e-books have been with us for quite a few years, but have yet to gain widespread popularity. Maybe this is due to the lack of suitable devices on which to read them. Reading text on a back-lit screen tends to strain the eyes more than reading text on paper.

Perhaps the new Sony Reader for e-books will change this. It uses e-ink technology for the display, which is supposed to look almost link real ink on paper and doesn’t need to be back-lit so can be read even in bright sunlight. It can also play mp3s. Sony have done deals with major publishers to ensure that there are plenty of e-books to read on their Reader.

When I read this news, I thought that this device could also be very useful for learning languages. If you had the text and audio of a language course in a suitable format, you could save them on your e-book reader and access both on the one device. It would be even better if you could add dictionaries, grammars and other reference books. Maybe you could also use it to listen to audio books and magazines in a language you’re learning while reading the text of those books and magazines.

The idea of a gadget on which you can store and read hundreds of books, and listen to music and other recorded material, really appeals to me. I read a lot and have so many books that there’s never enough shelf space. I often borrow books for my local library, but also like to buy books by my favourite authors. This device would also be handy when travelling as it would save you from having to lug around numerous real books.

This entry was posted in Language.

5 Responses to e-books

  1. Polly says:

    I agree completely. I finally bought my first MP3 player (not an i-pod) and filled it almost to capacity with language CD’s. I’m very happy with it. I can take it on the road and get language lessons in my ear while I’m bored waiting in lines. As much as I like it, the first thing I thought was how it would be even better if I could read the spoken words on a screen at the same time. But, language courses don’t seem to be designed for portable reading, just listening. I have yet to burn any music CD’s, although that was another reason I bought the player. I wanted to save space. In the future, I hope we can load and read books onto one single device that’s easy on the eyes…and portable. I hope SONY is successful. That would be at the top of my Christmas list.

  2. Jianying says:

    As long as publishers see ebooks as something supplemental, not something substantial, or only as a way to control what the reader can or cannot do with their book, ebooks will never take off. Only when ebooks has enough compiling features over regular books, and is not restricted in any way will ebooks succeed.

  3. Thomas Maska says:

    The idea is cool though!

  4. Any site from where i can download free e-books?

  5. Simon says:

    Frank – you can find links to free e-books here.

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