If Waterstone's are still trading, they usually have a couple of the Sony eReaders on display (actually I think a big Tesco is likely to have them too).  Spend 5 minutes reading on one before you write them all off. The Sony reader's case looks better than the Kindle and they have a touch-screen system (even if it's a bit slow).

If I was going to but a new eReader, it would probably be a Kindle (given that Plastic Logic seem to have sunk without trace).