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Electronic Book Devices

Electronic Book Devices
Electronic Book Devices

Electronic Book Devices

This article is dated now, but still interesting as a historical document on four or five years old!

Electronic book devices are battery or / and mains powered devices for reading books that have been written in electronic format. These books are called electronic books or ebooks. The first ebooks were specialized technical manuals that did not warrant publication because the target market was too small. Later, and even now still, ebooks were scanned copies of already-existing books both technical manuals and fictional novels.

Nowadays, ebooks may only exist in electronic format if the author is finding it impossible to get a publisher to print his or her book. Electronic book devices used to be computers with a book-reading program loaded, but these days electronic book devices can be either general purpose computers or dedicated ebook reading devices.

Most people would put a date on the origin of ebooks at about 1995, but it is surprising to read that the Gutenberg Project started collecting ebooks (or digitizing existing paper books) in 1970 and that there were also plans to make dedicated electronic book devices at the same time.

In 1968, Alan Kay described his ideas for an ebook reader. In 1972, he sketched out his ideas for a children’s ebook reader with never-ending battery life. The technology was not there at the time, but the sketch looks remarkably like many modern electronic book devices.

The impetus to create ebook readers came from the US Army, surprisingly. The need arose because the documentation required to completely service or repair a battle tank in the field at the time required a trailer to house it that was bigger than the tank itself.

So, it seems that the future of electronic book devices is assured seeing as they already have a history of over 40 years and weapons are just getting more and more complicated and trees are getting thinner on the ground.

In the early days, because electronic book users were grouped into small niches, several different file formats for encoding the ebook grew up. This problem is not so large any more but still exists. Adobe Reader with its PDF format can be read by any ebook device, but MS Word format cannot be read by Apple computers without plug-in software.

Amazon is trying to make everything compatible with its Kindle with its free conversion offer. If you have a document that your kindle cannot read, you can email it to Amazon; they will convert it to their own, Kindle, format and email it back to you.

There are many, many electronic book devices on the market now, but Kindle is probably the market leader in dedicated ebook readers. This is for several reasons, not least being that it has built in Wi-Fi (wireless connectivity) which can access Amazon’s growing library of free and to-be-paid-for ebooks.

This free Wi-Fi access also allows you to send and receive free email while on the move almost anywhere in the world. Kindle electronic book devices come in two sizes come in two sizes. The larger, nine inch, model Amazon recommends for reading international newspapers, magazines and technical books; while the smaller, six inch, model is for reading novels. These are only recommendations though and both sizes of electronic book devices will read anything.

Other features of Kindle electronic book devices are: touch screen operation, integrated dictionary and internal storage capacity for about 3,500 ebooks.

by +Owen Jones

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