E-book readers are an advancement that makes it possible for someone to be well read without having a physical collection of books. E-books themselves are wonderful. They provide an opportunity for people to read about anything they want anywhere they want without having to drag around a physical book.
The problems come when you try to decide on a Reader and online source for your e-books. Readers have an irritating habit of never supporting all the formats of e-books available. When you purchase a reader, you may be buying it because you saw a particular e-book that you want and know that this player will play it. The Amazon Kindle 2 is an one example of this. It supports four formats of file; plain text (txt), pdf, mobi-pocket (prc, mobi), kindle (azw). Another recently released example would be the Barnes & Noble Nook which supports three formats; pdf, ereader (pdb), epub. The problem is that there are currently at least fifteen Readers and at least ten file formats of which five of them are proprietary to a specific player. Even if you purchase an e-book and it comes with more than one option of file, you still have to be careful to make sure your Reader is able to view it.
There are currently no Readers that exist that play all the files formats which you are able to purchase an e-book in. Readers are a step in the right direction. Unfortunately without either a universal reader capable of viewing all formats of e-book files, a universal file type built to be read by all Readers, or a freely available converter that is able to convert any file you purchase to a format you are able to use on your personal Reader, the E-book Reader remains a high priced electronic gadget with money to burn. I would strongly advise anyone considering a purchase of a Reader to be aware of these current limitations.