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eBook Reader Devices and Apps Comparison

Smartphone reading applications may be able to steal more of the market share from eBook readers if they can offer the same (or even more) functionality as eBook readers. Some desired functionalities, especially for those reading material for academic purposes, include the ability to highlight material and make notes, see a concise summary or all annotations, bookmark material, sharing options, text search, PDF support, and access to 3rd party resources like dictionaries.

This table discusses functionality of eBook readers and apps, particularly those that are important for academic users. Amazon Kindle DX, for example, has a larger screen than the Kindle 2 and is geared toward academic users. Other sources provide information on the technical and hardware specifications for various devices, such as http://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_Reader_Matrix.

Functionality
eBook Readers
    Apps
   

Amazon Kindle1 Sony Digital Reader Daily Edition2 Barnes & Noble Nook3 Kindle app (iPhone, iPad, Blackberry)4 Kobo (iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Palm Pre)5 iBooks (iPhone OS 4, iPad)6
Annotations Highlights, notes and clippings. Cap at 7-10% of book. Not available for PDFs. Highlights and notes (including freehand option). Can search highlights. Highlights and notes. Not available for PDFs. Highlights and notes. Not available for Blackberry app. No Highlights and notes.
Summary of annotations Saves locations of highlights to text file to view on a computer. Export notes to your computer. Can view all annotations on a page, but not for an entire book. Saves locations of highlights to text file to view on a computer. No Yes
Bookmarking Yes, but not available for PDFs. Synchronizes across devices. Yes Yes. Bookmarks synchronize with  Nook app. Yes. Synchronizes across devices. Yes Yes
Share books with others No Can authorize up to 6 devices per book, but not allowed to share with other accounts Can lend books to 1 friend for up to 14 days No No No
Search Yes. Search within a book or entire library. Search title names. Search within a book. Search within a book (iPhone only) No Yes
PDF reader Yes, though does not support PDF annotation, zoom, or clicking on links Yes Yes. Does not support annotations. No No Yes
Folder navigation Yes (called "collections") 3rd party tools for folder organization No No No No
3rd party linking or search Ability to search Google, Wikipedia, or Dictionary Dictionary Dictionary Dictionary, Google, and Wikipedia search coming soon. No Dictionary
Other View most popular highlights. Text to speech option. Supports ePub. Partners with OverDrive to connect to library eBooks. Supports Word and .rtf documents. Supports ePub.      

1 http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375850
2 http://www.sonystyle.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10551&langId=-1&productId=8198552921665562069&storeId=10151#features
3 http://the-gadgeteer.com/2009/12/14/barnes-noble-nook-ebook-reader-review/
4 http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200298480
5 http://www.kobobooks.com/smartphones
6 http://www.apple.com/ipad/features/ibooks.html

Last updated: December 14, 2012
Document owner: Rachael Hu