Friday, February 18, 2011

I can go anywhere . . .

The general wisdom seems to be that the bookstore will go the way of the record store and the video rental outlet. [...]

Some go further and suggest that the demise of the bookstore is a signal of the demise of the book itself, at least as a printed product with pages between covers. That dystopian prophecy is almost surely overblown, but the book’s survival in printed form does depend, to a considerable extent, upon the survival of bookstores.

The reason for this is simple. Printed books are physical objects that cry out to be handled even before they are read. The physicality of the book is important to the experience of the book itself. The arrangement and order of the words is supreme, but the appearance of the book and the feel of the book in the hand are also part of the reading experience. [...]

Mark Coker, chief executive of Smashwords Inc., an e-book company, told the Journal that when the physical space on the shelves of bookstores disappears, “it’s gone forever.” He added: “If you remove books from our towns and villages and malls, there will be less opportunity for the serendipitous discovery of books. And that will make it tougher to sell books.”
~"The Marketplace of Ideas--Why Bookstores Matter," by Al Mohler

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