I'll speak to the growing trend of digital distribution. Although the majority still likes physical media, this is changing rapidly.
I prefer digital media. All of my CD's have been ripped to media storage
drives. All of my DVD's have been ripped to media storage
drives. The physical disks are in boxes in a closet. The media is stored on media drives and is shared throughout my home wireless....to laptops, iPads, iPhones and my AppleTV2 to watch movies on the HDTV or listen to my iTunes library on the stereo system. Media drives are so cheap
now...I just bought another 2TB external drive with FW800 for $150....(I haven't moved to eSATA yet)
When I buy something new, I look for digital media first. I try to purchase/download from the iTiunes store or other online source first. If not available yet, and is the case quite a bit, I buy physical media and rip it myself.
I would love to see more PDF/Kindle/etc versions of the popular sailing books
for my digital library. They're coming, it just takes time.
If you're thinking of something new, here's what I'd like to see and am most excited about coming in the future:
Interactive Digital Media
Take a look at the DVD digital version of The PADI Encyclopedia of Recreational Diving.
This is the future of text books
and the true advantage of digital media. It's a wonderful combination of a PDF distill of the book, the DVD instructional videos and rich extra content. It's like reading a book with embedded videos (to explain topics), links, flash presentations...all sorts of things. It's really wonderful!
Now imagine getting The Annapolis
Book of Seamanship in this format, with the 5 DVD's embedded in the text throughout along with all sorts of other things. A truly interactive, content rich, digital textbook for your laptop
, home computer, iPad
, Galaxy Tab, etc.....
This is what I see the future is....school textbooks, instructional books, fun books...etc....everything you can imagine but now with so much more than type and pictures. Maybe try developing something like this for sailing.