Brad used to work for a Silicon-Valley based Internet startup called MightyWords. MightyWords provided information in the form of everything from white papers to small books, but this information lived online, only. The company didn't digitize existing information, it created (or had created) new information that never saw the light of paper. This was back in the day, of course, when lots of Internet companies were attracting VC money, whether they had a solid business plan or not. No news there.
If you've never heard of MightyWords that's ok. The company vanished after a year or so, as it was burning through many hundreds of thousands of dollars a month, while taking in a fraction of that. But the idea of e-books persists, thanks in part to Amazon's Kindle.
The Kindle does solve a lot of the problems that other e-book readers had. Document delivery is fast and effortless. You can even get updates as they become available. And you're not limited to books either. You can subscribe to blogs, newspapers, and magazines also. The screen is much easier to read from than the screens of other readers. However, at $399 who is going to buy this device? You can still buy a lot of "tree books" for $399, and thanks to Amazon Prime you can have them in a day for a song.
Computer techies that need access to information immediately to troubleshoot, for example, would find the Kindle indispensable. So would others with a need for up-to-the-minute information and the deep pockets to get it (say some of those in the medical profession).
In the meantime, it's still seems it will be a long time before the Kindle really catches fire.