eBook readers have been around for many years, with Sony having pioneered the early marketplace advances, but there have always been drawbacks. The first hurdle was price - many of the early eBook readers cost well in excess of £300, and had poor responsiveness, bad industrial design and user interfaces and software that made it difficult to obtain and navigate content easily.
Several generations later and I think that Amazon has finally started to make the experience largely effortless with their latest offering, the Kindle 3. The price for the 3G edition is an eminently affordable £149, whilst the WiFi only model is an even more tempting £109. Being an avid reader, I had previously lambasted eBook readers for a number of reasons, but as the technology has become thinner, lighter, cheaper and more portable, I’m finally seeing reasons to open my pocketbook and make a purchase. With acres of classics freely available in the public domain, I could browse, download and read some wonderful novels without having to worry about library fines or waiting for a book to be delivered.
I’m still not certain that an eBook reader can fully turn me away from a trusty hardback, but for some purposes, I think it would make an excellent companion device, particularly for the frequent traveller.