There have been some rather scathing reviews of my beloved Sony Reader–complaints of “funky” controls, no backlight, and slow software. It sounds kind of weird, but I’m starting to take these kind of personally. Most you know that I actually have a Facebook group devoted to the little machine–such is the extent of my devotion.
So why did I buy this little gadget? Surely a broke college student like myself would see the redundancy of buying a $300 dollar ebook reader when, really, it doesn’t do that much more than a regular book.
Well, I love to read and it’s nice to have a gadget which makes it easier for me to tote around dozens of books at a time. It’s also easier to handle than thick, heavy traditional books. I like to lay on my side and read, so it’s much easier to do this when I’m not fussing with a book that weighs a few pounds.
Plus, I’ve always liked the idea of e-readers because of their small size and simplicity. I even had an old Gemstar eBook when they first came out in the 90s. The Gemstar had a lot of flaws–a little annoying to hold, flickering LCD screen, and after a while there was a lack of available content.
The Sony Reader has its own flaws, but I think they are easy to overlook. The screen is freaking amazing–it uses something called e-ink, which is latin for “looks so much like paper that you forget you’re reading off a screen.” Sony even throws in a durable, leather-like cover that makes the experience so much more seamless: you can hold the Reader like a regular book. That’s the real appeal for me. Sony isn’t trying to reinvent the book or reading. It’s just a very convenient way to travel light, but with a lot of reading material.
I guess if I had to complain about something, I would say that the screen refresh is a little annoying–not when reading, but when scrolling through menu items. However, the Reader isn’t trying to be a tablet PC–it’s a book. Your primary activities on it should be simply to read. Also, some people have complained about the lack of backlight and touch-screen, however I don’t really think that’s fair. It’s not what the screen is built for, after all. It would be nice to be able to scribble notes in the margin or underline specific passages, but it’s not a deal-breaker to me.
And by the way, “real” books don’t have a backlight either but you’re not complaining about that, now are you, nay-sayers? So you can just suck it.