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\"Right now, with e-books, you really have the worst of both worlds, digital and print, instead of the goodness you get with a print book,\" Nielsen says. \"I can see that changing, but not tomorrow.\"
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Gregg Williams echoes many of Nielsen\'s opinions. Williams, a technology journalist and manager of Pubspace (www.pubspace.com), a Web site that covers Internet-based publishing, says that the handful of advantages reading devices have over print-based books--advantages like their capacity, their searchability and their ability to support hyperlinks--make them ideal for reference or educational materials. But even in those areas, Williams says, e-books are in their infancy.
\"We\'re truly in the Model-T era of e-books,\" he says, \"where early adopters, gadget enthusiasts and people with specialized needs are keeping the industry afloat. For the e-book industry to have a long-term future, reading devices must evolve to become something the general public will find useful, and that hasn\'t happened yet.\"
In the near term, at least, Williams is much more enthusiastic about another technology that aims to revolutionize the reading and publishing worlds: print-on-demand publishing.
Books While You Wait Imagine this. You\'re at the mall, and you approach a colorful kiosk. Using the built-in touch screen, you search for the book you want--Tolstoy\'s War and Peace, in the original Russian. You insert your ten bucks, the screen says thanks, the kiosk starts to twitch and rattle, and you walk over to Starbucks for a latte.