It’s been three months since I fell off the e-book wagon and sold my PRS-505 Sony E-Book Reader.  I haven’t been pining over any new reader in the meantime either.  The Barnes & Noble Nook missed the boat by failing to take real advantage of its LCD touchscreen (Spring Design knows what it’s all about) or its WiFi connection (it would cost them NOTHING to let me connect to my own WiFi and look up Wikipedia entries and do Google Searches based on text in my books… why not offer that feature when the hardware is there to support it).

I had hopes for the Nook, but now that it’s failed me I’m still left with no affordable reader meeting all four of my simple standards:

  • E-ink screen (this one’s easy to find)
  • The ability to search within the text of a book (yet again, most devices do this)
  • The ability to search on-line resources such as Wikipedia and Google over WiFi (this is the killer)
  • Support for the ePub format (still, lots of devices doing this)

The Sony PRS-600 would have been perfect for me if they had included a Wi-Fi receiver and a web browser.  The first version of Amazon’s Kindle, and both versions to come out since have offered all of these features but support for the ePub format.  And frankly, the ePub support is the least impacting feature to me.

I hold out for ePub support because ePub is an open standard; anybody can make an ePub supporting device, and any store can generate ePub content.  If I buy a Kindle (which, especially with refurbished prices under $200, I’m tempted to), any DRM’d content I buy must come from Amazon (unless I buy an e-book elswhere and crack the DRM on it, which I’d rather not have to do when I’m already playing nice and being a paying customer), and won’t be able to be read on a non-Amazon device (with the current exception of PC and iPhone).

I expect we’ll eventually start seeing E Ink devices with open WiFi so I can do research while reading a book, and with everybody jumping on the ePub boat, I expect Amazon to eventually support it too (if not drop DRM entirely like Apple eventually convinced music publishers to do).

In the meantime I’m reading paper books, and getting my news from a computer screen, and that’s all working just fine.

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