Note: Thanks to Steve Weddle for covering while my kids were all snotty all over my keyboard.
I had a more detailed and long winded post about this topic, but when it comes down to it, I have a simple point that can stand on it's own without my own blathering messing it up. Neil Smith has talked about this several times, most recently in a series of tweets about independent bookstores. This whole e-book revolution comes down to two issues:
1)Books are too hard to find
2)Book are too damned expensive.
Back when I was first examining this whole e-book explosion, particularly the popularity of Kindle self-publishing, I spent a lot of time in the forums and Kindle blogs and found that the main reason people went to e-books was not any overriding problem with the standard paper version, but rather the siren song of the $9.99 book. I know the economics of publishing are complicated, some by there own doing, some by necessity, but $25 is too much for a book and nothing is going to change that.
I still pay it once in a while, usually when I'm attending a signing at my local mystery bookstore Aunt Agatha's, but the bulk of my book acquiring has come through Borders (as a Borders Rewards member I routinely get coupons for 44% off of any book) or more increasingly, the public library. Michigan has a great interlibrary system and I don't think there's a book I've wanted that I haven't been able to get somehow through the library. And I don't really feel bad about it because these aren't lost hardcover sales. If these books weren't available through the library, odds are very good I wouldn't buy them.
So Neil said, and I agree, that the best book technology is still the mass market paperback and I wish publishers and reviewers would get over the stupid stigma of it all and work them to their full potential. A great many of my favorite authors (and current bestsellers) started off as mass market originals which is the only way I would have ever discovered them. It's a cheap technology, portable, and easy to share.
So what are your thoughts? Am I missing something here?