Well, as they say, folks ... you read it here first!
It's eighteen months since we predicted an ebook reader at less than £100 in the UK and under $100 in the US well before the end of 2011.
In past weeks and months, several manufacturers and retailers have already beaten the hundred-buck-barrier over the Shining Big Sea Water and just this week Waterstones in Britain has announced the Sony Reader Pocket Edition on sale at £99.99.
This neat and powerful wee e-ink gizmo can hold up to 350 titles at once (bye-bye excess baggage charges for holiday reading), but by using free software like Calibre there is no limit to the size of the virtual library you can build on a PC or laptop to store your books for instant download and to qiuckly and easily convert digital files from one format to another, according to what's best for your electronic reading device.
On a single charge, you'll have about 7,000 page turns -- that would account for some twenty-five or more standard novels before you need an hour or two's re-charge. Text size can be increased, of course, which is a big deal when your eyes are as old as mine (122 years between them, they have -- and they've seen some heavy use). And your favourite classics and other public domain books are out there for free download as well as tens of thousands of contemporary works and best-sellers at major and minor new ebook stores. Our own, for instance.
I use a Sony PRS 505 for recreational reading and I can't recommend the Sony hardware highly enough. (We're in no way associated with the company. This is merely informal and personal opinion.)
So I wonder if the prediction I made at the very start of the millenium will also come true ... and that we'll see reading devices, bubble-wrapped and on display at supermarket checkouts for fifty bucks, before 2012 is out.
Fingers crossed. Neil