A proposal from Teleread.org founder David Rothman; How e-Books Could Smarten Up Kids and Stretch Library Dollars: A National Plan
(excerpt)...But suppose a well-stocked national digital library system existed for Americans of different ages, along with the means to encourage schoolchildren and others to use it. Among those benefiting:
Students at small colleges without big budgets for either paper or electronic books.
Workers who want to upgrade job skills.
The elderly. In the future many baby boomers may face challenges of their own -- the inability to drive to the public library or read books of normal type size.
People in cash-strapped library and school districts.
With cost-savings in mind, a city council member in Los Angeles is already advocating e-books. "I just believe that with technology moving forward, we could save a great deal of money in not having to buy thousands of books each year when they could be made available online," a news account quotes Councilman Bernard Parks. He's off on some details, but yes, if nothing else, libraries shell out big bucks to store and manage paper collections. "E" could automate plenty.
Writers and publishers who are suffering from slumping book sales and could well stand a little economic stimulus, in the spirit of the old Federal Writers Project.