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You raise a lot of good points, clok. Your grandma sounds exactly like my grandpa--he loves finding some old book at a thrift store and bragging about how little he paid for it (sometimes he gets them for a nickle or some such). He has no favorite authors or even subject material. Clearly, a Kindle would be an epic fail for him.
About paperbacks and disposable books...Well, we can't forget how long print has had to evolve. If you look at the history of books, you see that for many generations they were far too expensive for anyone but the elite. Libraries used to be absolutely essential because no one could afford more than a few books. If we were comparing ebooks to print technology in general, I'd say they are still in the Gutenberg era. We aren't anywhere remotely close to today's print technology, which can make books so cheap we can literally just throw them away when we're done. Even the cheapest netbook isn't there--only a very rich person would consider buying one just to take to the beach and toss in the garbage when he's done. Besides the economics of it, printed books have also evolved to be very attractive and comfortable, plus there's an undeniable social prestige to being a book lover. If you're reading a Kindle in public, people can't see the book you're reading (which could have undesirable, but perhaps also desirable effects such as a fellow fan chatting with you about it).
I kept hearing about "e-paper" or "smart paper" or whatever, and that seemed to be the right idea--but of course that's still vapor as far as I know.
As far as the iPad's form factor, as I said before, I feel it's too heavy. I wouldn't be comfortable holding that thing up and reading a book on it like I do with paperbacks or small hardcovers. It also suffers from the distraction problem--I probably couldn't read a book on it anyway, because I'd be too tempted to play music, surf the net, etc. That's one area where the Kindle or a dedicated ebook reader is still superior. There's nothing stopping me from reading books on my computer screen right now, but I certainly don't do it.
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