I honestly belive that the main issue with any product is price..
if the kindle was prices @ 99 there would be a flood of users compared to what they have now.
If it was $50 it would be in a ton of boxes unde the tree for this xmas..
its not the product its the price. I can go get a newspaper for $2 @ a newsstand or a book for $5-8..
this causes us when we see a $400 reader to not want it.. we don't see benifits of it in our daily lives.
The first e-book reader that gets to $50 will dominate like the IPOD has today.
Book publishers are strangely diffrent from music publishers in the fact they let you re-download without re-paying which means it would be easyer to work with for the consumer.
But there will still be drm.. but i would think its less obtrusive here (which makes it better)
It's called a "book". You have purchased duplicate devices over and over and over and likely have them all over your house. Two or three by the bed, another four or five on the coffee table.
You are very likely to also have some variations on the device, known as "magazines" or possibly "news papers". These are devices used to deliver one time use information, and lose their value quickly over time.
Now, just for a moment, imagine a world where all the disposable printed stuff in your life didn't come on paper, but came in a small device that updated itself whenever there was new information. Imagine getting on the train or bus in the morning, taking out this device and reading the paper from your home town. Imagine never having find someone who wants your old copy of Time or Newsweek, because as soon as you were done with it you could push a button and it would be gone. Not into a landfill, but really, really gone.
I said imagine because it's not where we're at yet, but it's where we should be going. Every time we print a news paper, every time we print a magazine, every time we print some bit of technical documentation we're wasting resources. Not just paper and ink (though the production of those things is very toxic) but power for the presses and fuel for the trucks. Nothing I can think of is more unnecessary than a physical copy of the New York Times.
And we all know that most of the books we read are not going to stand the test of time. I mean really, do you actually think you're going to read the average novel more than once? If you read a book and you love it, go buy a hard copy, the money you save on e-books will more than offset the cost of buying something you love twice.
So, why not use your laptop or your phone? What makes an e-reader better?
First, ease of use. The Kindle (which I don't own... yet) will deliver seamless news and information to its users, via EVDO, with no computer or syncing. The Sony Reader (which I do own) is no harder to use than an iPod, and it takes the place of several of those other "dedicated reading devices" that I used to tote around. Not to mention the better battery life, lighter weight and ease of use compared to a laptop.
Second, the screen is better. I want to pull out my hair every time someone says "but there's no back lite". Yeah, there's no back light on the "dedicated reading devices" you're using now. My Sony Reader display is 167 DPI, you're not getting that on your phone or PDA. And compared to my Treo, which I recharge EVERY SINGLE DAY my Sony only needs to be plugged in for a few hours a week.
E-books are not where they need to be, not yet, but it's things like the Kindle, the Sony Reader, Mobi all the other electronic book formats that are leading us where we need to be. Not to a life without paper, but to a life where paper is valued as something more than a media for information we don't really care about.