It’s the hot holiday gadget. The electronic book reader can be yours for just $149, including wireless connections for ordering and downloading books.
I did a column about my Sony Reader, which I still enjoy and carry around with me, and my new Apple iPad, which I use for reading books at home.
Moneyville did a rebuttal, saying an e-reader is better than a tablet.
You can see (from the 24 comments on my column) that e-readers are controversial. The formats aren’t standardized yet, so it’s not clear which one will be the winner. Remember Betamax versus VHS in video cassettes?
Also, I heard from many readers that the Kindle doesn’t work with library downloads because of Amazon’s proprietary technology. You need the ePub format, which Sony and Kobo can accept and Kindle can’t.
I also heard that iPad and iPhone screens are backlit, while e-reader screens are not. The back lighting can be harder on your eyes and cause strain if you read for hours at a time.
E-readers are not going to replace the traditional book, in my view. You can disable your e-reader if you drop it or expose it to water, while the old-fashioned book is much sturdier.
I heard from a man who bought 80 e-readers and found more than 10 per cent were damaged by users.
The screen on these devices is somewhat fragile. For one, they are not flexible and hard objects that land on them can render the screen useless. Essentially, they are not repairable.
I think this is great technology with a lot of potential, but there is also a slight downside that no one seems to be noting.