Today I read a lovely essay
on the development of the e-book market by James Patrick Kelly from Asimov's Sci-Fi mag.
James first analyzes why e-books are not dead yet as many pundits would have predicted in 2001. His main argument is the jump in e-books sales experienced since 2003.
He then goes on citing authors why they generally prefer p-books:
Neil Gaiman: "(I like) The smell of paper, the way the book feels, the look of it, the heft."
Tanith Lee: "(I like) Everything. Touch, smell, appearance. Content, of course."
Well, you cannot sniff e-books. So what? It is only a question of time before some crazy hardware developer announces the first hardware e-book reader with articifical book fragrance
The third paragraph of the essay is the strongest. Here James talks about the functionality of e-books:
Ebooks are almost infinitely mutable. You can turn them into webpages, send them to a publisher to be printed on paper, format them at home however you please (large print, double columns), have your computer read them aloud to you or send them to your cousin in Stuttgart. You can carry hundreds of them around on a flash memory stick the size of a Bic lighter. You can find any ebook in your elibrary at the tap of a few keys and search that book in an instant for a place or a character or a memorable quote.
He forgot at least one more benefit: You don't have to breath in anymore the toxic fumes of dusty paper books