Is Sony's portable text display gadget called the "Reader" poised to become the iPod for books? Sooner or later, text displayed on some sort of handy portable screen is bound to make ink-on-paper books obsolete. The question always is, just like a long car ride: "Are we there yet?" Blake Wilson at Slate.com doesn't think so:
The iPod has succeeded because people are willing to spend money and put up with diminished sound quality in order to carry their music collections with them. Sony is clearly hoping that the same key feature - portability - will sell readers on e-books. But the Reader's advantage over the competitive technology (i.e., paper) ends at portability. Sony's product literature boasts that the Reader is "the biggest revolution since the printed page." This is a laughable tagline on its face, but it also emphasizes how far from revolutionary the Reader is. You can store books on it and read them. But that's it. It doesn't extend or amplify the capabilities of the book in any meaningful way.