how to make it really simple.
This is a major part of the key.
1. Buying an ebook, downloading and then synching to a reader has to be as easy as buying music on iTunes and loading it on an iPod.
2. Choice of cheap, usable hardware ebook readers. They need to have a choice of sizes, screen sizes and styles - but all having fairly standard easy controls. Price needs to start at no more than $35 - $50 for a reader with an unambiguously good reading screen. $400 readers are not a mainstream product.
3. Reasonable DRM policy. This was another key to iPod acceptance. I don't want to feel like I'm being treated like a criminal when I buy an ebook. I'm the customer and I want to feel I'm getting value for my
money. I should be able to have more than one hardware reader and I should be able to IR beam even a DRM'd ebook from one reader to another so long as both readers are registered to me, (eg. I might have an E-Ink display reader which is not backlit and a smaller PDA sized reader for carrying that perhaps also has a backlit screen for reading in bed). I should not be tied to just one reader.
4. Electronic format. I should not have to worry about this at all. My ebook should be readable on a reader by Sony, Samsung, Phillips etc. Same thing with ebooksellers - if buying a Sony ebook reader means I can only buy ebooks from the Sony ebook store the public will not go for it.
We are getting closer on several fronts but all the elements need to come together for ebooks to really take off with the mainstream.