I have thought it over and decided that eBooks are undeniably superior to real books. This is despite or perhaps because of listening to a talk yesterday: http://www.vabook.org/site11/program/details.php?eventID=153
It was a very good talk, but I remain unconvinced that books are a good thing. They take up space, they kill trees, and even if they're bad, you're reluctant to get rid of them because you bought them. Also, they are cheaper.
So we've established that
a) eBooks save space
b) eBooks do not kill trees
c) eBooks are cheaper
Too often, it is thought that eBooks are cheaper because their insubstance makes them an inferior product. But they allow you to save space and prevent you from having tree-murder guilt. Thus I assert that they are NOT an inferior product.
I went to a bookstore today and found myself staring at rows and rows of books that all looked bad. Reading a couple of back covers and such, I realized I have no use for books sitting in bookstores, getting lost on the shelves. What good is your cover of a picture of fun and excitement next to every other cover that promises fun and excitement? The only reason I would invest in one of these books was word of mouth. And how does word of mouth spread? In person, online, email, or by other insubstantial means.
Yet if someone tells me to read a book, I'll say sure, and it will be a good three months before I manage to track it down, which I may or may not remember in the first place. The library may not have it, the bookstore may be out of copies.
But eBooks - the instant gratification potential is endless. Pay a dollar for a story. What else would you be doing with a dollar? Buy 1/10th of a physical book? Buy most of a stick of gum? If you like the story as much as you would like a $10 book, the author has saved you $9. Therefore, you owe the author nine dollars. You can pay the author back with $9 of word of mouth advertising. It is only logical that you settle the score by telling nine other people how good the book was.
This is the only way eBooks can possibly work.