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.