The iPod of eReaders?

Ever since the first mass market e-book was introduced (was the GlassBook first, or the Rocket eBook?), the media has debated whether these products meet the test of the “3 B’s”; usable in people’s favorite reading spots — the bed, the bathroom and the beach.

This morning, NPR’s Lynn Nearry and technology writer Rob Pegoraro took the Kindle to the beach (it would have been unseemly for them to take it to the bed or the bathroom). Unlike previous devices, it is not backlit, so it can be read in the sun. This is also true of its competitor, the Sony Reader. No lounging in a raft, however — it’s not water resistant. The major advantage over other eReaders is that 125,000 titles can be downloaded wirelessly.

The verdict? It’s good, “but not quite the iPod of eBook readers.”

The story concludes;

…if Kindle isn’t the future, you can see it from here: a better, cheaper product is sure to come along. And when it does, we may all be reading the classics electronically

Today’s NY Times may have a clue to that future; “flexible, foldable, even rollable…screens.” The article focuses on a new product, called the Readius. It’s not cheaper; when it is introduced in the US in 2009, it will cost more than the Kindle (now $359), but its flexibility makes more portable and therefore better.

You may not care so much about reading the classics on it, but imagine being able to carry a rollup device in your pocket and pull it out to check the catalog while helping customers in the stacks.

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