A recent survey by The NPD Group reveals that 1 out of 3 consumers (37%) said they were "somewhat interested" or "very interested" in buying an electronic reader such as Amazon's Kindle or the Sony Reader.
Of the 40% who were not interested in owning an e-reader, 70% said they still prefer the look and feel of actual books.
Of the 37% who said they were interested in owning a device, the biggest appeal was the ability to buy and store multiple books (as well as some magazines and newspapers).
Consumers also said they liked the ability to download books from the Web instantaneously, and that e-readers are easier to carry than books.
Since it appears that Apple's mythical tablet Mac is headed to market, you have to wonder if Apple is about to wipe out the Kindle and the Sony Reader by providing a tool for reading books and accessing other multimedia.
Even more intriguing, rumors of another cool-looking tablet have surfaced and this one is powered by Google's Android. Google Books for mobile is already available for Android and iPhone users and they already have the publishing agreements in place to provide a mountain of content.
Migrating up to a third of books sales to online will be a huge story in the next couple of years and as these devices come online, book publishers will face many of the challenges that have beset the music industry for the past couple of decades.