It's important to remember that Ars Technica in general is very negative. They tend to focus on the bad (with a little smattering of anti-religion and partisan politics thrown in). To whit, their site name means "The Art of Technology" but they've lost sight of that over the years... as their popularity grew, "the art" gave way to "the rag."
Siracusa's article had a bad attitude, I didn't make it past the 5th page (okay their server crashing helped). How much time did he spend on DRM? I lost it after he used the universal "draconian" (can't we think of anything else
to call DRM???). Yeah, it's relevant, but not relevant enough to warrant that
Sure, there's a lot to be negative about, but there's a lot to be positive about too. And imho, the publishing industry needs to face the same demons that the music industry, and to a lesser extent, the movie industry, did. After all, iTunes is now moving to a DRM free model on all tracks.
Sure, I agree with a variety of his points. Indeed, people don't get e-books. But reading isn't as universally popular as music (all the cool kids rea...er... own ipods!), so the e-reader market is far slower on the uptake than the mp3 market. And mp3 had their killer app, the iPod itself, that was just so elegant it inspired ... all the cool kids!
Price is a huge factor right now. I received my Sony Store e-mail, with several books being $17.98 or above! Yes, that's following the hardback pricing structure. But DVDs follow the same structure: new releases are far more expensive than the catalog titles. That said, I'm still disappointed that e-books are so expensive -- even the cheap ones are almost as much as their paper siblings.
A change in pricing structure, and universalizing e-book formats so you can pick any e-reader and buy from any retailer would help. Pretty sure that now that DRM is removed from iTunes tracks, you should be able to play them on anything.
Another thing that happened with the iPod: people got it right away so it didn't require as much advertising. Sony and Amazon seem to think that will happen with Readers too. Sorry, but no. They need to start advertising... to educate the masses about the wonders and benefits of e-Ink screens, and digital books in general.
I believe the publishing industry will eventually do these things: Apple removed DRM after all, it was the music industry
that had to agree.