sony-reader-prs-505.jpgI have long said that electronic books are a technology doomed to fail. Regular printed books are so much easier to schlep around, and they’re less troublesome to lend to friends when you’re through reading them. But here comes the first of two new e-book reader devices, the new version of the Sony Reader. Now on sale for $300, it will carry up to 160 e-books, which can be purchased at Sony’s e-book store. Those familiar with e-books are mostly underwhelmed with this device, and the selection of e-books you can purchase to read on it is not large. (Exhibit A: no Harry Potter books.) Here’s a post about the Reader from a technology blog that puts it into perspective.

I simply have trouble believing anyone, with the exception of some overloaded high school and college students, and hardcore readers who cart five or six books with them on a trip and bring them back with them, would have any interest in a $300 device that they’d be worried about forgetting it places or dropping it on the floor. Plus, because of formatting and copy-protection issues, it’d be filled with e-book documents that you couldn’t pass to friends when you were done. But maybe I’m wrong.

Amazon is supposed to release a similar device, which is code-named the “Kindle,” some time soon. Here’s a picture from a tech-gadget site. Do you picture kids and teens using devices like these? Not unless the prices really plummet, and even then I have trouble picturing them habitually reading long passages of text on a little screen. Don’t you?