Bought yet another gadget today. It is the new Sony e-reader. Sony have actually got around to launching the device in the UK, in conjunction with Waterstones bookstore. What made it particularly attractive to me was the way that it ships with 100 classic books on CD-ROM. I actually got the device for number one wife, who really likes the idea of having every book by Jane Austen with her at all times.
It is really nice, very shiny and the screen is lovely to read. It is based on an ink based technology which requires no power at all to retain the display. This means that battery consumption can be measured in page turns, rather than hours. The book says it is good for over 6000, which equates to quite a lot of reading.
Number one wife (and I) really like the device. I've loaded it up with pretty much everything that came with it (You can get around 120 books into the 120M ram of the device and you can also add an SD card if you want to carry a really huge number of volumes)
The only annoyance is that the Waterstones ebook site, where you can buy DRM versions of new books, has a rather limited range of content at the moment. Also the prices are just stupid. I would expect an ebook, which has no resale value once you have bought it and costs nearly nothing to produce and distribute, to be quite a bit cheaper than the paper version. Savings of 3 quid on a sixteen pound book just don't cut it for me, particularly as these are against the advertised full price of the publication, which nobody pays anyway. If they don't get their act together on these issues then I can see them killing off the new device before it even gets started.
Some reviews have been very sniffy, saying things like "It will never take the place of a real book.". These people are missing the point. It is not a replacement for a physical tome. I expect our shelves at home to be groaning under the weight of volumes for some time to come. What it does do though is make it much easier to have a big chunk of your library with you at all times, which is really useful. And for trips away it would be terribly good. And if they get their pricing sorted out it would be a great way to buy and read all those books that you don't really want to have in physical form.
The device will also show monochrome pictures that actually look quite cute. And it can play audio as well, which is nice.
So nice that I got one for me as well, but you had already guessed that.