Too obvious for this to be a long post- but since I’ve rolled over and accepted that ebooks will replace print media, let’s stop fighting it and start making the wish-list for how they should function. There is lots of potential for the electronic reader medium, but the software seems like it in very early stages of reaching the level of functionality where people will really give up regular books.
Two things which I think will turn the tied:
1) Multi-highlight with search capability: The simple ability to underline (in different colors/tags) and then search or compile highlighted text by color/tag.
2) User Annotation: Simply writing in the margins (or voice tagging in the margins) allows people to interact with what they’re reading, making it a more active experience. Ultimately this can extend to include hyperlinks, drawings, music, etc…
What does that get us?
with the introduction of the two features listed above we now have a new meta-file that exists on top of a certain text. Not sure if you saw Harry Potter and the half blood prince, but this is a simply illustration of the value of getting a textbook which somebody else has already underlined and annotated. If you have ever ready a book that somebody else has written in, you know this can be very benefitical. These additional files might even be sold separately from the book. (example; i illustrated a book, and sell these drawings as part of the experience)
ebooks are starting with novels and non-fiction but will easily expand to magazines, text books and scientific papers on tablet PCs. However the software for interacting with these documents needs to get much much better.