While Amazon.com was unveiling version No. 2 of its Kindle book reader, to unimpressed reviews, a small Mountain View, Calif.-start-up was quietly launching a revolution. Available in early 2010, Plastic Logic’s eReader is bigger—8.5 x 11″ —thinner, and way cooler than its more famous rival. Like the Kindle, it’s based on reflective light technology—like paper—rather than backlit, so you can read it in any light. And like the Kindle it’s light as a feather and lasts for days on a single charge. But where the Kindle is proprietary—it’s for downloading books from Amazon, period—the eReader is open-platform: PDFs, magazines, newspapers, you name it. (It’s already struck deals with USA Today, the Financial Times, and Zinio, the on-screen reader that powers Maclean’s digital edition.) And where Kindle is hard-shell, with a glass screen and lots of clunky little buttons, the eReader is all-plastic, with a lustrous touch-screen. We trust it’s drool-proof.
A California start-up could be on the verge of revolutionizing the publishing business