I worry about the death of physical books. I do, because I like beating them to a pulp, carrying them around with me, writing in the marginalia. My worrying today was exacerbated:
Amazon today released an announcement boasting that sales of the Kindle device have tripled since the unit price dropped from $259 to $189. And with that, a related piece of news. Founder Jeff Bezos: “While our hardcover sales continue to grow, the Kindle format has now overtaken the hardcover format. Amazon.com customers now purchase more Kindle books than hardcover books–astonishing when you consider that we’ve been selling hardcover books for 15 years, and Kindle books for 33 months.”
Sweet Jesus Christ. I simultaneously embrace and fear the forthcoming Intangible Apocalypse. I love the idea of collecting an entire library in a slab of plastic. But I also love physically flipping through books. I love the idea of electronically searching for a term at lightning speed. But I also love the smell of books, and writing in them. Actively engaging the text.
In the end, I don’t think the decision is going to be left up to me.