A few months ago, after doing a lot of research, I ended up buying a Sony PRS-505 e-reader (pictured to the left). Now, most people have heard about the Kindle, since Amazon’s been marketing it pretty hard and it’s been on Oprah and all. However, given that I live overseas, some of Kindle’s advantage in terms of its ability to wirelessly download books was lost on me, since you can’t do that with their service outside the U.S. Plus, I liked the look of the Sony e-reader more. Its brushed aluminum casing seemed more sturdy and aesthetically pleasing than the Kindle’s white plastic, and it was a bit smaller and easier to hold in the hand, and its screen was considered to be the best, contrast-wise.
So I bought one, and I’ve enjoyed putting books on it from various e-book sites out there, since it adheres to a wider, more open-source standard than Amazon’s reader. I’ve read dozens of books already on it, and the experience is just great for a bibliophile like me, since I can carry hundreds of books at a time on it and access them whenever I want. The reading experience, at least for me, is nearly the same as reading a regular book, and in fact, after reading for a while, I cease to notice I’m reading on an electronic device. I never forget that when I’m reading something on a computer screen.
A few weeks ago, however, something happened which just sweetened the deal for me even further. Sony announced an exclusive partnership with Overdrive.com, a company which works with libraries all across the United States to distribute their material digitally. Now, with my Sony reader and a library card, I can have access to thousands of titles for free. I can search for whatever I want, and if it’s available, I can check it out and keep it for up to fourteen days. At that point, the file disappears on its own and is “returned” to the library. No late fees. If I want to return it ahead of time, no problem. The program allows for that, too.
My reading world has just opened up new horizons now, and I’m excited for where the future of reading is heading.