The latest book, coming to a hand-held device near you

A few weeks ago, when Northeastern was on Spring Break, I stayed with a friend in Northern New Jersey for the last two nights of break. He lives in a beautiful area, with gorgeous lakes, mostly composed of weekend homes for those who work in the City during the week. Coincidentally, there is no cell phone service, and few places offer Wi-Fi connections. So despite my laptop, cell phone and multiple email accounts, I was cut off from the rest of the world.

And it felt great.

But, by the last day, both Joe (my friend) and I were ready to get on the Internet. After all, our Facebooks had gone untended to for days! As Joe checked his email and other online forms of communication, I looked around his father’s handsome computer/ TV room. Being the fidgetting/nosy/curious guy that I am, I couldn’t help but wonder what electronic device (I saw a charging cord snaking out the back) would be around the size of a medium-sized paperback book.

Opening the leather case, I saw a blank screen. But it wasn’t black, it was white. And when I turned it on, it opened to the page of a book.

Electronic books have come a long way since the first text files exchanged over slow networks. The newest and most promising development is the electronic reader.

The screens use a different technology than your average LCD, and do not require additional energy once an image is on-screen. Which works perfectly for reading a book, where you might spend 5 minutes reading an especially difficult passage.

For some reason, this new display also makes the words clearer – instead of pixellation around the edges of letters, each looked just like it had been printed on paper.

So let’s think about this: its energy efficient, more portable (especially because with expandable memory, you can have hundreds of books with you at all times), and reads just as well as a real book.

With a high price for electronic book readers of this vein, the future has not quite arrived for all. But I expect that cheaper versions, as well as other products that use these technologies will eventually render paper obsolete.

At least for books.