Like many book lovers who struggle with the downside of maintaining large and unwieldy personal libraries, I’ve often wanted a memorizer of my own—a highly efficient reading machine, trained to understand your tastes and regurgitate the texts you want. But as Plastic Logic and Cool-er join the ranks of the Kindle and the Sony e-reader, I’ve gone from e-reader evangelism to scepticism, watching in dismay as the industry gets it dead wrong.
Those who’ve followed the e-reading debate over the last decade will know that most of the discussion has focused on the pros and cons of reading on a device versus the familiarity of the dead-tree book. But the real question is what we get and expect from a book versus an e-reader, and this is where the manufacturers have messed up. It’s been nine years since the first iPod came out, but none of the present e-book readers seem to have learned anything from the music industry. Here’s a short list of what I want from an e-reader…