An e-book reader is similar in form to a tablet computer. A tablet computer typically has a faster screen capable of higher refresh rates which makes it more suitable for interaction. Tablet computers also are more versatile, allowing one to consume multiple types of content, as well as create it.
The main advantages of e-book readers are better readability of their screens, especially in bright sunlight, and longer battery life. This is achieved by using electronic paper technology to display content to readers. Commercially sold electronic paper is mostly available in black and white (16 shades of gray). The Sony Librie, released in 2004 and the precursor to the Sony Reader, was the first ebook using electronic paper. First color at market's is Ectaco jetBook Color.
Many e-book readers can use the internet through Wi-Fi and the built-in software sometimes provides a link to a digital OPDS Library or e-book seller, allowing the user to buy, borrow, and receive digital e-books free through this library or seller. In this way, the books owned by the user are managed in the cloud, and the e-book reader is able to download material from any location. An e-book reader may also download material from a computer or read it from a memory card.
Research released in March 2011 indicated that e-books and e-book readers are more popular with the older generation than the younger generation in the UK. The survey carried out by Silver Poll found that around 6% of over-55s owned an e-book reader compared with just 5% of 18 to 24-year-olds.