OP: to suggest that touch screen is essential in an ebook reader is missing the point.
Fingerprint on the screen is a major disadvantage for a device where display characteristics is key. Given the little need for a touch based UI on a B&W e-reader, the trade-off for the screen to acquire finger prints is simply not worth it for the minute convenience it might bring for certain features.
The only feature where I can see would benefit from touch UI is the dictionary look up. Instead of navigating to the word with the directional pad, simply touching on it would be more convenient.. Then again, that would not work too well for fat fingered folks and when the word spacing is condensed.