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eReaders (or eBook readers) are hand held devices mainly meant for reading text files and books. Most popular brands of eReaders include (but are not limited to) the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, and the Sony Reader.

Despite being in tablet form, eReaders often use less power than their tablet computer counterparts. This can usually be attributed to their use of electronic ink, rather than an LED-backlit display. Where tablets have multiple functions and generally rely on apps to be productive, eReaders specifically focus on displaying text for the user to read and interact with.

How eReaders Work

eReaders are able to hold many different forms of text files, specific compatibility will differ by device. For most eReaders, there is a designated online store where users can buy e-books (such as the Kindle Store or Nook Book Store). These stores are often accessible both online and from the device itself. For personal files and text documents, a few more steps are required and the process depends on which device you are using.

For a detailed, specific guide on using the Amazon Kindle, click here.


The eReader is essentially a paper replacement. eReaders often use additional functions in order to enhance the user's reading experience that are different from reading physical text.

  • A professor or student may want to keep their class readings or textbooks on an eReader rather than carrying around heavy physical copies of them.
  • Most eReaders will read text out loud to the user, a feature which visually impaired users may find helpful.
  • Those whose eyes may hurt from reading small text or from a computer screen may enjoy the e-ink and the customizable text features, such as font size.
  • Built-in device tools allow the user to take notes and highlight sections on-the-go.

Information & Further Reading

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What others are saying about eReaders:

  • Pro: The devices are lightweight and compact.
  • Con: Many users prefer the physical text, as there are more options for interaction.
  • Pro: The battery life on many eReaders is outstanding.
  • Con/Pro: E-ink screens aren't very good for reading in low light, but they are great for reading in the sun with no glare.
  • Pro: Many eReaders have a feature which will read the text out loud to you. This could be used in working with disabilities.
  • Con: Some eReaders don't have page numbers, issues have been encountered with referring back to text.