- HUGE thanks to everyone who commented your answers were really helpful.
- I had the sudden realization that e-book drm might not be un-removeable - making the decision about which hardware platform much less "OMG I AM MARRIED TO ONE COMPANY FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE"
- Borders - sad to see you go - BUT knowing that you are going to completely disappear from everyplace that I might purchase a book makes my e-book purchasing decision easier.
- Calibre makes managing and converting e-books WAY easy. I have a LOT of books in PDF format, I would hate to not be able to access these on whatever gadget I purchased.
- Amazon - well you might TRY to take books out of my hands after I purchase them, but now (due to the software linked above) I can archive everything away from where your shitty customer service can't get at what I've purchased.
- Also same ability gets around the "loan" books out thing - as long as I have my hands on the non-drm'd version I can loan to anyone I want.
- B&N - really too bad your B&W Nook has such distracting page transitions.
- Happy eyes, make a Happier Alyse - no backlit reader for me.
SO - long and short of it is I went ahead and bought a Kindle. I bought the non-3G version - I have a large enough library of PDFs that I don't feel like i will be stuck for reading material until i get to my next Wi-fi location. Plus my I have a smartphone that can do all the 3-g stuff.
I am sure there were other options that might work as well. But I liked the instant gratification factor of having a gadget that would talk to a store. Which meant choosing between a Nook and a Kindle. And I didn't really like the functionality of the B&W nook.
BUT seeing as I can download, de-drm and store away anything that I purchase and Calibre will convert between most of the major e-book formats. I feel like I am well insulated against future format changes and future gadget options.
Thanks again for everyone who contributed info and opinions!