Although I expect I would seldom buy new books, I really like the idea of downloading a library of public domain books or reading PDF journal articles and apparently blog feeds without being tied to my computer. I like the e-ink technology, free access to wikipedia, and email anywhere.
Here's the thing: (1) I have a hard time justifying the purchase of something I can't quite convince myself I need. (One of my friends from college days likes to remind me of the time he gave me a Toonie and forced me to spend it...on candy.) (2) I'd much rather have the larger 9.7'' screen Kindle DX edition, but I don't want to pay $279 for it. (3) I'd also like to have access to a searchable library of original language biblical texts, but the Kindle apparently doesn't work with Hebrew yet. (4) This report from a Reed College pilot project suggests that the Kindle isn't ideal for the sort of reading I
All this reminds me that about five years ago I wanted a Palm Tungsten E2 personal data assistant. Remember them? In addition to managing addresses and appointments, the Palm played music, displayed pictures and videos, and came equipped with a PDF viewer and software that could display and edit Microsoft Office documents. Best of all was Bible+, a free add-on for which you could download original language versions of the Bible (Greek and Hebrew), Josephus, Philo, and Homer in Greek and English, the Apostolic Fathers, and so on. All this for $199 (or free, in my case--a long story). On the down side, entering data with a stylus was slow, the 3'' screen was too small for comfortable reading, and with a laptop and a five minute commute to work I simply don't need a personal data assistant.
I still charge up my Palm and take it along to academic conferences because it is nice to have ready access to Greek, Hebrew and English Bibles. During slow moments at graduation ceremonies I pull it out of my gown and drill Hebrew vocab. But most of the time it sits in a drawer as a mute reminder that today's big item will be tomorrow's landfill.
Still, I wouldn't mind playing around with one of those Kindles...