The E-Reader Revolution

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How many of you ChicagoNow readers own an E-Reader already and are enjoying it on a regular basis? With Paid Content reporting that 40% of U.S. online consumers had heard of e-Readers but have never seen them in person, that number still probably equals a small amount. Though the number is most likely growing steadily as more E-Reader products go on sale at your local book and electronics stores.

This is strikingly true realization to anyone who walks into a Barnes & Noble bookstore and sees the new displays for their Nook eReader set up. Or for those who wander for the first time in a while into a Best Buy store only to notice the new “Gadgets and Gizmos” sections and the e-Readers on display for testing.

“The E-Reader Revolution” will a series of previews of select eReaders that Media Tech Connection will begin rolling out over the next few days to inform those who are interested in finding out more about the new reading technologies that exist out there. So, let’s begin!

Firstly, the Amazon Kindle is an eReader than many have heard about simply because it’s Internet home is the widely popular online bookstore, Amazon.com. Amazon WhisperSync is a feature integrated with Amazon.com that syncs files with all Amazon devices, Kindle for iPhone, and others. The battery can also last days on end without a charge, and included is a new “E-ink” technology makes whatever you read look like ink on paper. While Kindle offers a wireless connection, it’s one downside is that it’s mainly restricted to Amazon’s online bookstore unlike other eReaders in the field. Kindle makes up for it’s downsides by giving you a personal e-mail address, PDF, DOC, TXT e-mail functions support. Along with bookmarks, MP3 playback, a web browser and 1,500 books built in memory the Kindle has a lot to offer. Finally, with 400,000 books total supported, 8,000 blogs, 120 newspapers and magazines it’s no reason the Amazon Kindle is one of the most popular eReaders out today. Also look for the Kindle for PC edition program for download at http://www.amazon.com/kindle to get an idea of how the Kindle software operates. The newly released Kindle DV now holds 3,500 books which is 2.5 times bigger than normal Kindle, so be prepared for big things to evolve from the Kindle line of eReader products.

Now the Barnes and Noble Andoid-based Nook reader being sold in physical stores boasts a range of features and appears to be in quick contention with the Kindle. The Nook can hold 1,500 books and have a well-rated Web site and customer support to back it up. There are 2 different Nook versions to choose from: The $149.99 has Wi-Fi and can connect wherever there is a wireless hotspot. The Nook for $199.99 has Wi-Fi and free 3G connection so it can connect anywhere.

The BN.com book store lets you search for and shop from more than a million eBooks, newspapers and magazines, which also offers free book samples of every book to offer a “try before you buy” option. An always “Online Library” lets you access books anytime in your collection and also features color covers, while a special “LendMe” technology lets you share eBooks with your friends. Bookmarks, note taking and highlighting as well as font changing boasts a range of customization features for the Nook.

Barnes & Noble also has an eReader for iPad available from app store, or you can download an equivalent for PC, the iPhone, iPod Touch, BlackBerry, or Mac to sync the last page read, keep notes and highlights with the iPad eReader app. It’s a nifty little feature and similar to the software version of the Kindle for PC reader. Go here for details: http://www.bn.com/ebooks.

Children can also get in on the eReader action by creating their own books at Tikatok.com, which also has features for parents to “Read a Book created by your child on your Nook.” For just $2.99 kids can create and publish their own eBooks. To finf out more about this interesting option see: http://www.Tikatok.com/Nook.

The Nook and Kindle however aren’t the only games in town. The Sony Reader directly rivals the previous eReaders with some of its unique features.

The Sony Readers offer touch-sensitive screen and wireless AT&T access to download books from many sources including libraries. Reader Touch Edition for $169.99, Reader Daily Edition for $299.99, and Reader Pocket for $149.99 with a lightweight 5″ screen. Combined with the Sony Reader store and Google Books it apparently gives owners access to over 1 million eBooks and retains a charge for 2 weeks. You can also subscribe directly to newspapers, like The New York Times and magazines directly through the reader. The Sony Reader is “more than just books” however. PDF support, Microsoft Word documents and MP3s are all accessable by the Sony Readers. Right now some of the Readers are being bundled as “Eat, Pray, Love” collections and available at a bit higher rate and are obviously aiming to lure buyers to the eReader realm with popular book packages, which really isn’t a bad idea to be honest. Find out more about the Sony Readers at http://www.ebookstore.sony.com/reader.

Next up in the “E-Reader Revolutions” series, the Plastic Logic Que, Heart Skiff, and Apple iPad make their debuts in the eReader realm with even more to come following those.

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