Everything in our world, especially on the tech side is utterly complex. There are innumerable angles. I find myself using a roadmap approach to understanding things. In the sense that all annoyances, dare I say, might actually be designer. Another aim is to generally try and keep things proprietary and bring in third parties only if it is too much of a headache, or not too profitable or profitable but accountable (as in App Store where a good amount of the proceeds go to Apple).
Let’s say I am a publisher or seller of books. I know that publishing and selling e-books is a no-brainer. It is 100% profits and no inventory headaches to boot. Problem is that any fast transition would disturb the paperback biz. On a deeper level, searchability means books would no longer be bought on faith, again something that would hurt the biz.
Annoyances is the best time tested methods to slow the transition. Most annoyances have their roots in proprietary designs. Whatever is not open cannot be fixed, at least not fast enough. Another thing with ebooks is that piracy is an issue. So ebook readers are DRMed to their teeth.
To really understand the problem, we need to segment the readers into savvy and non-savvy. Savvy readers would never bother to pay for ebook readers and ebooks because they can buy a Netbook for $200 and read more dynamic content on websites and blogs.
The non savvy readers may fall for ebooks because they want a no-nonsense gadget (no software issues) that has a long battery life and can store dozens of books for those lazy afternoons on vacation.
The commenter above made a important point regarding backlighting. The other thing is about images. E-ink is fine but its monchrome. B&N might introduce color but only in the secondary display.
Netbooks have always had backlighting and color. The newer ones by Asus and Nokia last upto 10 hours.
In my opinion, someone should come up with a stripped down Linux distro (a Puplet maybe) which does only one thing - downloads, displays and manages ebooks.