For some reason the e-book seems to be the holy grail for certain technology manufacturers, no doubt frustrated that millions of people in the world still endure – nay – enjoy reading words on paper. I am not sure of the environmental impact of the global publishing trade, but this lack of knowledge is probably due to it not being all that significant. With books being on the whole cheap (or free if you have my kind of library habit) punting out $300 to buy a machine which can display bought downloadable texts seems, well, redundant.

Enter the Sony Reader. Aiming to do for the e-book market what iPod’s did for personal stereos (ie, be a different type), it has significant advances on previous technology. Including a non-backlit paperlike screen which “almost rivals paper in readability”. And it is phrases like that which illustrate how doomed the whole project is. The paperback book is the pinnacle of one type of media technology and does exactly what you want it to do. There are no features which would make it better, only annoying things like the book switching off because it needs to be recharged.

And the final nail in the coffin of the Sony Reader is that it only seems to be able to display The Da Vinci Code.