Author JA Konrath has done a lot of thinking and writing on eBooks (not to mention making money selling them). If you are interested, check out his recent posts on the subject:
E-Volution: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2009/11/e-volution.html. While I don’t agree with the time-frame (tech always seems to evolve slower than expected), it is an interesting take on what the future of eBooks might be like.
JA Konrath’s 2010 Ebook Predictions: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2009/12/ja-konraths-2010-ebook-predictions.html.
My own thoughts are:
Blame the Kindle. Amazon was the first to come up with a reader and store that was truly compelling. It looks like they have competent competition now with Barnes and Noble’s nook, so we should see even more progress here.
This is a Generational Shift. As kids grow up with eReaders, adoption will accelerate. I think there is more entropy with books than with music, and also clearer advantages with digital music (which has never been a tactile experience). That tactical aspect of it is what many people fear loosing with eBooks.
Paper Won’t Go Away. At least not in a short enough time frame to matter. For me certain kinds of books lend themselves to a digital format: fiction and other “once read” kinds of books. Books that I want to annotate, study, or use as a reference I can’t see an eReader working (at least not yet).
It’s Green. I haven’t really seen this mentioned much, but there is a significant savings in terms of trees, cost of production and distribution to eBooks. This savings is not, unfortunately, reflected in the pricing of an eBook, which is really a shame. Cheaper and better for the planet would be a convincing combination.