I recently found out that Borders bookstores are all going out of business. What this represents is deeply depressing, as it seems like our priorities as a country, and as consumers, have shifted from books to technology, supplementing a paperback with a Kindle. While this may be a blessing in disguise (less paper used for printing books?), I can only hope that this shift does not change how we value knowledge or education and I hope that I never hear my own grandchildren ask "Grandma, what's a book?"
I think it has a lot more to do with people ordering books online and having them shipped. The e-reader market has not taken hold wholly enough to take down a company of that size. The company would love to blame the new little machines, rather than taking the blame for creating a constantly-expanding and thus wholly unsustainable business model. The overhead for stocking the 95% of books that no one is interested in buying (and then tearing the covers off, and throwing out the books that don't sell in order to report a loss to the publisher) is far too high.
Personally, I'm all for the mass digitization, even if it does away with bookstores. What can be digitized can be shared infinitely for free.
Libraries, though, that's a different story, though perhaps as was the case a few days ago with a co-founder of Reddit being arrested for hacking JSTOR and publishing a huge chunk of their content, thus eliminating their pay-gate, on a torrent site, there are still culture defenders out there. In fact, I'm sure of it.
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