NEW YORK -- Digital books are writing the next chapter in the history of literature, changing the way people read.
Amazon.com just announced it's selling more books for its Kindle e-Readers than paperback books! Since the beginning of the year, for every 100 paperbacks Amazon bought from Amazon, 115 books for Kindle have been scooped up. Sales of digital books had already out-paced those of hardcover editions - tripling them, in fact.
The Nook is also a big seller.
And the use of apps for smart phones and tablet computers is also on the rise.
With so much to choose from, which e-Reader is best to suit your needs? Which will help you turn the page to reading's new world?
"Early Show" tech expert Katie Linendoll explained what each has to offer, to help you decide:
The Kindle continues to lead the pack when it comes to e-Readers. It's Amazon's highest-selling item, and at $139 for the less expensive model, they're reasonably priced. For 50 bucks more, you can get a Kindle with WiFi to access the Internet. They're compact (6-inch screen) and lightweight -- at 8.5 ounces, they weigh less than most paperbacks. They download a book in 60 seconds and can hold up to 3,500 books. Some of the LCD screens on other e-Readers and tablets make it hard to read in sunlight, but the Kindle has technology built to enable you to read even on the sunniest of days. Also, the battery life is great - with the wireless off, it can hold a single charge for up to a month, and hundreds of thousands of titles are reasonably priced (less than $10). All in all, a good, solid device for the avid reader looking to make the jump from book to e-reader.
The Nook, made by Barnes and Noble, is another very popular e-reader. We had a NookColor on the set. These e-readers are a bit more expensive, but have more capabilities. The screen, which is color, is slightly bigger than the Kindle's (7 inches) and they're a bit heaver (weighing just under a pound). But with access to WiFi, it shares some of the features we see in tablets: There's more to experience in terms of multimedia: You can put your music on here, download apps (run off Android), visit social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. You can even access documents and play games like Sodoku and chess. Two things I love about the Nook: The font style and size are adjustable. So for people who prefer larger font sizes, this is a great device. Nooks are also good for kids: Aside from the vibrant colors on the color screen, the books can be read aloud. So these devices are great for both the older and younger generations of readers. You can access more than 2 million titles in addition to magazines and newspapers. The Nook also allows free, in-store browsing of full-text books while you're inside Barnes & Noble stores (for one hour), and there's a 14-day "Lending" process where you can borrow e-books library-style.
In addition to the actual e-reader devices, there are apps, a Nook app, a Kindle app, etc. available for both smart phones and tablets (like the iPad). And the best part is, they're free! So if you own a tablet or a smart phone and would prefer to use that for your reading, all you need to do is download the app of your choice (just as you would any app) to enjoy many of the features we just mentioned. Of course you'll still have to pay for the books. Also, you won't get, for example, the screen of the Kindle on your iPad or smart phone. And obviously, reading a book on a 3 or 4-inch smart phone screen might present challenges for some. But for those of us resistant to buying an e-reader, this is a great alternative.
Apple has developed its own e-Reader program
If you have a tablet, say an iPad, you also have access to Apples iBooks, which gives you a different option for downloading an e-book.
Is the rise of the tablet, like the iPad, bad news for e-Readers?
You might think the tablet will replace the e-reader, but the truth is, e-readers are a completely different hands-on experience than a tablet. They are made solely for reading. In a recent study by JP Morgan, 40 percent of iPad users had a Kindle. And another 23 percent plan to buy the Kindle in the next 12 months. Plus, tablets can end up costing you hundreds more. So if you're just interested in a reading device, e-readers are a less expensive option. And some of them can still give you access to the internet thanks to the WiFi feature.
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