The Cybook Gen3 E Ink reader is now on sale at the Bookeen Web site for US$350 with:

cybooksale–A six-inch Vizplex E Ink screen. Vizplex has more screen contrast than the older E Ink technology.

–A weight of 6.13 ounces. That’s almost three ounces lighter than the new Sony Reader PRS-505.

–Advertised battery life of 8,000 page flips between charges.

–“RSS feeds and eNews.”

–Support of not just DRMed and nonDRMed Mobipocket but also “many open formats like HTML, Txt, PRC, PalmDoc and PDF. These formats are commonly found on Internet and can be easily generated by many text editors. All these files support font resizing except PDF files which can be zoomed.” The Cybook cannot read DRMed PDF. It’s been said that Mobipocket doesn’t allow other company’s DRM-capable software on dedicated e-book readers with built-in Mobipocket. True? Meanwhile, yes, Bookeen has said it wants an .epub reader on the Cybook. Among hardware vendors, Bookeen has been one of the staunchest backers of standards.

$100 more buys you a leather cover ($39.95 separately), a 2GB storage card ($24.95), earphones ($9.95) and an extra battery ($44.95). The full specs are here. I’m under the impression that actual shipping may start November 2.

Related: The first of three parts of DearAuthor’s Christmas Buying Guide for E-Book Readers. The consumer-oriented Jane accurately observes: “Because of the hated Digital Rights Management and nearly 10 different software platforms for e-books, deciding which device to buy can be more traumatizing than braving the 5 am Walmart Black Friday crowd.” Hello, IDPF? Time to expedite work on .epub validation and an official logo so people know they’re steering clear of eBabel? If you want e-books to hit big-time retail for real, then eBabel must go.

And speaking of DRM, the scourge of consumers and consumer-aware hardware vendors: See Dr. Ellen’s Hage discussion of the law-breaking that the technology drives e-book-lovers to. When Mobi’s server went down temporarily, some legal purchasers of Mobi used DRM bypass programs to maintain access to their books. Anyone have thoughts on that, one way or another?

Update, 12:24 p.m., Oct. 29: Engadget is also excited about the promise of the Cybook and has a pointer to this TeleBlog item. Thanks, guys. May the actual hardware live up to our expectations!

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