Yesterday's Portland Tribune offered an article on e-books and their impact on bookstores, in particular small local independent bookstores. Our very own Book Broad Roberta Dyer was quoted in the article, and in fact the article ended with this wonderful quote from Roberta:
“You can display it on your bookshelf,” Dyer says. “You can loan them out, and you can make notes in the margins. You can throw it across the room if it makes you mad, and if you drop it in the bathtub you’ve just lost one book, not every book that is on there.”
To read the whole article, click here. Clearly I am not an unbiased observer of this discussion, but I personally cannot imagine a house without books, real books, ink-on-paper with pages that you turn. When I select a book and when I'm reading a book, the physical look and feel of the book matter to me. I appreciate beautiful typography, and well-created covers. I've looked at books on electronic readers, and I just don't get the same pleasure from reading the same words that way.
I think e-books have a place in our world -- especially, perhaps, for textbooks and reference works, and for people who fly frequently and like to take lots of books with them -- but I can't imagine them ever replacing the printed book. The format of the book has functioned so simply and beautifully for years. I hope they will always be a major part of our world, and that there will always be value to the local independent neighborhood bookstore.
What's your opinion?