I recently spent some time with the Amazon Kindle side-by-side with the Sony Reader. Having never used any type of virtual book device before, it took me a bit to adjust to both (both have slightly awkward hardware characteristics), but once I settled in, some big things became apparent. Kindle is very connected to a large world beyond the text you're reading on the screen. With services like Wikipedia and Dictionary connection, and their experimental "NowNow" service - where you type in a question about ANYTHING, and a rep from Amazon will upload 3 related links to your Kindle in response - a reader has a pretty robust reference library at their fingertips. But that's not all. Because it's connected to Amazon, all their features also apply - book recommendations, preferences, etc., making it really easy to buy new eBook titles.
Sony's Reader is a fine reading device. The text on the screen is just as legible. But it's all the things that Kindle is connected to outside itself that makes it more compelling. I actually pictured myself using one beyond this test - something I never imagined considering. All in all though, I'm mostly interested to see where this goes. I don't think it'll die like some think, but it certainly isn't the answer for everyone. Future devices will find ways to improve this connectivity to a larger world, and will give it broader appeal. In the meantime, I'm cherishing my signed, leather-bound Thomas Ligotti
books with crimson type and black page edges.