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Also known as e-readers or e-book devices, and spelled with or without the hyphen, e-book readers are mobile electronic devices that are designed primarily for reading digital books and periodicals, although many of them have other functions, as well.

In a general sense, any device that can display text on a screen might be referred to as an e-reader but, for the purpose of categorization, we will consider an e-reader to be a device that was specifically designed for digitally displaying the text of books, magazines, and newspapers.

As with many other categories in the computer section, there is some overlapping, in that many of the features of an e-reader could also be used to describe a tablet computer, such as an iPad, which could also be used to display digital book content, the chief difference being that tablet computers are designed primarily as mobile computer devices, whereas an e-book's primary purpose is to serve as an electronic book reader.

One of the most popular e-book readers is the Amazon Kindle, which is available in several models. However, Amazon also produces and markets the Kindle Fire, which can also be used as an e-book reader but which is more appropriately described as a tablet. In fact, the Kindle Fire is marketed as a tablet computer, not an e-book reader. A Kindle is purely an e-book reader, while a Kindle Fire is a tablet computer, which can be used to view webpages, to download and use computer applications, and stream movies.

The first distinguishing characteristic of a tablet computer is that it is designed to perform multiple functions, and the second point of difference is that a tablet computer does not rely a black-and-white or grayscale low-power reflective electronic ink screen, but uses a high-quality color backlit LCD screen, like that found in a laptop or desktop computer.

An e-reader is an electronic system for downloading and storing full-length books, magazines, newspapers, and other publications, and making them available for reading via a screen. A laptop or tablet computer can be capable of using e-reader software and, in such cases, the e-reader technology that allows this would be appropriate for this category, as well as the dedicated e-reader devices. For the purposes of categorization, desktop, laptop, and tablet computers will be considered computers, however.

The chief advantage of an e-reader over a printed book is that of portability, given that an e-reader can store the full text of thousands of books in a device that weighs less than one book. Additional advantages include extra features that are available in many e-book readers, such as bookmarking pages, highlighting text, accessing dictionary information, and making notations.

Most e-book readers display textual content as electronic paper rather than on an LCD screen. This leads to longer battery life and better readability. The drawbacks often include a grayscale-only display, although some e-book readers support color.

E-book readers usually include a means of accessing the Internet for the purpose of downloading books from an e-book retailer, and some allow users to buy, borrow, and trade digital books. E-books might also be able to be downloaded from a computer or read from a memory card.

Most e-book readers are designed to offer access only to the online shop operated by the provider of the e-book reader device, rather than from an open market.

Concerns about the move toward electronic books over printed books are centered around the changes that this has brought to the publishing industry and a decline in the availability of printed texts, as more and more books are only published electronically. Other concerns include policies of some e-book publishers, including Amazon, of making changes to or even removing digital books that have been purchased and downloaded by Kindle customers.

The most popular e-books include the Amazon Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Voyage, and Kindle Oasis, followed by the Kobo Touch, Kobo Glo, Kobo Mini, and Kobo Aura. The Barnes & Noble Nook and Nook GlowLight have a significant portion of the market, as well. Marketed primarily in France is the Bookeen Cybook Opus, Cybook Orizon, and the Cybook Odyssey, while Germany has the Tolino Shine and the Tolino Vision. Sold in Europe and China are the Onyx Boox Max2 and the Onyx Boox Note. The PocketBook Touch, PocketBook Mini, PocketBook Touch Lux, the PocketBook Color Lux, and the PocketBook Aqua are sold in Europe and Russia. There are others, of course, but these are the main ones.

Topics related to e-book reader devices or e-book reader technology are the focus of this category.



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