Kindle, the best ebook reader?

As Andy Ihnatko pointed out in his Chicago Sun Times article, eBook readers are all the rage this holiday season. I have been slow to this party for one main reason: iPod Touch/iPhone. Ever since I received an iPod Touch last December I have been happy reading books on the device (and my iPhone of course supplanted the Touch). The size has never been an issue for me since I started reading texts on my Palm 7+ years ago. Plus I don’t really want to carry around 3 devices when I travel (my MacBook Pro, iPhone, and eReader).

It is just a rumor.
Remember, it is just a rumor. Image from Gizmodo

But now I am seriously considering getting an Amazon Kindle and here is my reason why: PDFs. Once I realized our office’s photocopier also scans directly to our server I had one of our student workers scan all the articles that I had ever photocopied for research and now our library sends faculty articles directly as PDFs (obviating our need to ever leave the office and actually touch those dirty books, I miss that actually). This is where the iPhone/iPod Touch fail. The screen is just too small to read a PDF decently. Too much scrolling left to right.

So the question is which reader to get. It is not an easy question to answer, however, as Ihnatko points out. As someone who likes Apple products the possibility of an Apple tablet is very tempting. I would still be carrying my iPhone at all times and my MacBook on trips…or would I? Unlike Alex Lindsay, I don’t expect to replace my phone with a tablet, but if it is a well executed device, with a keyboard (or solid dictation implementation!) then it could well replace my MacBook. On the other hand, there already very good devices out there perhaps I should just get one of those. Still, it seems that there are mixed feelings about how well the Kindle handles PDFs.

I would like to ask your help. Do you use the Kindle or Sony Reader (or even the new Nook) for your research? And if so how do you like it?  My brother has been an early adopter of e-book readers likes the Kindle and the Sony each for different reasons, but some don’t seem to like the PDF rendering on the Kindle. So, the jury is still out and may remain so until I just make the plunge and try one or the other. It’s a shame I don’t have a tech podcast that would allow me to request a review unit…

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