While I do agree that traditional books aren't going anywhere soon, there are some rather big positives the iPad does bring to the literary world.
Easy access to public-domain literature. I am in the process of launching a webcomic that requires a lot of research on literature that's already in the public domain, such as "The Wizard of Oz" with a few swipes. I had the initial book in the series, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," on my iPad and read it over the course of a few hours. Being a Kindle graduate, I found the process fairly easy and quickly loaded up some other titles onto the iPad. Of course, many of these are available for most ereaders thanks to Project Gutenberg.
Presenting old classics in a new form. I encourage anyone with an iPad to try out the sample of this interactive version of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It is simply superb, and really shows the possibilities of what the iPad can do for reading. Another example is The Elements, one of the initial iPad apps that got raves and with good reason.
If you don't like iBooks, there are alternatives. The moment any reader gets an iPad, they should they load iBooks and Amazon's Kindle app and Stanza. The Kindle app especially has a few features over iBooks such as the ability to read white print on a black background, which is easier for some people. I also love that I can read my original Kindle purchases on the iPad. Thank you, Amazon!
Customize your reading experience. Face it, rotten eyesight affects many of us. The iPad makes it easy to enlarge text, change the font, bookmark, utilize the dictionary to look up a word, even control the brightness from within the app. What it can't do though is change the page itself to be white on black or black on sepia. For that, you'll need the Kindle app. Same goes for note-taking. Once more, the Kindle app tops Apple in this area. Being able to take notes in iBooks should be a no-brainer and I hope Apple remedies this sooner than later.
If you really love the series, you're going to own it in more than one format. I'm guilty of this. I have hardbacks of all the available J.D. Robb mysteries (those that aren't in hardback in paperback), audiobooks and now a few ebooks. I'd do the same thing with Harry Potter if J.K. Rowling ever relents and allows that series to be released in ebook format.
I do agree there are some drawbacks. I found the iPad a bit harder to curl up and read with, but usually placing a small object under the iPad to prop it up in my lap fixed that. Not everyone will like the backlit display -- I happen to love it. I really wish there were more publishers releasing comics and manga on the iPad. Comics from comixology is pretty awesome and reading comics on the iPad is a dream using that app, but it doesn't offer all the series I want -- especially DC Comics and manga publishers like Viz, TOKYOPOP, Del Rey and Yen Press.
Ebooks, be it through the iPad, the Kindle, another device or some mythical product that hasn't been dreamt up yet, isn't everyone's cup of tea. I definitely understand some of Michael's frustrations. But, the advantages that the iPad presents to readers, in my opinion, far outweighs the pitfalls.