has a 5" e-paper LCD screen and has 24 hours of continuous battery life. This is siginificantly less than other e-ink competitors. It is slightly less expensive than it's direct competitors but doesn't share the robust feature set.

11 Step Guide to Buying an eReader

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