Ben nails it as to why listening to classical on an mp3 player is worth the sound-quality tradeoff:
However, I think the biggest advantage of recorded music is one of it’s most obvious and intrinsic characteristics: you can play it many, many times. This is massively important with classical, since it takes so long to get the hang of a piece. If I had had to understand Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 2 (for example) by relying purely on orchestral performances… well it’s never played so I wouldn’t have heard it… but if it were, I would have had to see it about fifty times before it made any kind of sense. That’s a lot of concert.
Why haven’t e-books taken off?
A more concrete answer for the sluggish e-book takeoff can be found in the mind-boggling abundance of formats in which e-books are available and the multiple platforms for accessing them. Pair that abundance with a scarcity of actual e-book content, and you have a situation in which the public won’t show interest until there is more material available, but publishers won’t put out more material until they see more consumer demand. So all we need for the e-book revolution to take place is, theoretically, an affordable, user-friendly reading device and a large enough pool of similarly formatted e-books to justify purchase of the device.
The question I would ask is, why should they? Sure, the Sony Reader is a cool device, but not cool enough to overcome, iPhone-style, the fact that nobody needs one. [via Chris Webb.]