Borders is gone. Barnes and Noble stock has fallen 80% over the last 5 years. Amazon now sells more eBooks than print books. Public libraries close on Sundays and have turned into internet cafes where the books are ignored and noise levels are too high to concentrate. There is no doubt that print books are going the way of vinyl records (or even CDs for that matter). Extinction. No more browsing the latest titles while sipping coffee. No more judging a book by its cover, or on impulse buying a book based on its jacket blurb, only to discover a new favorite author. No more going to the bookstore to hear an author speak and autograph a book (just try to get your eBook autographed). I know that to many people a book store is just another store, like a furniture store, but to others, myself included, there was always something special about book stores. Books have given me uncounted hours of enjoyment. Perhaps it is bit perverse to feel attached to physical books rather than the ones and zeros of a digitized text, but I make no apologies for this fetish. There is something about cracking the stiff spine of a brand new book, the feel and smell of the newly minted pages, that is ineffable. And very soon now these experiences will be gone.
I will miss printed books, but I am not a Luddite and realize, as Galadriel says in The Lord of the Rings, “the world is changing.” The trees at least are probably happy with this change.