A cheap casioppeia allows me to read ebooks around 2001.
The Kindle has many flaws, but it does allow you to read a few different non-DRM formats.
We've known for some time already that Amazon's AZW files are actually Mobi files, but Amazon didn't share Kindle's Mobi PID which would allow one to buy encrypted Mobi books for Kindle.
Being at home on a rainy day, but wanting to read some new novel that just came out, you can have it in seconds. This concept (not hobbled by DRM) is pretty damned liberating.
A revolutionary portable reader that wirelessly downloads books, newspapers, magazines and blogs to a crisp, high-resolution electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, even in bright sunlight.