Information Services Department Collection and State Library Resources

Overview of eBooks & eReaders

Ebooks are really just books that you read on some type of screen, but it can definitely get a little confusing. This guide will help you figure the different ways you can read ebooks and where to get them. 


Ereaders Laptops  Tablets Smartphones

Kindle ereader

laptop computer 

tablet pc


Ereaders are designed specifically for the purpose of obtaining and reading e-books. They use special e-ink screens for better readability and longer battery life.

Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble Nook
Sony Reader 

These are mobile computers, capable of most functions performed by larger desktop computers.

Dell Inspirion
Sony Vaio

Tablets are mobile devices that merge many of the features of a laptop and a smartphone, and use a touch screen interface.

Galaxy Tab
Nook Color

Smartphones are Web-enabled phones that feature a variety of enhanced data services.



File Formats

Ebooks come in a wide variety of formats, and knowing a few of the main file types can help you find ebooks that work for you. 

EPUB (.epub) - Supported by most devices, but NOT Amazon’s Kindle. Ebooks from your library are often .epub files.

Portable Document Format (.pdf) - Consistent displays on every screen. Most devices can open .pdfs. Requires Adobe Acrobat.

Kindle (.azw) - Only work on Amazon’s Kindle ereader or other Amazon software. Library ebooks do not work on Kindles.

HyperText Markup Language (.html) - The standard format for webpages. Computers can read .html, but most ereaders do not.


Borrow eBooks and eReaders From Your Library!