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I got my first (and only) e-reader in the far 2009. For nothing.
It was one of the last "toys" of my ex-ex-boss and was laying, ignored, in a drawer in the office. When I found it the battery was completely empty. After loading it for a couple of hours I could see that it contained nothing but the default "book". When I asked about it, I was told that he had bought out of curiosity and didn't liked it so if I wanted I could have it.
In the beginning I wasn't very convinced about the whole e-book thing, but after using it for a bit, I never let it go again.
Tha reader (an oooooold Sony PRS350, without any modern thing like wifi and such) has been with me for a decade, he followed me all over europe either in my pack or in the tank-bag on my motorcycle.
At the last check there were about 100 books in it including the whole Discworld Saga of Terry Pratchett, the whole Shannara Saga of Terry Brooks, the whole Area 51 Saga of Robert Doherty, the whole Jack Frost saga of Wingfield, the whole Expanse Saga of J.Corey, several Asimov's books, a dozen technical books, the D&D handbooks and other stuff.
Today I said goodbye. It went to a collegue that was looking to get an e-reader 'on the cheap' to host a collection of documents (pdf) about the French revolution and the Versaille traity that he is reading for his Phd and (to quote him) "reading this stuff on an iPad is killing my eyes". So I showed him how to convert the pdfs into ebook with Calibre and after having used it for about 10 minutes he asked me how much money did I wanted for it.
And so I immediately ordered a new one. Now, Sony left the market years ago and I really don't trust Amazon with this stuff, so I got another almost no-brand one, the only special thing is the new one is "water resistant", considering that is going to came with me on the motorcycle it is a good thing. I'm sure that Calibre will do its dirty job and I'll be lugging around my library pretty soon. The new one is, again, with no frill like the old one. It's a book and need to do only book-thingy.
Why a reader and not a tablet? Because, as my collegue discovered, read text on a tablet is not as easy. The display is backlit, that makes it nice indoor but using it "on the move" is problematic, LCD works by polarization of light and this drastically reduce the angle of viewing and require the display to be reflective, that doesn't play nice with the sun. And it require a lot of battery power too.
The e-ink display, obviously doesn't have the full color or greyscale range of an LCD (I think the e-ink consortium managed to produce a color display, but I've never seen one used in any device and I have no idea if it will ever be), but on the other hand is perfectly readable under the sun, that is fine for simple text, and the battery life is measured in months. That makes it a perfect tool to bring along on a trip.
Now, when the new one will be here I'll have to copy into it my whole library (I have at least 3 copies around) and then... I'll have a new travel companion.
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