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E-readers are now well established technology, but as leaders in technology translation, we are keen to see how quickly new technology is adopted and becomes mainstream.  If there’s a cutting-edge technology out there which is going to translate into the next biggest thing in education, information sharing, resource management or simply another way of brushing up language skills, we’re looking at it with interest. And so the rise of the E-reader came to the attention of technology translation project manager Melandra Smith while browsing some of the technology blogs on the Internet.

The Ereader is the digital version of a very basic piece of technology, the book. It is widely believed that having access to a library full of books is the equivalent of about 3 years conventional education, and it follows therefore that a library of books that can be packed into a simple electronic device will make it a very powerful educational tool indeed.

Simplicity of use is another point to consider when deciding whether a new technology is going to make the grade, and again the Ereader has simplicity of use on its side. Ebooks and educational materials can be downloaded via mobile phone network access, and mobile phones are pretty ubiquitous pieces of kit. Also, thanks to the massive take-up of mobile phone technology, people all over the world already know how to use electronic devices with screens and keyboards.

Choice of reading material is nearly infinite. While growing up I had access to a library containing about 2,000 books. About half of these were fiction – and the rest divided between educational, reference and historical material. The appetite grows with what it feeds on and I happily devoured nearly everything available to me, becoming such an efficient reader that I could consume a full length novel in about an hour. I read everything from Jane Austen to Fowler’s English Usage, with generous lashings of Enid Blyton. How much more might I have read if I had had access to an Ereader and a limitless electronic library during the days of my youth?