Come on, Sony! A key to making them attractive is developing an ecosystem of scholarly information sources around them: larger libraries of scholarly books, reasonably priced, and with a firm title to ownership.
But then again, books are visible in a way e-books are not. While they are not ready for prime time yet, they are still great places to outsource our pleasure reading and reference libraries. The only issue was that, again, the page headers and footers from the original A4 PDF pages appear in the middle of the reflowed text.
You might have sniffed at the idea of abandoning the pleasures of books and papers in order to squint at a wee screen.
The Internet has created a used book market in which different versions, printings, pressings, covers of books matter not at all. The Kindle really helps "long tail" readers like us because it lets you download a sample chapter, and then purchase, download, and read a new title, something that is tremendously exciting for academics, whose books often don't have a "look inside" feature on the Amazon Web site or Google Books, or whereverand who otherwise might waste time and money getting a book shipped to them simply so they can verify whether it is worth reading or not.
In the meantime, I have discovered an open source project called k2pdfopt that purports to convert journal articles into Kindle-formatted pages, by splitting the pages into smaller pieces and trimming borders etc.
If one of the main reasons you read books is feel and smell the pages in order to gratify your self-image as a "reader" or "intellectual," then the Kindle is probably not for you. Better connections between the content repositories such as journal websites and our handheld readers, more ways to make annotations and display information.
If, that is, the Kindles alienate students from their libraries rather than empowering them to immerse themselves in them.