Have tried the iLiad under both very bright sunlight and low light levels - such as your bed lighting and it is perfectly readable in both. I would say that if the lighting is good enough to read a paper document then you will be able to read the iLiad display.
The New York Times display is in fact part of a drill down information access technique. One cannot read the body copy of the page only the headlines, click on the drill down button and these headlines are displayed as hot spots click on one of these with the stylus and you bring up a page, or sequence of pages, with the article text. Note that this too can have hot spots linking to further pages of text, ther can be up to 16 levels of drill down.
Adverts can also be hot spots, if you click on one of these then the request for further information about the advert will be sent to the IDS server next time you enter a WiFi hot spot which will allow the reader to connect to the Internet. This is a secure link that relies on the fact that each reader device has an inbuilt unique ID code. so it can also be used for e-commerce payments.