“You either die a hero, or live long enough to become a villain”, said Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight, before he went mad, burnt off half his face and started shooting people. This same slogan could equally be applied to Amazon. The company were one of the original internet pioneers – showing us how internet shopping isn’t all that scary – and they made it all so very painless.
At nearly 20 years old now (!), they’re now grizzled veterans and have done some questionable things. There are questions around their, er, “tax efficient” offshore business registrations, and around their huge influence on the publishing industry – using the huge weight they have to negotiate better deals for themselves at the expense of the people actually writing all of the words.
This, understandably, has put some people off joining the E-Reader revolution. But what if you want something lighter to carry around in your bag than a hardback tome, but don’t want to jump into bed with Amazon? Here’s some alternatives.
Nook Simple - £62
The Barnes and Noble Nook is perhaps the most credible competitor for the E-Reader crown. The Nook Simple is the basic model with a 6" e-ink screen and wifi. Though sold officially for around £62, if you shop around you can pick one up for around £30. Like the Kindle, you can buy and download books straight to the device over wifi - which makes things nice and easy. If you’re a bit more techy, apparently it’s possible to route the device and gain access to the Android system running under the surface. This will void your warranty and if you muck it up, could break your device - but if you take the gamble it’ll mean you can also get access to your emails and surf the web… albeit on an e-reader screen. So might also be a very cheap way of getting a little tablet device too.