I'd pick a dedicated e-reader
But that's me. After years of using my Sony reader I'm convinced that there's no better way to read digital text than with an e-ink screen. Your eyes of course may disagree, or find that a backlit LCD like a typical netbook uses is at least tolerable. As I like to read for several hours at a time, the typical standard fare LCD screen is not an acceptable solution...for my eyes.
If you feel right at home staring at a white background, backlit LCD for hours on end, feel free to opt for a more versatile device like a netbook. If nothing else it gives you better value for the money. But if you want to spare your eyes from the potential strain, a dedicated e-reader using e-ink technology is definitely the way to go.
As to which e-ink e-reader I would pick...I used my Sony and played with current models at the local Sony store, used my wife's Kindle 2 and played with a Nook (running early firmware) at a local Barnes & Noble...between those I'd probably pick the Kindle 2 as my favorite out of the bunch, though it could still use considerable improvement, most of which will hopefully show up in the next generation. That said, the Nook is supposedly a lot better with subsequent firmware updates, although from various web postings I understand that the battery life still sucks. As for any other e-reader devices, you have to hope someone else posts about those.
One thing's for sure; I would NEVER dream about reading any amount of e-books on my netbook, let alone sadistically treating myself to the actual experience (netbooks are too sluggish to start with, and the typical squat screen profile makes the backlit LCD viewing experience for me even worse than it normally is.
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