On a recent trip, I finally finished my first book on my Sony Reader — John Hodgman’s The Areas of My Expertise. (It definitely had its moments, but I could have done without the hobo name list.) This was actually the second book I had read on a dedicated eBook device. The first was back in the days of the RocketBook/Rocket eBook product that was purchased by Gemstar and eventually disappeared. That book was a late draft of Michael Wolf’s Burn Rate.
Overall, reading on the Sony Reader, which won the Switchie for portable product of the year last year — was a good experience. I’d definitely like to see better contrast and a background that is closer to paper-white, backlighting, and some kind of map to physical pages in the print edition. I’d also like to be able to jump around bookmarks and footnotes more interactively within the context of the book. While the new edition of the Sony Reader has some of thee benefits and an improved button layout, I will stick with my first-gen product for now.
By far, the biggest frustration with this particular book on the Sony Reader is that the book sometimes presented intricate charts that were simply impossible to read on the device. Improvements or alternatives to the Reader’s book format should overcome this limitation.