re:Kindle - I do not own a Kindle and since I work on an open-source operating system (Ubuntu) I don't have access to reliable Kidle software and I do not want to be connected to Amazon in this manner. I've already "not purchased" a product that was released this way and I feel that doing so, especially with an ecological-mindset is ... not ecological
This is true for any product that forces me to register and participate in a such a commercial system and proprietary format (but that's just me).
Yes "the create X in five minutes" is a false promise (I've actually tried communicating that to the WordPress folks). Figuring it out requires a learning curve. Having someone walk you through it can make life that much easier.
You can try out WordPress for free by opening an account at WordPress.com - just to get a feel for what publishing content can be like with WordPress (you don't need to know any HTML). You can even create the website in private mode so that only you can see what you are doing.
As for WordPress and eCommerce you would need to look at Plugins. From my latest review, the most mature one seems to be this one - it's by a well reputed service provider in the WordPress community: http://www.woothemes.com/woocommerce/
If you want to see example of WordPress based eCommerce, this is one showcase with a different plugin (though very popular, has a shaky reputation among WordPress professionals) - though it should answer your question if this is possible: http://getshopped.org/showcase/
The way I (and I believe any professional does) build websites is to work on a temporary site that you can tweak and change and author until you feel it's ready to launch. Only when you decide to launch, the new website replaces your existing one.
If you are looking for a way to make a "doggone button that actually does something" then you are looking in the wrong direction (unless you are looking to advance your web-development skills). Whether you choose to integrate Paypal buttons (the code for which is generated by Paypal and copied into your WordPress pages) or use a commerce-plugin - you should be able to do so with much less effort then coding it yourself.
By the way, if you want to stick with your own web-pages than you can simply paste into them the same button code generated by PayPal (the same code you would paste into WordPress).
You can start making a spreadsheet for your products ... but it may need to evolve and change once you choose how you want to actually sell them products.
All Things Good