But despite the fuzzy definition, a true eReader is designed primarily as a device for reading eBooks. Many new models tack on extra features though, such as WiFi or mobile network (a.k.a. high-speed) connectivity, and built-in support for downloadable songs, movies or applications, though. In addition to making it easy to download and read books, they can be used to surf the web, watch videos, play music and download software programs and games – all things kids love to do.Think of them as “lite” versions of tablets that offer a similar range of functionality, if often less computing power.
The continued increase in popularity of eReaders has already had a marked impact on the way people purchase and consume books. Amazon.com actually sells more digital copies than print volumes now, and many insiders say that the popularity of eBooks helped contribute to the decline of brick and mortar bookstores, such as Borders, which shuttered its doors in 2011. A study from Harris Interactive goes so far as to show that, more than 50% of U.S. adults were using an electronic reader device such to catch up their favorite classics, independent-published books and New York Times bestsellers.
Overall, most important for parents to remember is as follows. Market leaders are actively working to make eReaders more powerful and PC-like in nature, even as prices continue to fall. This means that devices labeled as humble eReaders will, going forward, as often as not often much more comprehensive computing and connectivity features. Like any connected devices, they’re a small window onto a much larger online universe.
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