I was given a kindle last Christmas (thank you!) - and it is awesome - I also have an Ipad - and it is also awesome - comparing a dedicated vs a non-dedicated eReader.
Pros for the eReader (kindle in this case but the others are so similar).
• No glare - read on the beach
• Insane battery life - possibly weeks!
• Higher resolution - the text is crisper
• Cheaper - $140 USD vs ~$500
• Really light - vs the heavier iPad - it's the same as a substantial paperback.
Pros for the iPad
• Backlit so read at night with out a light
• Color - looks stunning
• Not just an ereader - all that other stuff too - by stuff I mean games...
Having both and a netbook - I travel with a netbook and a kindle, (the lonely planets are being released for it now...), the iPad will mainly be used for testing, a few games and posing in cafes - but ultimately left at home when travelling.
I think 5 years from now - this discussion will have changed - the iPad 5 and it competitors - will probably have a feature that transforms the screen from backlit to ambient - and rival the resolutions achieved in print... but for now - the kindle wins hands down when it comes to reading.
From what I've seen of other dedicated eReaders - they are of similar quality - so the main consideration is - who has the easiest and largest store?
Anyone interested in free books - checkout Project Gutenberg
- you can download public domain books in most eBook formats - and the quality is excellent - probably better than some of the paid versions in Amazon's store (my major complaint with the ebooks from amazon is people scanning in public domain books and charging for them - without proof reading or adding any value - actually extend that to many older books).
A kindle vs. a pile of 10 books - as Michelle pointed out - the kindle can carry 1,000's of books - that to me is a killer feature, the weight of 1 book - the choice of 1000's... even the cost is a bonus - new English books in Asia can cost up to twice as much as back in the US or UK... with the kindle you pay ~$9.99 for a new release.
Downside - I've been introduced to so many stunning authors via swapping books on the road ... will that sharing aspect be lost with locking myself into Amazon's store and DRM (digital rights management)?