10 Disruptive Technologies You Use Every Day

E-Readers and E-Reader Apps
You could never tote around as many physical books at once as you can keep on your e-reader. © Artem Gorokhov/iStock/Thinkstock

E-Readers like the Amazon Kindle, the Barnes & Noble Nook and the Kobo Glo have taken a chunk out of the market for paper books. Most of them feature high-resolution black text on a white or slightly gray page for comfortable reading, and a few incorporate lighting so that you don't have to read by daylight or lamplight. Some advantages of e-books are that they tend to be at least a little bit cheaper than their paper counterparts, and you can carry dozens or hundreds of them with you on an e-reader. Libraries are even offering e-book checkout in some cases. E-readers also allow you to download and read newspapers, magazines and comics. And some of them will let you listen to an audio version of a book while you are reading.

But now that so many people carry smartphones and have tablets, the dedicated e-readers themselves are not necessary for switching to e-books. There are e-reader apps, like Kindle, Stanza and Apple's iBooks, through which you can order and read digital books on your mobile device or computer. Some even allow you to bypass downloads and read your books in the cloud. Kindle also makes its own multi-use color tablet, the Kindle Fire, that makes it easy to buy and read books, but also to do anything else you can on just about any other tablet.

One downside to e-books is that not everything is available in digital form yet, so you may still ave to read some of your chosen books on paper. Some people prefer the look and feel of a paper book and aren't likely to switch. Per a survey by Princeton Survey Research Associates International in early 2014, 69 percent of adults read at least one paper book in the previous year, 28 percent read at least one e-book and 14 percent listened to at least one audiobook. Some people use all three formats, although 4 percent of readers stick exclusively with e-books [source: Zickuhr and Rainie].