Jack McKeown, now a consultant and vice president of the Verso Digital ad network for publishers, believes three issues stand in the way of the disruptive technological breakthrough akin to the MP3 player:
1. The e-book doesn't deliver the same value as the printed edition. Principally he says the experience of screen reading still isn't up to the standard of ink on paper, but he also suggests that the e-reader's computing capabilities are inhibiting note-taking.
2. The e-reader manufacturers may not understand the book-buying demographic. They seem more interested in the 18-to-34 age group, not the book buyers.
3. Pricing and distribution issues abound. There is no common platform or approach to cost.
While there is little question the transformation of the publishing industry is upon us, "if anyone out there assumes that the outcome is a slam dunk, guess again," McKeown writes.