Fast Company has a great cover story on Jeff Bezos and the competitive drive for the electronic publishing market, with Steve Jobs and Apple as a potential spoiler for the Kindle.
"Looking long-term, as readers migrate to digital books, there is a real possibility the basic form of the book will change. It is a process already under way, since the Internet has changed the way people access information, content, and entertainment. Evan Schnittman, vice president of global business development at Oxford University Press, believes constant connectivity is a looming threat to an immersive reading experience. 'I love to read but I know I read immersively somewhat less now -- and I'm in the publishing industry,' he says. 'E-books are simply print books in digital form and my question is, Will that be enough? Is that really what we're going to want to be doing?'
By introducing the Kindle, Jeff Bezos is emulating Steve Jobs -- and taking him on. If history is any guide, no; the decay of the printed word on paper is part of a predictable pattern of development. The incipient form of a new technology tends to mirror what came before, until innovation and consumer need drive it far beyond its predecessors. The first battlefield tanks looked suspiciously like heavily armored tractors equipped with cannons; early automobiles were called 'horseless carriages' for a reason; when newspapers began serving up stories over the Web, the content mirrored what was offered in the print edition. But even as an engineer wouldn't dream of starting with the raw materials for a carriage to design a new sports car, books will move far beyond paper and ink."
Based on previous Typophile discussions on eBooks, I think too many here are still thinking of paper and ink.