It's actually pretty nice
I bought my father one for his birthday last year in the US. The thing feels very solid, and the screen quality is simply fantastic. Easily the best I've ever seen on an electronic device. The screen really does look very similar to paper, and is extremely easy on the eyes. No backlight, but none of my books have one either :)
It reads PDFs and text files as well as it's own proprietary format, for which DRM is an option. The sony software on the PC end is horrible, though, and not all that reliable as far as I could see. There are other ways of accessing it, and at the simple end you can just copy files onto an SD card and stick it in the machine.
I have no idea why Sony didn't implement the thing as a mass storage class device, which would have made getting content onto it much easier. Can't fault the hardware or build quality though. The battery life isn't as good as they say it is (it never is) but it's still excellent, only requiring a charge every other week.