From The eBook Evangelist:
How do we define e-reader anymore? Or the term e-reading device? I ask this in all seriousness, because I think the way the terms are being used (or mis-used, as the case may be) creates a lot of confusion….
During CES2016, there was a lot of coverage about the new Samsung “Super Fridge.” The fridge featured cameras and a touchscreen and would allow you play music, stream TV, check if you are out of milk and even order groceries. Everybody was talking about this thing. It has been mocked and joked about on the Internet. This refrigerator is, in a way, both the poster child for everything the Internet of Things has the potential to be and, simultaneously, a symbol of status and decadence because of its expensive price tag.
Not surprisingly, shortly after the first announcement of this “Fridge of the future,” ebook blogs Teleread and The Digital Reader both asked the question, “Can you read books on it?” After, all isn’t that one of the first things we ebook lovers think of when we see shiny new electronic things?
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It used to be that when someone referred to an e-reader, they meant a dedicated device, probably e-ink, that was used almost exclusively for reading ebooks. Over the last few years, that definition has gotten quite a bit looser.
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Please don’t get me wrong. Reading on cell phones has totally revolutionized the way we are able to read. But there is no getting around the fact that that device’s primary function is to be a phone, not an e-reader. The fact that it is capable of e-reading is definitely a bonus factor. But just because you CAN read ebooks on a device like a phone does not mean that we should call it an e-reader.
So what’s the problem with calling a phone or a an iPad or any other tablet an e-reading device? In my opinion, quite a bit.
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How many articles have you read that slam e-readers for the blue light or the backlight that keeps someone awake at night? What about all the distractions that keep you from reading or complaints how difficult it is to take notes on a device? Each one of those questions has a different answer, depending on the device we are reading on. But the fact that all of these attributes is linked to the generic term “e-reader” can cause a great deal of consumer confusion.
If you are extremely tech savvy, the distinction probably does matter. But if you are someone looking to purchase a device, believe me, the definition does matter. I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had with someone who says they are looking for an e-reader. When I question them about what they want to do with the device, it becomes quite clear that what they are really looking for is a tablet that they can also use to read ebooks.
Link to the rest at The eBook Evangelist and thanks to Chris for the tip.