As widely reported over the past week, BookExpo America featured several $249 e-readers. And while I certainly observed many people salivating over e-readers as a whole, a good deal of drool congealed around the edges of Interead’s Cool-Er Reader. Teleread’s Paul Biba reported that the Cool-Er is “very light and feels good on the hand.” (The Interread people did not allow me to corroborate Mr. Biba’s findings. While I don’t desire to undermine Mr. Biba’s understandable excitement, I would not be doing my duty if I didn’t point out that the same words might be said of a freshly washed and folded beach towel.) Wet Asphalt’s Eric Rosenfield reported that the Cool-Er people were very defensive when their device was compared with other e-readers. And I suppose that companies are indeed prone to getting a little defensive when are greeted with legitimate questions instead of marketing opportunities.
On Sunday, May 31, 2009, I was more or less off-duty and somewhat hungover. I had devoted the morning to baking cookies and alotted the afternoon to my theatrical appearance at the Firebrand blogger signing. Under such conditions, the only apparel you can really wear is a Cocaine Fiends t-shirt. Nevertheless, I felt it necessary to check the Cool-Er Reader out for myself. I talked with marketing director Phil Wood and did my best to separate the booth’s beach imagery from all the hype.