I had a look at the Sony e- reader in a shop at the weekend. It was actually quite impressive. It was the size of a large paperback but very skinny, 50mm probably, with control buttons on the bottom. It has the ability to bookmark your pages, select any of the books kept on it, vary the font size and the page looks like a paperback book, the page is off white with very clear black print. It comes with 100 classic novels and if you get a memory chip you can keep up to 1600 books on it. That is the good bit.
I read all the reviews on Amazon out of curiosity because - as a librarian - I wondered if we would be asked for download books in the not too distant future. Everyone loved the Sony reader. They all thought it worked really well and was extremely well designed, robust, readable etc etc.
There was universal condemnation of Waterstones who are Sony's partners in the UK. Their website is awful apparently, the prices of the e books is generally higher than their paper versions which, as there are no production or transportation costs, is pissing everyone off. The selection of e books is still poor with lots of books that people want not available in this country.
The digital rights management software which comes with the reader is apparently very clunky and not user friendly so lots of people are recommending alternatives, which are much easier and also work with Macs (Sony never make anything that works with Macs). One person who has not managed to come to terms with it has been reading the 100 classics and did say that he can see why they are classics as they are very good books.
It seems that the technology has outstripped the ability of the publishing and bookselling worlds to keep up (again). Publishers have still not managed to really come to grips with electronic delivery of serial items and the copyright laws are even further behind. But the main problem in the UK seems to be the lack of suitable books and suppliers. The USA is much better served in this area apparently, but because of copyright can't sell in the UK.
The idea of one of these really appeals to me because I would love to carry one slip item when I go on holiday instead of a bag full of books, but I would like to be able to buy the books I want to read, and I don't want to be ripped off on the price either. So I don't think I will be investing my £200 anytime soon, but when they get cheaper (as they will) and the number and cost of books improves I really think I would like one.