Ever since e-books came out I wondered if I would ever switch to some kind of digital reader, replacing the old style paper and ink. E-books have so many advantages over normal paper: eco-friendly (no paper involved, no trees cut, no complex printing machinery, truck distribution with subsequent burning of oil, pollution and Co2 emission, just to name a few), but t has its drawbacks. In Italian we say la carta puzza - paper smells, not meaning that it stinks (although it has a very particular smell), but that it has certain fascination, sense of home-made. Plus, it never runs out of batteries, it doesn't break very easily, it doesn't make your eyes hurt, it's easy to carry around, and sometimes it's the perfect present for a good friend.
When the kindle came out things changed. No backlit, which means you can only see when there is light, like the sun or a lamp, so it feels like reading a page from a newspaper or a book, the battery lasts for hours and it lets you navigate on the internet.
Randall Munroe, in his hilarious blag post (no misspell here, it's blag), described how an e-book like the kindle is actually more comfortable to read than a normal book. Although I still feel a personal attachment to the old fashioned paper, I like to feel the hard paper on my fingers, there's an environmental as well as logistic problem that needs to be addressed. I have no more space for books in my room. If I keep this rate of expansion, my books will literally bury me, unless I can find a bigger house.
E-readers would partially solve these two problems. Partially, because they still need energy to operate, and I already have enough electronic equipment floating around. I recently stumbled upon the new LG solar powered e-book reader, which features a 10 centimetre wide thin-film photovoltaic panel that can power the reader for a full day's worth of reading after 4-5 hours spent sitting in the sun. It sells for about 100 dollars. It's much cheaper than a Kindle and it's solar powered. I think I might finally try to switch to e-readers with this one.
So my question to all of you, fellow blogger and eager readers: would you buy a solar powered e-reader (not necessarily this model)?
I'm very curious of your reaction, in the meantime I shall post some of the hilarious comments on Slashdot:
... Warranty void if left out in the sun for prolonged exposure. (Romancer)
Now all I need is a portable sun to read in bed. (Rosco P. Coltrane)
Is it wrong to want an ebook with a little furnace to burn books as fuel? (Anonymous Coward)
p.s. This article was crossposted on the TH!NK ABOUT IT - Climate Change blogging competition.