One Device or Many for Ebooks and Digital Media?

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I found an old post I wrote back in 2004 stating that I’d never buy a device that was just for ebooks. My rationale at the time was that Pocket PC devices and others like them had gotten to the point where the screens were great for reading. Now I tell everyone I know why I love the Amazon Kindle. If E-ink had existed in 2004, I think my opinion then might have been different. At the time, everyone was touting screens that were special purpose LCD, which made no sense then and still makes no sense now. E-ink is easier on the eyes because unlike reading an LCD screen, you’re not staring into a light bulb while you read.
I find I’m reading more now that I have a Kindle because its more convenient than carrying a book around. For many types of information, like the morning newspaper, I like the format better because the text I want is unencumbered by all the ads. Not everything works on the Kindle. I don’t like reading magazines on a Kindle even though the content is largely the same. The difference is magazines have specialized in combining imagery with their text content to create something that’s better than the printed word alone. On a Kindle, the images are either gone or muted by the limitation of a monochromatic display. I don’t like these same magazines on the Web because they’ve gone to great lengths to make advertising more important than the content, so I find myself continuing to subscribe to several of the print editions.
If I were to gaze into a crystal ball and look for the device I’d really want to read this stuff on, I think my 2004 desire holds up, because I really want a multi-function tool like an iPhone or my T-Mobile G1, with all the applications that includes, plus the ability to get an E-ink experience when I simply want to read. Will we see that anytime soon? Hard to say. In the meantime, the number of books I purchased for Kindle in 2009 is close to double my book purchases for the 2 previous years. How about you? Are your reading habits changing because of technology? If so, how?

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