Reading, The Other White Meat
My take on them.
As soon as I could afford it I bought a Palm Vx back in, well whenever they were available. It was mostly a toy, but I soon found useful ways to use it for work. One application I found for it which wasn't for work was an eBook reader. Not sure which reader at this point, but it opened up the world of electronic books to me. I soon found Fictionwise.com and started downloading as many cheap or free short stories as were available. I was still read large novels just not on my PDA. It worked great and I always had something to read while at work without having to carry a dead tree around with me all the time.
I've never stopped. I've gone through a few pieces of hardware. The Palm Vx followed by a Sony Clié(dog awful battery life, but great graphic resolution) and then a Palm Tungsten T5 which I had been using with the Mobipocket reader up until December of last year. It was finally time for a new phone and I picked up a Motorola Droid. At that point I switched to the eReader software which has been working well. It's not as versatile as Mobipocket was, but there isn't currently a version for the Android OS so there wasn't much choice in having to change if I wanted to use the phone to read eBooks.
The recent proliferation of dedicated eBook readers from different sources, Amazon and Barnes & Noble just to name two, has drawn a lot more people to consider them. Dedicated readers have been available for quite a while, but Amazon's Kindle really kicked off what has become quite a flood of new electronic book hardware to the market. The idea of being able to carry around a lot of books in one small package is a major plus. In fact it was the main reason I started up with it way back on my Vx.
There are some drawbacks to the format I choose to read on versus the new "book" sized hardware. One of them is the small type size, but luckily my reading eyesight is excellent so reading small type is not an issue and according to my eye doctor should never be. (Woohoo!) This makes a difference when reading on a small screen device. The new readers simply due to their larger screen allow for larger type while still fitting a decent amount of text on screen at once. The eReader app on my Droid does allow for some really large font sizes at the cost of fewer words per page. I'm 100% behind the idea of the new readers. However, I won't be getting one.
The reason being is simple. They are too big. If I want to bring it with me I need to carry it. In my hands. In a bag. Something. Not convenient. If I'm going to have to carry it or something to carry it in I might as well just bring a regular book. At least if I forget or lose the real book I'm only out a few bucks. Lose the other and I'm out not just the price of a book, but the cost of the platform I'm using to read it. Now the same can happen with my phone or a PDA, but I feel like I'm less likely to misplace those. Tons of reading at my fingertips and in a package small enough to fit in a pocket. Pants, shirt, jacket, doesn't matter it fits.
The best part about this latest device for reading eBooks is that now it's on the same device as my phone. I've decreased the stuff I have to carry around. It's nice. I still carry my Zune for music in the car and at work since the memory on the Droid just isn't large enough at this point to carry all of my music. If a 60Gb version of the Droid comes out I'm in. One device for phone, tunes, reading and entarweb access that all fits in a small pocket. Drooooooool. As it is right now I'm pretty happy with what I've got. Books to read wherever I'm at. Sweet.