Here's a 1986 ad for Radio Shack's "Electronic Book," which connected to your computer's joystick port, and the interacted with software supplied on a cassette or disk. The peripheral cost $24.95, and new titles were $19.95 to $24.95 -- so the hardware prices have increased tenfold (unadjusted for inflation) in 25 years, while media costs have actually decreased.
Young adult author Lorie-Ann Grover sez, "In 2008 and 2009, readergirlz, GuysLitWire, and YALSA orchestrated publishers' donations of 20,000 new young adult books to hospitalized teens across the country. For 2010, If I Can Read I Can Do Anything has joined forces with these three organizations to drop over 10,000 new YA books, donated by publishers, into the hands of teens on Native Tribal Lands. Nationwide, librarians, over 100 YA authors, YA lit lovers, and teens will drop YA books in their own communities on April 15th, 2010, to raise awareness for Operation TBD 2010 and Support Teen Literature Day. They will participate further by purchasing books from the TBD Powell's Wish Lists during National Library Week. Purchases will be shipped directly to enrich one of two Native American libraries. Everyone will join an online party that evening at the readergirlz blog."
Amazon is selling Kindle books without DRM, but they still won't answer three fundamental questions: 1. Whether the terms prohibit moving DRM-free books to non-Kindle platforms;
2. Whether patents or other IP prohibit making third-party readers for
the Amazon DRM-free format format;
3. Whether they can still revoke DRM-free files, or disable their
features, and if so, which features can be disabled and what
circumstances would lead to revocation. The answer to these three questions is the difference between owning a book and having an innocent book used as bait for a tawdry lock-in scheme.