Back in 2000, I was involved in a books on demand business near Jacksonville, FL. We used two laser printers (one color for the cover stock, one B&W that we printed duplex - 2 pages up, 2 pages down) to produce paperback books. Our "inventor" had merged a computer with a collating machine that cut and miled the pages, shuffled them and then applied hot glue to the book as it came through the machine. The software could download one book, print it and erase it, thereby not violating any copyright rules.
We found out shortly that this "slef-publish" business, which is what it turned into, required an editing staff. But material costs were about $1 for a book you could sell for $10, to help recover your investment costs. Unfortunately, the inventor was happy to build 5-6 units a year in his garage and sell them that way. So, I moved on.
It was at this time that we discussed electronic books and what would happen in the future. My coworkers would say, "No one would want to buy an eReader just to read one book," and they were right. But they failed to see the efficacy of carrying around an entire library, as we can do now with the NOOKcolor or other machine.
I was carrying around just one Tom Clancy paperback novel and it was heavier than my NOOKcolor. Now I have some 40 books loaded and am enjoying reading life once again. I commute by train, so this is a great time to read for me.
Downloading some of the off-copyright books, classics like Herman Melville, are a good way to build a library while saving money. Buying promotional coupons at Barnes & Noble (Spend $100, get $120 in coupons) was another way of reducing my costs. What B&N doesn't get yet is that they should be including eBooks in their annual membership card in order to create some incentive to grow the market!
Why the NOOKcolor and not an eInk Kindle? Well at the time, I refused to put out money for something I couldn't experience first. Some friends have Kindles and I do like the eInk, but the NOOKcolor operates on the Android system, so has other Applications or Apps now, with more on the way, and I thought it was a good method of dipping my toe into the Android system, before I started shopping for a new phone! That's it for now.