Either through selling DnD books (not going so well so far…) or by asking for it for my 21st, I would like to get an e-reader at some point in the next six months. My sister finds this surprising, because “you don’t read” which is true in terms of non-academic books, but actually I spend at least two hours a day reading blogs and news websites (well, one website) online per day, and so I think a more comfortable platform would let me expand this since I do so hate extended reading off a bright screen.

Everyone tells me that Amazon’s Kindle is “the best” e-reader and I get the impression this opinion is decisive. Of course I share Stallman’s extreme dislike for the platform, but if it really is that good I’m not these are overriding for me: there is no completely free-as-in-freedom platform available, and crucially my e-reader wouldn’t be something that dealt in data that matters to me. I would never buy an ebook stuffed with DRM; I’d get it from sources which kept me in control, then all I’m doing it copying the book onto the device to make use of it. Similarly when reading web stuff, I’d hack up my own script to send a page that’s come in via RSS over to the e-reader or something; it’s just a place to store things and then read them. If I chose a Kindle I think I’d see it as a service I’m buying for however long Amazon keeps it going, rather than a permanent investment as I see a computer.

In taking such an approach I suspect that I’d be losing out on all the “my Kindle downloads everything I want to read automatically before I’ve got up” stuff. A quick Google reveals some possibilities. My old readinglist.py script could be put together with kindle-feeds, for example. If this became a massive hack that I actually had to put time into and that tended to break I’d be losing everything I’d wanted out of an e-reader, though.

Other alternative readers? Only the Sony PRS stands out as being able to read anything and not having a wasteful keyboard. Undecided on whether I want 3G.

A lot of people say that they really like books and wouldn’t want to give them up; just wanted to note that this doesn’t apply to me at all. Maybe I once cared about this but I Just Don’t anymore. Indeed I rather like the impossibility of breaking an e-reader’s spine since it doesn’t have one.

I’ll continue to investigate.