The new Sony Reader looks spiffy, but I have my doubts. You see, the Reader here is not paper, meaning that no pages can be flipped, folded over, ripped out of the book or written upon. Not that I’m in the habit of defacing books, but I often buy a copy of something specifically for this purpose.
So kudos to Sony for the electronic print clarity, but I’m suspicious of any product that’s attempting to supplant the reading experience, which, as human interfaces go, has been wholly successful for centuries. To me, reading involves stopping, perhaps writing key passages in a notebook, or rereading a particular paragraph or two, and sometimes skipping around. An academic or a student, for example, couldn’t compile information without this technique. Now that the sensation of flipping between, say, page 6 and page 125 has been lost, I’m wondering if the Sony Reader will cause the retention of information to dwindle. Assuming it succeeds, will the Sony Reader create a new generation of otiose readers?