I finally did it
It was a three way race....
Kobo, Sony or Kindle,
Kobo you lost out cause I couldn't get my hands on one to play with. local WHSmiths had them on sale as did ASDA for a time but they couldn't be bothered to get one out of the box for people to try. add to that the issues with customer services and I couldn't bring myself to face the risk.
Sony, you came a very close second. I was a little concerned about the issues as mentioned so frequently here, but you almost came through.
Kindle, You are the winner. to be fair I did get to play with one. what swung it for me was that I got to try out emailing a Word file to be converted and was genuinely pleased with the results. The Kindle will do exactly what I want (to read books) and use it for my speaking notes.
Now I guess I'll need to get to grips with Calibre