This article from Wired.com helps to explain why publishers have been so slow in embracing e-book format as a viable means of selling their product. The lack of standardization across platforms certainly creates problems that most of us don’t begin to understand.
That being said, why can’t this problem be easily overcome? Money seems to be the issue. When the giants like Amazon and Apple are ready to work together instead opposing each other, we might get somewhere in resolving this situation.
Until then, book publishers will continue to squirm when it comes to distributing their books in electronic format.