I’m more and more convinced that the current crop of e-book readers (using e-ink) is a transitional technology. Whilst the e-ink screens are perfectly readable, there are problems with usability and they just don’t make the grade. I’m in Perth at (another) Librarians conference and I ran into a presenter from my last librarian conference who was doing a research project which gave these devices to schoolkids to see what happened. She suggested that they weren’t particularly enthused (hopefully I can post some more details of that research later). And news from Princeton seems to confirm this. The Daily Princetonian reports that:
When the University announced its Kindle e-reader pilot program last May, administrators seemed cautiously optimistic that the e-readers would both be sustainable and serve as a valuable academic tool. But less than two weeks after 50 students received the free Kindle DX e-readers, many of them said they were dissatisfied and uncomfortable with the devices.
In a world flush with colourful, responsive multi-touch devices, is it any wonder that grey on grey with a clunjy interface doesn’t fly?