Interesting article in Friday's USA Today regarding the digital reader wars. Lots of talk about the impact they are having on the industry, which we can discuss later.
In the meantime, in light of the fact that gift giving is on everyone's mind and several folks have emailed me recently asking if I have thoughts or opinions about one over the other, I thought it would be timely for us all to discuss the pros and cons of readers, and discuss their features and benefits. Maybe this discussion will be too late for all but the last minute shoppers and those who have parking and shopping angels on their sides, but I thought it would still be interesting and helpful to create a forum for those of us who have taken the digital reader dive to share what we've learned.
I own the Sony Reader and love it. I'm a fan of quality (basically because I'm thrifty and hate having to replace expensive electronics) so was really excited several years back when Sony announced they were creating one. I made myself wait until the second (or maybe it was the third) generation was released, and I bought the PRS 505. I've been very happy with it. Of course they've tinkered with it and released several newer versions: one with a backlight which quickly proved unpopular; a touch screen version which allows the user to highlight text and take notes and creates the sound of a turning page; and a more compact version (perhaps in an attempt to satisfy people under forty who are still capable of reading tiny, tiny print?)
Obviously I've closely followed Sony's progress, though I've yet been lured into an upgrade. Thing is, I mainly use mine for reading manuscripts and proposals, and it serves that purpose very well. It handles PDF's and Word docs beautifully, with no conversion needed. (I do have to save them to Sony's ebook library on my computer and then move them onto my reader via a cable, but it's a simple process, and I like that everything is backed up on my own computer in my library.)
To tell you the truth, I've yet to actually purchase a book for it, but it works very well with library programs and handles most audio books nicely. I'm shopping now and planning to treat myself to a pair of noise canceling headphones to go with it. Big decision in front of me is whether the new pair from Bose (vs. Sony) is worth the extra money.
Back to the reader, though. There are other readers on the market, of course. In addition to the Sony the most popular are Amazon's Kindle, and the latest new the Nook from Barnes and Noble is making a splash. If you've had the Nook in mind, either for yourself or as a gift, you'll have to settle for a gift card at this point as they are not shipping any again until after the first of the year. As far as I know, the Kindle is only available online, so there may still be time there. The whole Apple universe is foreign to me -- I'll let someone else chime in there.
Whether or not it benefits last minute gift givers, I'd love to hear from users regarding the pros and cons of their particular reader, and the ups and downs of using one.
Let's compare notes ...