I'm trying out an AMAZON KINDLE. Love it.
It's clearly designed by people who READ. Delightful to read the newspaper, magazines, books, your own documents. You can read for hours comfortably. In fact, I believe that in many scenarios, I'd PREFER this, yes you read that right, I'd prefer the KINDLE to a real book or magazine. That surprises me, even though I was looking for the convenience of an ebook reader (dozens or hundreds of titles), I always expected to say, "of course the paper book is a better reading experience." That may be changing. This not only rivals the paper experience, it surpasses it in many ways. It's EASIER to hold than a hardback, easier to turn pages with one hand than a paperback or newspaper, and that's all before the extra features.
Extra features that books don't have: The New Oxford American Dictionary lookup is well integrated. One click gives you the line of text you're reading with all the key words neatly defined at once. Seamless link to Amazon that allows you to download free samples of titles in the KINDLE STORE (90,000 including most best sellers - no Harry Potter unfortunately). A few magazines and newspapers are available - all with two week free trial. All delightfully easy on the eyes. Then there's a rudimentary web browser so you can read free newspaper sites et al, but not designed for heavy web surfing. Or email. NOW I THINK THIS IS ACTUALLY A PLUS in a way - who needs all those distractions when you're lost in a book or lengthy article.
Virtual reference - an experimental feature I like. While reading Armageddon's Children, I wanted to know which was further south, Cleveland or Chicago. Within a few minutes I got the answer from NowNow. In fact, I got three replies, and all had the same final answer. Two cited wikipedia and one cited a better geographical source. I was delighted. I asked this late in the evening, mind you, and got the answer back right away - all without ever having to touch a computer.
I'm sure people who are gadget oriented will decry the obvious missing features - no touch screen, no backlight etc. You know, if those are the tradeoffs to get that outstanding reading screen, it's worth it. It's a pleasure on the eyes. It doesn't get hot or need a recharge every couple of hours like a computer does. It's just the right size, if you use the smallest font. It may be frustrating for folks who choose the largest font and need to turn the page every couple of paragraphs. Still, a nice feature to be able to make the font bigger if you need it.
Yes, I know about the DRM and privacy complaints, and I hear you. But you don't have to use Amazon as your source of content. I've emailed myself open documents that I want to read (10 cents a document). I've also gone to manybooks.net to get a bunch of mobipocket (or .txt) titles for free and transferred by cable - free. No tracking of my reading there. Couldn't get the SD card to work right yet, but that's supposed to work too. I also tried to use the clunky Kindle web browser to download directly from manybooks.net - without success.
What I would like, though, is better picture quality. And more pictures/diagrams that somehow get lost on their way from print to KINDLE e.g. in the San Jose Mercury News. Color would be nice, if it had that same high quality resolution. I'd also like to be able to type a password before making purchases from the KINDLE store. Yes, there's no password needed right now. Anyone who gets their hands on someone else's KINDLE can wreak all kinds of havoc with the account. I requested a password option from customer service, and it's on their list of suggestions.
Bottom line: Very expensive, but a pleasure to read real books, magazines, documents on a portable device.