Longtime followers of GolfBlogger will know that I am a voracious reader, sometimes going through three to four books a week. I love the physical form of paper books, but over the last couple of years, I’ve also come to appreciate e-readers like the Sony Digital Reader Touch and the Kindle Wireless Reading Device. They’re lightweight, fit easily into a jacket pocket and can store hundreds of books. I especially like the last part. I have thousands of books in my house and have simply run out of room for more. I’ve given away many hundreds, but still the shelves are full.
The reading experience on the e-readers is quite nice. The e-ink pages that all of them use are reflective, rather than light-emitting, so they’re almost like reading a book. The main difference that I can detect is that the background is more grey than a regular paper page. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. Out-of-doors, white pages can be blinding. The e-readers are less so.
Book selection is good and getting better. I have a Sony, and can get books from a lot of different sources. Classics are available for free from the Gutenberg Project. If I want to buy a more recent work, I use online retailers Borders and Kobo. I can also get books from the public library through the Midwest Collaborative Service, as well as any free pdf files I find (and there are lots of those out there). With the entire world of pre 1911 (anything before this is copyright free) literature to choose from, I can do a lot of reading for very little cost.
To get the books from the ‘net to the reader, I just download the e-pub (or Word, or pdf) files to my computer, attach the e-reader to my computer and use the Sony software to copy it over. Another (free) ebook manager I use is Calibre. Calibre is neat because it also allows me to automatically download news from web and read it later at my leisure.
The advantage of the Kindle over my Sony is that Amazon has a larger book base, and they download directly to the Kindle, with no computer “middleman” needed.
Battery life on my Sony is excellent. I can easily go a week or two without a recharge. That’s because the device uses power only when the screen image changes. Otherwise the e-ink page is static.
And the price is coming down. I’m writing this now because I noticed an announcement by Amazon that they’re lowering the price of the Kindle to $114 —with a catch. The catch is that the device will display ads on the homescreen and on the screensaver. I don’t think that’s a problem. It won’t interfere with the reading experience. The price now is low enough that I’m going to spring for one of the new versions of the Kindle to go with my trusty Sony.