I broke down and picked up an inexpensive ereader last night. A Sony PRS 300.
I decided not to put in a ton of time into researching the market alternatives as the technology is somewhat in transition. I am also interested to see what Apple may bring to the market. However, there were factors that drove me to try the platform now.
Weight and portability. Whenever I travel, I like to read. However, taking several books on a trip always presents a challenge particularly when traveling by air. Hardcover books are heavy and they take up a lot of space.
Legibility. As I now have to use progressive bifocals, finding the sweet spot on a larger hardcover edition is annoying. I am always moving my head. And reading at night becomes a balancing act as I try to move the book in the right direction of my focus area.
Archiving. Although I do not re-read books regularly, I like to have them accessible. Many years of collecting books means many bookshelves.
In much the same way that I have moved my music collection to iTunes — outside of the studio work most of my listening is done against 256kbps AAC files — I expect to increasingly build my collection of ebooks. The downside is that I cannot migrate my existing collection of physical books.
The ability to travel with a couple of hundred books on a digital device is very appealing. Using a device configured for reading, such as the eInk technology found in ereaders, makes the transtion to digital much easier than trying to read books on a computer or an iPod.
I was reading on my new ereader last night and it was a great experience. Lightweight, easy on the eyes, and a very straightforward user experience.