Originally Posted by Bob Russell
Agreed. 1000 songs is very different than 1000 books.
But consider it this way...the goal and benefit is similar: When you are choosing songs to listen to or books to read, you want a big selection. Many people want the big song library not to listen to them all, but to have broad choices. I think readers want the same thing. I'd love to have all of Gutenberg with me on a reader device someday. But I know I'm never going to read even a fraction of a percentage of them!
Actually, the futuristic sci-fi presentation of that concept always involves a small device that connects wirelessly to a central library. Even back in Original Star Trek in the 1960's, when Khan reads voraciously in the Engineering Library on the little bedside screen, we don't conceive of the screen itself holding the Library, but rather that it is connected to a Library elsewhere within the ship.
Similarly, when the Inspector tells "Box" (the first TV PDA, in "Star Cops") to correlate all known George Smith's with residents of Munich, again, we have the concept of the little handheld device connecting wirelessly to "vast" information stores elsewhere.
Again, this is more Nokia 770 than Ebook Reader.
By the way, a web search today happened to pull up the CNET Editors' Review of the Rocket Ebook Reader RCA REB1100 in 2001, which I will excerpt:
... you have to admire the fact that this e-book is just for reading books. However, that singular purpose, coupled with a rather limited selection of books, means that this gadget will appeal only to those who constantly read several best-sellers simultaneously. ...
Very strict copy-protection rules prevent you from reading the book on your PC or loaning the text to a friend; you can read it on only your e-book. To make matters worse, the selection of titles available for the REB1100 is limited to the top-selling novels and a smattering of nonfiction books; anyone interested in science or history or less popular novels will be quite disappointed. ...
Overall, we found the unit pleasant to use. The screen's a bit small compared to the area of an average book, but the backlight and the easy paging add a lot to the reading experience. An electronic book reader isn't a bad idea, but it should be a tool that allows you to read everything you want to read--which this $299 gadget won't do. It will take a much better book selection, a lower price, and an improved screen to make this attractive to the masses.
Well, 5 years later and the screen is better. However, the price is no better, and there is still an emphasis (apparently) on bestsellers rather than non-fiction. And you still can't loan books to friends, and in the words of Alton Brown, it's still not a multi-tasker.