British Library offers test drive of e-readers

Via press release, The British Library is offering people the chance to try three e-readers from Sony and iRex Technologies currently available in the UK. The e-reader display will give visitors the chance to familiarise themselves with the devices and to explore the benefits of the e-book revolution. Devices on display include the Sony Reader, iRex DR1000 and the iLiad as the library seeks to equip people with the digital literacy skills to be able to use such technology for research and reading.
Traditionally, e-readers have struggled to compete with the traditional book due to issues with low battery life and the use of harsh back-lit screens. Overcoming these obstacles through the use of e-ink technology, e-reading devices are more capable of satisfying reader expectations and can deliver additional functions such as the ability to vary font size, access WiFi, and make annotations.
The e-readers on display have been pre-loaded with material currently available. However, in the future, the British Library hopes to exploit e-reader technology to facilitate access to its own digital collections, allowing readers to explore rare and often out-of-print items. Here is what the British Library has to say about these e-readers:

  Sony Reader: Encased in stylish brushed aluminium, the Sony Reader is super slim, intuitive to use, easy to navigate and with an exceptional battery life of up to 6800 page turns.
  iRex DR1000: Helping the environment, the DR1000 allows companies and individuals to print directly to an e-reader, cutting out the need to print billions of pages every year.
  The iLiad: With an integrated Wacom tablet and stylus, the iLiad allows users to annotate works, bringing e-books one step closer to being a replacement for the real thing.