I must confess, I always cringe a little when I hear librarians say that though libraries are shrinking, law firms will always have a core collection of hard copy books. I understand the sentiment and believe it accurately reflects today's environment. Certainly, many paper treatises, statutes, etc. can be easier to use than their electronic counterparts, web interfaces aren't always intuitive and many attorneys are slow adopters.
But I've always figured that the right e-book could change all that. The fact that they haven't become mainstream among lawyers and law firms only means their development hasn't advanced to the point where they are desirable as hard copy substitutes. As soon as the right e-book solution is reached, something with the combined convenience of hard copy and the power of electronic access, things could change rapidly.
The Amazon Kindle and Sony E-Book are starting to make inroads. I've been intrigued by the Kindle for a while because of its ability to automatically download newspapers, magazines and books. Now West has released 30 books for the Kindle. That's a start.
Thousands of books could be loaded onto a Kindle, a veritable law library. The technology is no longer an obstacle to this scenario, but publisher's licenses? That may be another matter.