Our local library had an e-books expo today where “industry experts” came in to answer questions and let people try out devices. While I’m not exactly an e-reader person (yet), we do have an iPad and I have been impressed with Amazon’s strategy of moving toward a “you pick the licensing agreement, we deliver the content” marketplace. So it made sense to check things out in person.
I should have known better. The Barnes and Noble guys were probably the most useful but the Nook is somewhat limited in its PDF support. The rest of the “experts” were really just salesmen and it was pretty clear pretty quickly that they were not that familiar with books. Which was disappointing.
What I was pleased to see is that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland appears to be a standard e-text sample text. For what I’m interested in in e-books, Alice is probably the ideal choice. It’s supposed to come with a specific set of illustrations and it includes a very obvious concrete poem. This means that in addition to checking on obvious things like text/illustration handling, I can also check whether special typesetting is also do-able by flipping directly to the Mouse’s Tale.
The Kindle on display? Failed the test.* When I asked whether it was a function of the e-text or e-reader? Blank stares until I was patronizingly assured that it displayed pictures too.
*Our iPad passed. Was probably the first thing I did in the e-reader too.
I do like the Kindle display though. So at least not all was lost. I’ll have to keep an eye out to see how things develop. But at this point, I still get the sense that the technology isn’t being driven from a “how to improve reading” point of view.