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How Does an eReader Work?

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 6/18/2010

How does that tiny machine download and deliver thousands of words of written text? The secret lies in E Ink technology. This article discusses E Ink and what it means for book lovers who are also concerned with the environment.

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    Amazon Kindle Ebook Reader Before answering the question "How do eBook readers work?", we must first discuss what an eBook reader is. An eBook reader is any device that displays eBooks. It can range from small devices like cell phone and PDAs to big devices like the Kindle or the iPad. These devices read different formats of eBooks including PDF files, plain TXT files, HTML files and other less known formats. We can categorize eBook readers into two groups; the stand-alone eBook readers and the devices that have uses other than being an eBook reader.

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    Dedicated eBook Readers and eBook Readers with Other Uses?

    eBook readers that have other uses are usually small devices like MP3 players, video players, cell phones and PDAs. These devices are not very efficient eBook readers because of their small display screens and backlighting that may not be friendly to users' eyes. Because these devices have other uses that may include phone communication, multimedia playback and mobile games, their battery life may not be sufficient to do everything their owner wants, including reading eBooks which actually just requires small amounts of energy.

    Dedicated eBook readers are more dependable and efficient eBook readers. They have bigger screens, more readable and friendlier to the eye displays, and a longer battery life. These stand-alone eBook readers are easily the best choice for a device in terms of reading, managing, organizing, purchasing and storing eBooks of multiple file type formats.

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    How do eBook Readers Work?

    Jetbook-lite Ereader To answer this question, we will focus on the stand-alone eBook readers because the older devices simply display eBook files like any other text or graphic file. Dedicated eBook readers are much more complicated than that. eBook readers use a technology called E Ink. This technology can be considered as electronic paper. E Ink uses energy to display text on screen, but once it is displayed, it no longer requires energy to keep the text visible. This saves the user a lot of energy. Because of this, eBook readers that use E Ink technology are considered green and environment-friendly. The downside of this technology is it can only display text and graphics in monochrome. Visually, this is a step backwards especially for people who like visually stimulating graphics and vibrant color displays that are usually seen in most modern devices like smartphones and touchscreen mobile devices.

    Some newer eBook readers are starting to feature color displays, though. More and more eBook readers are supporting capability for Bluetooth, high-speed Internet connection, touchscreen technology and the aforementioned color display. The Internet connection is used to access various online stores that offer eBook downloads. Once the eBooks are downloaded, it's just a matter of selecting, opening and flipping the pages to enjoy eBooks.

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    What are the Advantages of Dedicated eBook Readers?

    Dedicated eBook readers are larger than multi-purpose eBook readers but they are still compact enough to be portable and handy. A compact device that gives you access to hundreds of books is indeed extremely useful whether users are using them for studying, conducting business or simply relaxing and having fun. Being environment friendly, more and more people are using eBook readers that are simple to use, easy to carry and handy to have.