OMG, I have the best fans ever!
So, I was at the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival in Montreal this past weekend. After my event on Friday night, I ended up going out for dinner with a couple of my local fans there, a man named Peter and a woman named Vanessa (neither of whom I'd ever met before).
The panel I'd been part of that evening had been about the business of publishing, and I'd spoken of my enthusiasm for ebooks. Turns out Vanessa and Peter share this passion -- but they felt I was behind the times using a Palm OS backlit LCD device (my trusty Sony Clie TH55) as my principal ebook-reading device.
Peter and Vanessa are devotees of the iRex iLiad, an electronic-ink device made by a Dutch company (with a much bigger screen than Amazon's Kindle device). I'd only ever seen pictures of the iLiad online (although I've tried a Kindle and a Sony eBook, two of the other e-ink machines currently on the market).
Well, Satuday night, I gave my reading at the festival, and Vanessa came to that (Peter, sadly, had a bad headache, and couldn't make it). After, about a dozen of us who had been at my reading went to the hotel bar for drinks, and Vanessa gave me the most amazing gift, from Peter and herself: a brand-new iRex iLiad. Oh my God!
The iLiad is a stunning device, and the e-ink display is absolutely freakin' gorgeous. The physical unit is much more stylish and beautiful than the klunky-looking Kindle, and, as I said, the screen is bigger:
iLiad: 8.1", 1024x768, 16 shades of gray, touch screen
Kindle: 6.0", 800x600, 4 shades of gray, not a touch screen
Like the Kindle, the iLiad uses the Mobipocket ebook format (among others), and can also read PDFs. Of course, for several years now the major US science-fiction magazines (Analog, Asimov's, and F&SF) have all been available in Mobipocket format from Fictionwise.com, as well as in PDF (the large-type PDFs from Fictionwise fit the iLiad screen very nicely, and are quite readable on it). I already owned a bunch of great Mobipocket dictionaries, and now have these installed on the iLiad, as well.
Before presenting me with the gift, Vanessa made me promise not to overreact to it, so I'll simply say a very heartfelt THANK YOU to both Vanessa and Peter. I'm very grateful, very touched, and very, very pleased.