Is there a Future for e-books?

Lord Kelvin, the most respected physicist of his day "knew" the telephone was a fraud, because the Laws of Physics made it impossible to transmit the human voice over a wire. Indeed, he had no need to examine the instrument at all to be sure Bell was a charlatan.
Samuel Langley, head of the Smithsonian Institute at the start of the 20th Century, was certain that manned flight in powered, heavier-than-air machines was "impossible," as his own failed attempts had shown. A few days later, however, the Wright Brothers flew at Kittyhawke.
"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. Duell, commissioner, US Office of Patents, 1899.
"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" - David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.
I'd certainly never read one. The only thing they're good for are doorstops." Alfred Hitchcock about paperback books.
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.
"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." - Popular Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949.
"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a fad that won't last out the year." - The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.
"But it good for?" - Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olson, president, chairman, and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.
"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - Bill Gates, 1981.
"$100 million dollars is way too much to pay for Microsoft." - IBM, 1982.

   There is a vigorous new growth in the world: writers, publishers, retailers and reviewers of electronic books. I am proud to be a member of this seed for future change.

   Many of us are discouraged by the comments of supposed experts, predicting the languishing and even demise of the e-book. People seriously say that no-one could possibly want to miss the smell of a book, the feel of it...

   This collection of wise prognistications by past experts, about other advances in technology, should put such opinions in context.

   I would like to add to this list. If you know of any other statements of this kind, please email them to me. As payment, I will send you an entertaining short story, free of charge. In electronic format of course.


   If you want to read a more serious article about e-publishing, read 'The phenomenon known as e-books' by Christina Hamlett. This article appeared in Gotta Write magazine.

   But while you're here, read the transcript of a speech I gave on the topic.

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