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    E-Book Readers: are they still needed?

    By

    January 15, 2014

    Kindle Family 4I remember being not more than 14 years old when I first heard about an e-book reader. I’ve wanted one since then. Even now, when tablets and the iPad seem like a much more practical alternative, I sometimes wish I had an e-book reader. E-book readers became popular with the release of the Amazon Kindle in 2007. These readers made use of special E Ink screens to display the text. This kind of ink looks a lot like paper, and does not hurt the eyes.

    Book lovers might always go back to the familiar feel of the paper back and the luring scent of old books, but even they cannot but ignore the practicality and convenience of a gadget like the e-book reader. Newer, more developed versions of the e-book reader also offer features like sunlight readability and edge lighting to enable reading in the dark. Unlike most other display screens, the E Ink Screen uses reflected ambient light and hence, consumes lower amount of power. Not only is the display of the Ink Screen closer to the touch screen, thus reducing parallax problems; but every pixel on the screen is either in an electronically ON or OFF state until it needs to make a change. So, the screen consumes power only when the state of one or more of these pixels changes, for example, if we need to turn a page. This unique technology lends the extraordinary battery life to e-book readers. But do all these advantages weigh against the fact that there are better options available, at a very little difference in cost? For example, the Amazon Kindle Fire goes for $159 while the Kindle Paperwhite goes for $119. For a difference of 40 dollars, would you rather not get a tablet which is capable of doing so much more? Also, with the variety of applications available on different platforms, like the Kindle App, the Kobo App, Apple’s iBooks or Google Play Reader, the e-book reader seems somewhat redundant. Despite all its flaws, the e-book reader has been able to stay strong in the market for so long. I guess, with fewer distractions to mar the reading experience, the appeal of an e-book reader precedes its utility!

    Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.

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