Sony Reader: Is the Dead Tree Edition Dead Meat?

We use a lot of alternative delivery systems for books- we bought the Walmart Effect, The Way We Eat and other books from Audible and have bought quite a few from E-Reader to view on our Treo. All are fraught with compromises- it is hard to go back and forth with audiobooks and reading on a treo is a poor substitute for the real thing. The Sony Reader is interesting- it uses no power to hold its image so only changing pages consumes any juice; it is apparently very clear and easy to read, and you can adjust the font size to suit your aging eyes. David Pogue of the New York Times says :"The Sony Reader is an impressive achievement, and an important step toward a convenient alternative to bound books. It will make certain niche groups very happy: gadget freaks, lawyers with massive document stashes, doctors and pilots who check hefty reference texts, high school students with 35-pound backpacks and anyone who likes to read by the pool for 20 weeks at a time." But he also says others "may continue to prefer the more established portable-document format. Those older reading machines never run out of power, cost about 2 percent as much and don’t break when dropped". We used to love the concept of the printed book, when there were proofreaders instead of spell-check, when typesetting was a respected craft, when they were printed with care and you could feel the imprint of the type on the page. That is all gone; a book today is little more than a bound screen-dump. Perhaps it is time for the Sony Reader. ::New York Times and ::Sony

We are reminded by local vendor Book City, of an alternate technology, described below the fold. Introducing the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge (BOOK)

BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology; no wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use even a child can operate it. Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere, even sitting in an armchair by the fire, yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc.

Here is how it works: BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of recyclable paper, each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder, which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence. Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs. Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain. A flick of your finger takes you to the next sheet. BOOK may be taken up at any time and used merely by simply opening it.

BOOK never crashes or requires rebooting. The Browse feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish. Many come with an Index feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval. An optional "BOOKMARK" accessory allows you to open BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session, even if the BOOK is closed. BOOKMARKS fit universal design standards; thus, a single BOOKMARK can be used in BOOKS by various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous BOOKMARKS can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store numerous views at once. The number is limited by the number of pages in the BOOK.

You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with an optional programming tool, named: "Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Language Stylus"-or-"PENCILS."

Portable, durable and affordable, the BOOK is being hailed as the precursor of a huge entertainment wave. BOOK'S appeal seems so certain that thousands of content-creators have committed to the platform and investors are reportedly flocking to the new phenomenon. Look for a flood of new titles soon.