E-reader roundup: 8 devices compete for the crown

We look at the current state of the market and review 8 of the most popular e-readers

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Although Amazon sells books in its proprietary format, AMZ, the Kindle can download and read DOC, DOCX, PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PRC and MOBI files from any number of digital libraries and bookstores. Besides the standard dictionary, it provides direct access to Wikipedia.

Amazon offers a two-year extended warranty against accidental damage or destruction. It also sells a $59 leather case that includes a built-in Kindle-powered light for reading in the dark.

What's not: Instead of displaying the page number, the Kindle shows a progress bar and percentage read, plus somewhat cryptic location numbers (such as 27 19-39) and a meaningless total data amount (e.g., 22247). Web access is still listed as a beta function, meaning that it's very slow and requires some manipulation in order to make it properly display and navigate.

But the Kindle's most glaring omission is Amazon's stubborn refusal to embrace the industry-standard ePub file format, which somewhat limits the number of books available for purchase.

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