I recommend this article. It comes from the perspective of someone who has been through the ebook evolution and it seems very wise. I’ve included the outline below but read the whole article.
Why E-Books Failed In 2000, And What It Means For 2010
by Michael Mace
“It’s a great time for ebooks.
There are at least six ebook reader devices on the market or in preparation. A major business magazine predicts that up to seven million of these devices will be sold next year.
A major consulting firm says ebook sales will account for ten percent of the publishing market in five years. And an executive at the leading computing firm predicts that 90 percent of all publishing will switch to electronic form in just 20 years.
But the year isn’t 2010 — it’s 2000, and the ebook market is about to go into hibernation for a decade. What went wrong, and what can the failure tell us about the prospects for ebooks in 2010?”
Why ebooks failed in 2000
1. Not enough ebooks.
2. Ebooks were too expensive.
3. The hardware form factor was wrong.
4. Periodicals weren’t ready.
5. Poor marketing.
What it means for ebooks in 2010
“Although ebooks are doing much better than they were in 2000, … the prospects for near-term explosive growth don’t look good.”
What happens next, and what can we do about it?
1. Save the short story.
2. Free the backlist.
3. Rethink the periodical
4. Publishers: Rethink your value
Six critical questions for book publishers
1. Who is my customer, the author or the book-buyer?
2. How much value do my editing services add from the reader’s point of view?
3. How much value do my editing services add from the author’s point of view?
4. How much demand generation do we really do?
5. Which brand are the readers buying?
6. What sort of book am I selling?
Then ask yourself how many of these questions and issues apply to libraries.