There has been a lot of buzz lately about e-readers, such as Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook. Best Buy also blitzed us with ads this Christmas for the Sony Reader. Until recently, I blew these off, because as a book reader, I liked having the physical book, and the ability to turn pages. I also was skeptical of the way copyrights and DRM would come into play. The prime example of this was the ironically Orwellian incident with the Kindle where Amazon discovered that they did not have digital rights to certain of Orwell’s works, which then disappeared from users’ devices.
However, recently I have been rethinking my position and mainly eying it as a device that would help me to maintain a paperless office. Sure it is great to scan all of your documents. Less paper, less storage, easier recovery from disaster, and, well, you get the idea. One of the downsides of this is the portability of data. What happens when you are away from your office? A physical file can be flipped through; booting up your laptop can be a pain, depending on where you are. Enter the e-book, which can store and display PDF documents as well as e-books. One can find and review documents much easier in a court hallway, bus, or some other place where a laptop might not make the best sense.
This got the devices on my tech radar, but I would definitely recommend that attorneys hold off on purchasing a device like this right away. Apple is rumored to be announcing a tablet PC with e-reader capability on January 27, while many new devices will be announced this month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, including, it is rumored, one by Microsoft and HP. Have it on your 2010 shopping list, but keep an eye on developments in the next few months in order to get the best all-around device that won’t be “one-upped” a few weeks later.