I was talking to some folks today about eBook and how they were a great idea flawed in implementation.

FictionWise, Sony Reader, eBooks, Google, HarperCollins and a million other sources 

If I go into a bookstore and buy a paperback I know I can read it on any technology platform I want (at home, on the bus, in the office....except perhaps underwater) and I can lend it to a fried, trade it in a 2nd hand book store or keep it for ever

But if I want a decent eBook experience I have to pay for a reader software that is possibly limited to a hardware platform (what if I want to read using my PocketPC on the bus, my UMPC on the bus and my iMac at home) or a dedicated device (yet another thing to carry) and I loose all the flexibility that the paper copy costs me.

If I go with one provider (eg Sony Connect with their eReader) them I'm limited to the content they make available (and frankly the range isn't wide enough for me to want to commit to their platform and pay for their reader hardware).

All these downside, and the fact that distribution costs are so much lower... yet in many cases the electronic version costs the same as the paper one.

Go figure!

Update: I'm glad I'm not alone in finding this annoying. Kevin Wilson (aka "A VC") suggests that a "roaming" model (like with cellphones and ATMs) would work well for the music subscription services... if you could extend this to a common DRM platform and include eBooks I'd be a happy subscriber...