Soldiers put eBook readers at top of their Christmas list

18 Sep 2009
Sony Reader

eBook readers replace iPods as the most wanted gadget on the frontline in Afghanistan, claims Army source

You'd think that with all the recent tragedy hitting the headlines concerning troops serving in Afghanistan that cutting-edge body armour, mine detectors and laser sights would be at the top of any squaddie's Christmas wishlist. But sources within the British Army have stated that eBook readers are the most popular festive request from soldiers.

With troops already carrying back-breaking loads and with limited space for peronal effects in their duffel bags, space-saving readers such as the Sony PRS-505, iRex Iliad, and even imported Kindles are becoming popular amongst the troops stationed in the Helmand province. The eBooks are helping to boost morale during their tours, which can last up to eight months.

The soldier has been told by his company commander to get hold of an eBook reader instead of an iPod, as they don't block hearing and are silent

"We've been told Afghanistan is a mixture of extreme excitement and then waiting around a lot," said one soldier preparing to deploy with The Rifles early next year. "You can't take a lot of books with you and there's not much choice to buy from when out there".

The soldier has been told by his company commander to get hold of an eBook reader instead of an iPod, as they don't block hearing and are silent.

The eInk technology used in eBook readers - which only draws power when the screen is redrawn - means the devices won't need charging as frequently as MP3 players.

The eBook readers also allow troops to store photos of their families on the device, albeit on a monochrome screen.

Better still, Tolstoy's classic War and Peace is available as a free download from Project Gutenburg.

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