7.14 eBook Readers

After many false starts, ebook readers have become a popular reality, probably through Amazon's marketing of its combined hard- and software package (Kindle radio-download of ebooks).

eBooks can also be read on tablet computers (of which over one hundred models exist) and on some mobile phones.

Several million Kindle units have been sold, though many would-be customers are waiting till prices fall, both of etitles and the readers themselves.

e-Ink Technologies

eBook readers fall into two basic categories, those which use the backlit screens (liquid crystal display) of tablet PCs, and those which use the newer technologies of e-ink. {1} The latter employ three components:

1. Millions of tiny microcapsules or cavities,
2. A dark ink or oily substance filling the microcapsules or cavities, and
3. Pigmented chips or balls with a negative charge floating inside the microcapsule.

Acting as pixels on the conventional VDU screen, these microcapsules are very small: 100,000 of them would fit into a square inch. The microcapsules are wired to microelectronics circuits embedded in a thin plastic sheet. By applying a positive or negative charge to the microcapsules, the microelectronics cause their pigmented chips to float partially up or down, creating the desired text or images.

Xerox's system is similar, but employs microscopic balls that are black on one side and white the other. The microelectronics circuit rotates the balls to the required extent.

ebook reader

diagonal

screen-

size

(inches)

weight

(oz)

storage  

Ebook

formats

notes

iLiad 0100

8.1

13.7

64-224 MB

PDF, XHTML,

TXT, and MP3

E-ink

technology

Cybook

10.1

35.2

32-256 MB

PDF, HTML,

RTF and TXT

Includes word

processor and

spreadsheet

Sony eBook

Reader

PRS-700BC

6

9.0

256MB/

300 books

BBeB (Sony

format), .TXT,

.PDF, .JPEG,

.GIF, .PNG

E-ink technology:

touch-screen:

100,000 titles

Kindle 2

6

10.2

1,500 titles

.AZW(Kindle

format),

.PRC, .MOBI,

.MP3, .AA

and .TXT

Includes text-

to-speech.

285,000 titles

available:

wireless

download (US)

Kindle Fire

7

14.6

6,000 titles

Kindle (AZW), TXT,

PDF, unprotected

MOBI, PRC DOC,

DOCX, JPEG, GIF,

PNG, BMP, non

DRM AAC, MP3,

MIDI, OGG, WAV,

MP4, VP8.

Wi-Fi

connectivity:

touch screen:

8 GB

iPad

9.7

24

16-64 GB

JPG, TIFF, GIf,

DOC, DOCX,

HTML, PDF,

RTF, XLS,

iTunes

Includes MP3, MP4

and MOV.

Multi-language

support.

Entourage

Edge

9.7 e-ink +

10.1 LCD

c 3 lbs

 

PDF ePUB,

Doc, XLS, TXT

200,000 titles,

SD & SIM cards,

USB & WiFi.

Stylus

for writing

and drawing

Q pro-

reader

10.7

17

8 GB

.PDF, Word, PP,

Excel, ePub, GIF,

JPEG, PNG,

BMP, and TXT

Wi-Fi connectivity.

4 GB version also

available

Nook

6 + 9

11.2

3-16 GB

.PDF, .MP3,

.ePUB

Originally e-ink

gray but now

color LCD.

Wi-fi: books

can be 'loaned'

Questions

1. Give a short history of ebooks, and suggest why they have recently taken off.
2. Describe the two display systems for ebook readers. Which would you prefer, and why?
3. How would you, on a regular basis, convert content for an iPod to something that could be read on a Kindle?
4. Your masterpiece is to be published in ePub, Kindle and PDF formats. Do an Internet search to find what digital rights management software is available to discourage piracy.

Sources and Further Reading

Need the references and resources for further study? Consider our affordable (US $ 4.95)  pdf ebook. It includes extensive (3,000) references, plus text, tables and illustrations you can copy, and is formatted to provide comfortable sequential reading on screens as small as 7 inches.

   Get your eBook here.