Friday, July 25, 2008

The way forward for e-books?

The hype for the new Sony e-Reader has just caught my eye. On the face of it, this looks like a really good product. Not only will it store up to 160 books at once, but you can read a whole page at a time, just as you would with a real book, rather than having to scroll madly back and forth and up and down just to finish a sentence. (I once tried to read an e-book on my husband's palm-pc and nearly blinded myself.) And, apparently, one battery charge gives you enough juice for over 6,000 'page turns', which is (they say) enough to read War & Peace five times, assuming you would want to. LOL.

If this is as good as it sounds, it could be a real breakthrough in e-books and e-readers. Other products I've seen have been clunky, the screen has been small and hard to read, and you can often only store a handful of books at a time.

I do have a few concerns, though. One is the cost. This thing is currently retailing at £199 - that's around $400 - which is an almighty amount given that you have to pay for the books to put on it as well. I'm also baffled as to when it's going to be available. According to The London Paper, it's available in the UK today. But according to the official website, it's not available till September. Hmmm. And I'd need to actually see one in action before I splashed out the cash. Is the screen as clear as it looks in the promotional pictures? Is it easy to operate? Does it take ordinary batteries or do you have to pay for something that only Sony make/supply, at greater cost? How heavy is it to lug about? And does it handle any file type, or do you have to buy one specific type of e-book that only one bookstore chain or distributor actually sells?

Until some of those questions are answered, and until the cost comes down a bit, I won't be paying out for one. But it's the first e-reader I've seen that's even got close to tempting me...

2 comments:

Emily Veinglory said...

I bought one. Big waste of money, the better keeps crapping out on me and the screen contrast is not great. It blinks a black page between pages. You can't change the font size on pdfs. 5/10 at best. le sigh.

fiona glass said...

Yikes! And at nearly £200 that really is a *big* waste of money. I think I'll wait till they've unteethed their teething problems...