This week Sony rolled out a new version of their e-book reader. This one is a "pocket" edition, comes in three colors (blue, rose & silver) and has enough memory capacity to hold approximately 350 books. [This business of advertising how many "books" a reader can hold is about as sensible as the way the MP3 player industry always brags about how many "songs" their devices can hold. This measure means nothing whatsoever to those of us whose collections include shorter and longer musical or literary selections. But since the iPod buisness has brought us to this pass, we'll probably be stuck with it for a time.]
Sony also has plans to produce a decive with a six inch display with slots for memory sticks and cards.
Meanwhile over at Barnes & Noble, there are plans to market a reader from Plastic Logic that I understand will be button-free.
All this is to the good. But it will make little difference until these companies and the publishing industry wake up to the lessons of the music industry. Readers want to be able to read the texts they've purchased (like those they produce themselves or get from their friends) on any available platform: a variety of dedicated readers, their home computers and laptops, their smart phones.
If the industry doesn't abandon proprietary formats and digital rights management software, they are quite likely to kill the nascent e-book market as effectively as Beta Max was snuffed out by VHS.