The biggest problem of all, though, is the e-books themselves. The publishers insist that e-books must be copy-protected. Predictably, each company uses a different protection scheme. You canít read a Kindle book on a Barnes & Noble Nook or a Sony Reader book on an iPad.
You can still read a 200-year-old printed book. But the odds of being able to read one of todayís e-books in 200 years, or even 20, is practically zero.
No, you wonít be giving a well-worn e-book to your children. But you wonít be giving one to your friend, either; you canít resell or even give away an e-book. It doesnít seem right. Why shouldnít you be able to pass along an e-book just the way youíd pass on a physical one? You paid for it, havenít you?
Make no mistake: e-book sales will continue to climb. Screen technology will improve, and prices will fall. Itís theoretically possible, in fact, that the publishersí Luddite lawyers will even relax a little bit about the copy protection.