This holiday season it seems that the eBook reader is the must-have tech gift.
I can understand why:
- Portable — it’s easier to carry one eReader loaded with a few hundred (or thousand!) books
- Searchable — some of the eReaders can scan and search for text passages, letting you bookmark them for future reference
- Annotations — in addition to bookmarking your pages, some eReaders let you make notes ‘in the margin’ so to speak. These can be saved out, exported to other docs for use
But even though eReaders are the rage — you may want to wait another few months before you invest;
- Technology is improving — the nifty eInk process used to display highly readable text on an LCD-like screen is improving. The refresh rate and pixel resolution is improving, so the annoying (to me, at least) flicker when you flip pages will be reduced when eBooks adopt newer eInk tech.
- More options — Barnes & Nobel has integrated a colour touch screen in their Nook eReader — in addition to the eInk text display.
- More choice — Apple’s much predicted (yet never announced) Tablet device could arrive in the first half of next year. If so, this’ll be the ‘must-have’ eReader. Not only an eBook reader, the device will likely have all the functions of a current generation iPod Touch. If you think of it as a portable computer then you’ve got it. Though, many don’t like the backlit display of the iPhone and iPod touch for reading — too bright and hard on the eyes for long-term use — I’ve not noticed a problem in long session’s I’ve had.
- Current eReaders are not discounted — In this ComputerWorld article, it seems that eBook readers have the highest markup of all technology available this holiday season:
E‑book readers aren’t really getting swept up in the cost cutting. While some stores are actually paying you to take free BlackBerry phones, for example, e‑book readers still cost hundreds of dollars.
- Proprietary eBook stores — I’m not sure how this will shake down. Google, Sony, Amazon all have (or will soon have) online eBook shops, and there’s a host of independent ones too. The selection of books available at (or limited to) certain eBook stores may decide which unit you get…but it shouldn’t. I’d look for something that supports the widely accepted ePub standard.
My recommendation — if you don’t already have one, wait a bit. You’ll get new features, perhaps a better price, perhaps a better unit, and more selection to choose from.