Via ScienceBlogs' Aardvarchaeology, a faculty member's perspective on the utility and pricing of ebooks, as well as the different methods of acquiring them. Here is the author's take on the usefulness of ebooks and subsequent ease of pirating them:
I'm eager to start reading more e-books. I rarely re-read books (except for work), and my friends rarely borrow paper ones from me, so I have little reason to hang on to paper books. E-books would be just the thing. But the prices aren't any good. I either have to pay more for an e-book than what it costs me to order a paperback from England, or I can get it for free through illegal file sharing. It's amazingly easy: just try googling a book's title, your preferred file format and the name of a file sharing service like Hotfile or Megaupload.
On the libraries as middlemen, and what researchers like him really want, he continues:
Now that books are no longer stuck in their paper medium, I can't really see why I should involve a library, a physical repository, in getting books. Actually, come to think of it, I haven't asked a librarian for help with selecting a book since I was a kid...
I want to buy unprotected e-books from on-line book stores for about half of what a paperback copy costs on-line. I don't want to "borrow" the files, and I don't want to pirate them. But nor do I want to get ripped off.