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Amazon Kindle

We’ll start our tour of eBook readers with today’s market leader, the Amazon Kindle. The Kindle is not only the best-selling eBook reader, but it’s also the most established; the current model is actually the third generation of the device (see Figure 1). Amazon claims it’s the best-selling item on their entire site.

Figure 1 Amazon’s market-leading Kindle eBook reader.

The Kindle is pretty much a traditional, single-purpose eBook reader. Yes, it offers rudimentary web browsing and MP3 music playback, but it’s designed for reading first and foremost. To that end, the Kindle’s non-glare E-ink Pearl display is crisp with great contrast; many consider it the best screen in the business for book reading.

The Kindle is available in two versions. The $139 WiFi-only model lets you purchase and download books via Amazon’s proprietary Whispernet network over any WiFi network. The $189 model adds 3G connectivity, so you can access Whispernet over any 3G phone network.

Both models have a 6” display and a super-long battery life; you can go up to a month without recharging (with the wireless turned off). Plus there’s a dedicated keyboard for searching the Kindle Bookstore. (The Kindle itself does not have a touchscreen, as some other eBook readers do.) The Kindle reads books in Amazon’s proprietary MOBI format; it cannot read EPUB-format books.

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