On a recent airplane trip, I was intrigued by a woman across the aisle reading with Amazon's Kindle device. A few days ago at my friendly neighborhood Borders, I tried out the Sony Reader.
The Sony device held my interest for several minutes. The back-lit screen was a bit too bright, but the type was clear and readable. I couldn't quite get the hang of turning the pages with my index finger, but pressing the little arrow button worked well.
I wouldn't mind having a Sony Reader or Kindle for work and research reading, as a supplement to my traditional books and magazines. The Sony information said it gives access to 60,000 books through Border's e-library, so I imagined myself happily looking for difficult-to-find books. I suppose you could find a variety of magazines and newspapers. The Sony has a audible device, so it could be useful for delving into books one might not want to devote time to reading. I wasn't clear how the access to all of those books worked. The device itself cost around $200, and I suppose I'd have to pay an addition few dollars for each book used. In the long run, it would be much less expensive than paying for books, but I more and more use the library. I had another question: whether Borders, already on economic thin ice, will further destroy its own business by promoting the Sony.
In the final analysis, I would hate to replace books, newspapers and magazines with the Kindle or Sony. For one thing, you hold the device in one hand, and there's something pleasurable about sitting in a chair and holding a book with two hands. I also like the full aesthetic experience of a book: its cover, its binding, its type, its illustrations, its photographs. I enjoy the same features in magazines and newspapers. Plus, I like to fold a newspaper's pages, and clip out articles and photos. In short, I will remain an unreconstructed member of the print generation, although I more and more enjoy reading on the Internet.
In five or 10 years, books, magazines and newspapers as we have known them undoubtedly will be extremely rare, and our only option for reading new material will be the Sony or the Kindle. I wouldn't find that so bad, especially if some niche publisher continues to print books and magazines for the dwindling number of readers like me. We will quickly die out, or have our minds re-grooved to the new order. All hail the electronic light!