Those of you scoffing at the price-- have you actually ever BOUGHT electronics before? I paid over $100 for my first portable CD player used
and that was a bargain. Now I've seen them for under 10 bucks (but a similar build quality to my first one, which took 6 or 8 AAA batteries, would set you back maybe 20 bucks.) You can buy mainstream, brand name mid-range complete computer systems for less money than I paid for my first 256 MB stick of RAM. Find a computer magazine from 10 years ago, or 20 years ago. Find prices for early TVs, and VCRs, and DVD players (and then adjust those prices for inflation.) You aren't only being short-sighted when you don't realize that ebook readers will PLUNGE in price over the years, you are being blind.
I'm old enough to remember when all laptop computers (which were too big to be called "notebooks") had monochrome displays, because color displays (after at first not existing yet) were too expensive to market except at the stratospherically high price range. Then came the expensive passive matrix color displays (slow refresh, washed out colors.) Then came the even more expensive active matrix displays, which looked better, but meant a laptop cost multiple thousands. Now? A photo frame with a display as large as (and likely clearer than) once made a laptop cost $5000 now can be bought at your local Wal-Mart for a hundred bucks.
The 6 inch eInk displays are quoted as costing 60 bucks each. That isn't too
bad, for a new technology, ran by a company with a monopoly on the tech. But there is no reason whatsoever that price shouldn't drop below $5 when the technology is mature, there is competition, and there is market to sell large numbers of displays (and the factories are sourced to the 3rd world.)
Same goes with flash memory-- prices are constantly plunging. You can buy a gigabyte flash drive for far less than the price of the first 8 megabyte one. A few years down the road, do you actually believe that 64 GB or 128 GB won't be a commodity item sold alongside pens and envelops at your local grocery store, like 2 GB, 4 GB, 8 GB ones are today?
If we do not manage to destroy ourselves somehow, then we have a long future ahead of us-- and we are currently using what are amongst the most primitive, most clumsy, and most expensive ebook readers that will ever be made. 10 years from now people will look at the current hottest, shiniest, most expensive ebook readers the same way we look at the electronic from 1999-- as clumsy, weak, expensive dinosaurs. (Meet my first MP3 player: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_PMP300