I've mentioned before that I'm a fan of ebooks, but finding good hardware to read them on is not easy. That being the case, I thought I would pass along some of the devices I've chosen for different types of reading situations.
My first dedicated ebook reader was the Rocket eBook Pro, which is sadly no longer available. My Rocket eBook is still working, but its been abducted by the Cute Little Red-Haired Girlfriend, who uses it to read Xena fan fiction she's downloaded from the internet.
Since the Girlfriend uses the Rocket, I decided to get something just for me. For awhile I was using my Palm-powered Handspring Visor, but it eventually broke and I had to get something else. I looked at Palms, Sony Clies, the Tapwave, and Windows CE handhelds, but was turned off by various issues: crappy screens, buggy operating systems, and high prices.
I was inclined towards the Tapwave or the Palm C but wasn't able to make up my mind. They both had great screens with backlights, which I consider to be important features. Then the linux-powered Zaurus SL-6000L, known for its high-quality screen, was discontinued and went on sale at a close-out price. I wound up buying the Zaurus.
The Zaurus will take any file format I throw at it--another key feature in any ebook device--and with it's built in wireless connection I can read off the internet, too. Another good thing about my Zaurus is that it's very portable. That's not the case with the Rocket eBook Pro, which is somewhat heavy and has about the same dimensions as a quality paperback book.
Since I had such a nice portable device, I thought it would be good for the Cute Little Red-Haired Girlfriend to have a more portable, PDA-sized device as well. Because the Girlfriend wouldn't use the PDA functions, I wanted the model to be cheap. And although the Girlfriend digs the digital lifestyle, she is not so much into the forever-charging-mobile-devices lifestyle. So the model had to have a long battery life, too.
My research led me to the Sony Clie PEG-SJ20, with its sharp, backlit black-and-white screen. Long since discontinued, I picked one up on eBay for around $50, including postage. I recommend it if you're looking for a small-format reader. Currently, you can also buy the successor to the Rocket eBook, the discontinued RCA 1100, for a reasonable price from online publisher eBookwise. The follow-up model is lighter than the Rocket eBook Pro that I have, and it's probably the best option available now, unless you read Japanese.