I’m in the possession of a Sony Reader Touch (PRS 600) since september and so far I’ve read a total of three books on it. I have mixed feeling about the Reader Touch. I love the device itself, few buttons, sturdy feeling, ability to take notes and reading is a better experience than on a computer screen or mobile phone. On the other hand I find the contrast too little in lower light conditions, meaning that on my favorite spot on the couch I can barely read on it. But this is something that I can work around, by zooming in or create aditional light in the room.
There are a lot of free e-books you can download, mainly classics, but I’m not a big fan of reading those and the ones that I do like are already on my bookshelves. So I’m depending on online bookstores like Bol or Waterstone’s to buy my e-books from.
So far I’m a little disappointed with buying e-books. One, the ones I can buy at regular online stores have DRM on them, meaning that I don’t really own a copy. This point is well explained by Cory Doctorow who arranged with his publisher to make his books digitally available without DRM. DRM means that I’m not sure what will happen to my downloaded books when I have to buy a new device, or when Ton will buy one as well and we want to have the same book on both devices (just imagine a whole family having their own e-reader!).
Two, and that is the result of point number one, I think the average e-book is overpriced. I know what I buy when I pick up a hard copy at the bookstore. It’s something I can read, put on my bookshelf, re-read, lend, give to someone else. Not so with downloaded books. I actually don’t know what I own. And therefore I’m not willing to pay that much for an e-book right now. I think any price above €10,-, the mass-pocket price, is too much. Above that, it gives me the feeling that publishers do not take into account that there are no additional costs per copy: no paper, no printing, no transport, no distribution. Plus, they can have this book available for sale ’till the end of time without the need for storage.
So far, the couple of books I bought were bestsellers under €10 and sadly enough the average bestseller e-book price on bol.com for instance is more towards €15. In that case I’d rather buy the hard copy, despite it being dead trees, so that I know for sure what I bought. My choice within the €10 price range is rather limited and if that doesn’t change soon, I think there will be another device lying around the house, unused.
P.S.: Looking for a proper epub version of Doctorow’s Makers? Download it at ManyBooks.