E-Books Are on the Rise, But Slowly

Google's move to digitize books has helped advance a cause that has seen several false starts

With Oprah pushing an e-reader to her audience, Google (GOOG) placing whole books online, and the popularity of programs such as Stanza, which turns the iPhone into a mobile library, the mass market has latched on to e-books in a big way. Witness Amazon.com's (AMZN) Kindle e-reader, which has already sold out for the holidays (the e-tailer doesn't disclose sales figures for the device). But while e-books have caught on in the public consciousnesses, they have yet to tap deeply into the public's pocketbook. Widespread popularity is still a few years—and cheaper devices—away.

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