An Almost Perfect Technology
Too late for my academic years, Sony is finally releasing its e-ink Reader in the United States. The older generation argues that this won't replace paper (TCS) or gripes about DRM (Instapundit), but I think they're just being spoilsports. The technology is terrific: the text on a Reader looks remarkably close to paper. I an e-Libre (the Japanese version of the Reader, available in Japan two years ago): after installing a Japanese-English dictionary, it becomes a very easy way of reading books slightly beyond one's skill.
For law students, the benefits of an electronic book are even more obvious: imagine how much easier life would be if we carried all three years of our textbooks in a small, lightweight device. The lecture halls here at Columbia seem positively designed for such a device. During Securities Law, I'm forced to squeeze a Lord of the Rings-sized casebook, a larger statutory supplement and my notebook computer onto desk space smaller than a serving tray from a Bonanza steakhouse. If I were Sony, the first content providers I'd be contacting for license agreements would be Foundation Press and Aspen Publishers.
I suppose I should count my blessings. By the time I have disposable income such that I'll feel comfortable buying another $400 tech toy, Sony will have come out with the next generation of Reader.