That is why I was thrilled yesterday when a reader tipped me to a retail site in France which not only carries Pocketbook hardware but is also willing to ship to the US.
The exact ship date is still up in the air, but at the moment Pocketbook's official website in France has the InkPad 840 up for pre-order for 179 euros (plus shipping).
The Pocketbook InkPad has an 8" E-ink display with a screen resolution of 1,600 x 1,200. According to earlier press reports, it runs Pocketbook's proprietary reading software on a 1GHz CPU with 512MB RAM. it has both a frontlight and a touchscreen, and ships with 4GB internal storage, a microSD card slot, Wifi, and a 1.5Ah battery which is expected to give up to a month of runtime.
This device doesn't run Android, but with a 250 ppi resolution screen it is almost as sharp as the screen on the Onyx Boox t68 Lynx - only on a much larger scale. That makes this a highly desirable screen for anyone who has been wanting a larger ereader with a sharp screen.
The InkPad 840 compares well to larger ereaders like the Onyx Universe and the Kindle DX. Those devices feature a 9.7" E-ink screen with a resolution of 825 x 1,200, or about 150 ppi. The InkPad also costs significantly less than the Universe, although the Universe does have the advantage of running Android.
All in all this is a desirable ereader, but it is not without issue. There are a number of early user reports from Russia which complain about the poorly developed software, unimpressive build quality, and disappointing screen.
While the InkPad does have a sharp screen, the screen tech is also reportedly a couple generations out of date. I have an unconfirmed report (which is itself based on the early user reports from Russia) that the InkPad has a Vizplex screen. This is E-ink's second gen screen tech, and it was originally released in 2009 before being replaced by Pearl in 2010 and Carta in 2013.
Update: I've been told that:
It doesn't have a Vizplex display but the Russian buyers claim it does look like one. PocketBook itself confirmed that there was a problem with the first batch and that it was fixed with the second batch which will be available on September 15th in Germany.
I am trying to confirm that report, but alas Pocketbook is ducking my emails at the moment. If this report is correct then it means that the InkPad's screen will be noticeably grayer and fuzzier than the top of the line Carta E-ink screens. I think the size and sharpness would be enough to make up for that issue, but that's just my opinion.
At this point I think i will have to wait to see if my unit has a disappointing screen.