Do I want a Cybook Gen 3?

I’m seriously thinking about buying an ebook reader, a concept which is probably causing various people to fall off their chairs they are laughing so hard. Because I don’t do ebooks. Not only do I not do ebooks, there is an entire fanfic zine series which exists in large part because I don’t like reading anything more than a couple of screens’ worth on a screen, and felt that if I was going to format a good piece of fanfic and print it out, I might as well make it available to others who felt the same way.

Now, it has caused a certain amount of amusement and bemusement over the last couple of years that I, an epublished author with some modicum of success in ebooks, do not read ebooks myself. The trouble is that a particular combination of medical issues means that I find ebooks significantly harder to read than dead tree books. One of those problems is the RSI, which makes pushing a button to turn a page rather more painful than turning a physical paper page. That’s before we factor in more page turns for the same word count on any screen that’s small and light enough to routinely carry around with me.

Add in how little reading I’ve been doing the last few years, and dropping the price of half a dozen hardbacks (at a bare minimum) on a fragile piece of electronics I will undoubtedly sit on or drop in the bath seems unappealing even if I didn’t have physical discomfort problems with ebooks.

And yet… I like the *concept* of ebooks. I have a couple of Project Gutenberg pieces loaded on my geriatric Palm IIIxe, for “stuck at the bus stop” occasions, and would have more if I could obtain the circular tuit necessary to remember how to use Plucker and load up some more. So I’ve been thinking on and off about getting something, most likely a Palm TX as that will give me the PDA functions I do make some use of, plus give me a major screen and memory upgrade over my IIIxe, plus add wifi capability. These are probably worth the money for me, especially as it’s a genuine tax-deductible business purchase.

Only now a friend has offered me her Cybook Gen 3 for a hundred quid, because it Does Not Play Well with her Mac and she wants to switch to a Sony. I have time to think about this, because she won’t want to get rid of it until September, when the new Sony unit ships.

I’m tempted, at that price. I’m *very* tempted. I’ll definitely want to play with it for a bit to see if it suits me (I’m concerned about the epaper reverse-polarity flash on page-turn, for starters), but the widget seems to offer a reasonable compromise between big enough screen to be usable and size/weight issues. As far as I know it can also play MP3s, which would be useful. And it has the long battery life that the TX doesn’t have (a major reason why I don’t already have a TX).

Anyone want to give reasons why I should/shouldn’t go for this?

[Note: this was originally posted on my LiveJournal, and I forgot to mirror it here until a day or two later, by which time I had been convinced that I *do* want to buy the Cybook. Still open to further comments, though. :-)]

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