Amazon's new Kindle 2 seems something like a breakthrough in portable electronic readers. It's powerful, versatile, immediate, and easy to comprehend. And, even if it's not a breakthrough, the Kindle 3 will be, or 4, or something like it.
Amazon couldn't keep the first model in stock, so the public's ready for this e-shift. I suspect that in 10 years there'll be very few hardcover books sold except for maybe library copies. Hardcovers will become an interesting oddity, sort of like LPs or, soon, CDs.
My only concern with the new Kindle comes in the form of its ability to speak the text. I read many books, and I listen to some in the car. Simply put, the reading process is not the same as the listening one. In reading, you take in the information, analyze it, argue with it, rework it, give it other contexts and meanings. You play with it like intellectual clay. Little of that happens in listening to a book at a steady pace, which is more like watching a soothing TV show.
So I do wonder if the audio function in the end will be a Trojan Horse that helps to conquer reading (or at least the mindfulness of it) from the inside out.