Wow, great discussion. Let me clarify a bit based on what's been said.
Right now, would you choose to buy the device based on its beauty, elegance, and hardware specs, or is the platform more important in your purchase decision?
(1) Your current computing background might have a say. For example, if you're a Windows person, and you use Windows Live/365, etc., you might likely decide a device (tablet or ereader in this case) running Windows is a more consistent and safe option for you. If you lean toward Linux/Android, then you might side with Google's Chromebook, which under Google's Bookshop would double as a convenient reader. And if you're a Mac person, then there's no discussion: it's iPad period.
(2) The problem I'm having -- as an open source guy -- is that each of these devices limit my choices. If I go with Google, then Amazon locks me out. If I go with Amazon, then they've shown they have no problem deleting your purchase if they need to. If I go with Apple, then I've gone to a dark, dark place where no one ever comes back, where Steve Jobs chokes any choice right out of your soul.
Given this state of affairs, I think I'd have to go for the hardware and hope everyone eventually supports ePUB files. I can't let a corporation control the format of my files -- especially ones I'm purchasing! -- ever again.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I quickly get sucked into a philosophical vortex when I do. I blame the global financial system for this stuff. But I won't commit to it because once you start thinking that globally about it, you can attribute it to so many human characteristics. I can blame it on greed, or other such things. But since I'm a little obsessed right now with the economy, that's what I'm thinking.
See, the world is so connected now, not only communication-wise, but especially with money. Any investment we make (mortgages, pensions, insurance...basically anything that is Wall Street-ish) goes directly into the global economy. This is a very new and unique thing historically. Before, things were way more compartmentalized (like before deregulation). Not to get too much into it, but because of this, it makes it virtually impossible to provide mutually beneficial solutions to people as a whole. Someone MUST get screwed in the process. Why? because our global economy is basically a Ponzi scheme. It's afloat right now, but it's gonig to collapse eventually. Maybe not in my lifetime, but this can't be sustained. And we've crossed some kind of line recently too, I don't know how to describe it.
So who's going to get screwed? Well, not the big boys. So the "American Dream" small business people are going to suffer. Why? Because the small business people, they desire to provide actual solutions that people NEED and WANT. It's mutually beneficial. Sure, I'll give you $10 for a program that will autonumber lists for me. I'm happy, you're happy. Yay! But no...the small business owner has to pay all sorts of fees just to get the business going. Then fees for all the services he needs from the big companies. Then fees for mortgages, or rent, homeowner's association...all of these HUGE costs for stuff like that. Phone bills, cell phone service, ISP. So now, the programmer can't charge $10 because it's such a small market AND his living expenses are crazy. So he has to give up, and join a larger company so that he gets paid a salary doing spin-the-wheel type work. So his innovation is lost, and his time and effort is spent doing things that make this fucked up system keep churning. In the end, there's just mediocrity at best.
Then, when a guy like Madoff gets caught with a Ponzi scheme in the economic crisis, he is vilified and sent to prison. Good, right? (I'm not defending him, I'm using this as an academic example). However, when AIG or the government does the EXACT SAME THING, what happens? We print more money and dump it into the top of the pyramid. And that's the "right thing to do".