According to this News.com story, Amazon is making it very easy to search for the information you need without having to fight the traffic, lines, and other holiday stressors: “Buy the book, get the search service.”
One of the new services, Amazon Pages, is a pay-per-page model, which allows you to search and pay for only the pages that you want. The other service, Amazon Upgrade, allows you to buy a (paper) book from Amazon, which is shipped to you, and then Amazon sells you the right to search that book online.
“…for an independent bookseller–and maybe even the chains–this is likely putting a man on Mars. There is no way to ‘extend’ ordinary offline selling of books to this. The only possibility for that is if Google Print, or another service like it, provides this as a back-end service to the offline booksellers.”
Personally, I think Amazon is right on the money with these new services. My bookshelves is packed, which leaves me the following options: (1) buy a bigger house so that I have room for more bookshelves, (2) sell or give away some of my books to make room for newer ones, or (3) use Amazon Pages to get just the pages I really want to read instead of the entire book. With my editorial salary, and the fondness I have for my preexisting books, Amazon Print wins hands-down.