Sony is taking another stab at introducing a device on which you can read digitized books. I fail to understand why they believe there is a market for this kind of device.
1) Price - Why would anyone pay $300 - $400 for a device on which they can read ‘books’ that themselves will also cost essentially the same price as if they bought an actual physical book from the store?
Additionally when I carry an actual book and lose it or spill on it I only lose the book ($12-$25) not the device and the books on it.
2) Form Factor - to actually display a page of text in a readable format the device needs to have a large screen and consequently have a large form factor. Who wants to carry around a PDA, Cell Phone, Laptop, iPod and another device to read books when I already have a bagful of technology.
3) DRM - When I buy a book I own it. I can give it to others to read when I am done. Leave it to the publishers to prevent this type of use case with digital material.
Net-Net: It is far more likely that e-books will take off when I can load some special software optimized for book reading on one of my existing multitasking devices (Laptop, music player, PDA) rather than buying one trick pony from Sony.