Argh! This makes two holiday seasons in a row that Amazon's shelves have been bare of Kindles. I can only presume that they didn't know that Oprah Winfrey was going to name it her favorite new gadget in October. After all, if any company should know that when Oprah gives her blessing to a product it flies off the shelves, it should be Amazon, thanks to her book recommendations that turn no-name books into best-sellers.
Be that as it may, we won't see first, or second, editions of Kindle this December. Kindle, however, isn't the only Linux-powered eBook reader out there. Sony has two models out. There's the Sony Reader PRS-700BC and the older Sony Reader PRS-505.
The newer model isn't a replacement for the PRS-505 though. Instead, the main difference is a touch screen. I've played with both now, and I'm finding that the older PRS-505 is actually a bit more comfortable to use. That said, neither have the greatest of displays, and oh the glare you'll get if you use them in direct sunlight.
Still, unlike the Kindle, you can buy either of the Sony readers today. The touch-screen PRS-700BC can be found for $399 at many stores. I suspect that if the retail meltdown continues, you'll be able to get it for less if you wait a bit. You can get a PRS-505 for anywhere from $245 to $358.
Of course, if you can wait, besides the next model of the Kindle, you should be able to find new eBook readers from Brother, Fujitsu, Plastic Logic, and a host of smaller companies. Guess what? They'll all have Linux under the hood as well.
You see, Linux, as spiffy as it is for servers and desktops, is great for embedded devices. From the TiVo in your living room to your Android phone to now your eBook readers, Linux is everywhere.
And, with what looks to me like the growing popularity of eBook readers, we're going to see a lot more Linux-powered devices soon. In the meantime, for more information about eBook readers, how to use them, differences between models, and how to get books into them in the first place, I highly recommend the MobileRead Wiki. It's darn useful for anyone considering buying an eBook.