New e-book option: Amazon Upgrade
Amazon Upgrade allows purchasers of regular books to add a digital copy of the book for an extra 5-10% of the sale price. Consumers exercising this option will then immediately have access to the entire book in an online library via their Amazon account. This lets buyers access content even before their book arrives in the mail (a feature which college students working on last-minute essays will no doubt appreciate) or look up key passages in a book they own when they're away from their personal library.
While many in the industry still harbor suspicion or even hostility toward digital content, Amazon has shrewdly implemented safeguards to protect publishers and authors. Amazon Upgrade files cannot be downloaded and can only be accessed via logging in to an Amazon account (preventing file-sharing), and the number of pages that can be printed out is limited to about 30% of the book's length. But the service still sounds relatively user-friendly, as it lets consumers bookmark, highlight, and add notes to their online books.
I hope this program turns out as good as it sounds. I've just signed up World Ahead for participation, so hopefully this feature will be turned on for our books within a few weeks. In the meantime, if anyone (readers or publishers) has tried out this feature, please let me know how it worked for you.