Jeff Bezos has convinced me. The Amazon Kindle or something similar will replace most print books. This will in no way replace books. Books will continue, but fewer trees will be killed to make those books. I view this as the logical extension for publishers like me who already get books printed on demand by Lightning Source. Books never go out of print, are always available, and money is not invested in stock on hand.
When will this change happen? Not today. Not at $400. Yes, there are people who are willing to pay that much, but that is not a price that will get middle America (or me, for that matter) to take the leap.
When they hit $99.99 on sale for Christmas, I will be there. And I will buy one.
Why are they so expensive now? While I do not know for sure, Kindles receive information from a network. Amazon is not requiring purchasers to pay anything for access to that network. There are no additional fees after purchase.
In other words, they need to make enough money to cover the cost of the network, the satellite, et cetera. I am sure they are also trying to recover research costs. The price will go down. I suspect by next year they will begin to inch lower.
The books are $9.99 (or less). I know that some publishers will be worried about discounting their books to such a low price, but it's important to remember that the cost to offer that e-book for sale is much less.
What does this all mean for my publishing efforts? While I will not go backwards, the second edition of Complete Guide to Online High Schools will be in both print and electronic versions. The two other books I have coming out this year will also be in print and electronic versions. And, yes, by print I specifically mean in the Kindle format.