eReader : Computer Hardware Buyers’ Glossary


Introduction Major eBook Formats
Other eReaders Software Readers
Choosing the Right eReader Links


aka eBook reader is a portable hand-held device dedicated to reading eBooks (electronic books). The main ones are:

Other eReaders

Various other multi-purpose hand held units can be used as eReaders such as Blackberries, Apple iPhones and iPads, various tablet computers. Most people may experiment with that route and then get a dedicated eReader.

Choosing the Right eReader

They are all light weight. All have excellent screens. All carry far more books than you could ever read. You cannot go badly wrong.

Major eBook Formats

If you own a Kindle, you will buy your proprietary format AZW/KF8 copy-protected eBooks from Amazon.
If you own a Kobo, you will buy your ePub eBooks from Kobo.
If you own a Nook, you will buy your ePub eBooks from Barnes & Noble.
If you own a Sony, you will buy your ePub eBooks from Barnes & Noble or Kobo.

Formats Supported by Various Readers
Reader AZW KF8 MOBI ePub acsm pdb pdf

Old eBooks sold at Barnes and Noble are in pdb format. New ones are in ePub.

This is just a rough guide. Before you buy, double check the abilities of the particular model you are considering.

DjVu format has advanced compression technology that makes it very good at handling high resolution images of scanned documents and photographs. With DjVu you can take a 300 DPI (Dots Per Inch) high resolution scan and store it in less than 100 KB. Unfortunately, none of the eReaders currently support it. You have to view it on a computer.

ePub is an open format. Kindle AZW (Amazon Word) and KF8 are proprietary to Amazon. AZW is MOBI (Mobile pocket eBook format) plus weak copy protection. Apple eBook stores use ePub format. BlackBerry uses MOBI format. All else being equal, open: good, proprietary: bad. The two most important formats to create are MOBI and ePub. Apple currently has book-reading software for its iPhones and iPads.

Software Readers

If you don’t have the money for a Kindle or Sony, you can still read eBooks on your computer. There are three basic kinds of readers:

Why might you consider a software reader?

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