Friday, January 2, 2009

On Books, Part 2

It was once thought that the computer and the internet would make books obsolete. This prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. In truth, bookselling is big business. Yes, bookstores, especially smaller ones, face stiff competition – but not from cyberspace alone. Strong competition comes from big chain stores – Barnes & Nobles, Borders, Sam’s Club, and WalMart.

Perhaps it could be argued that the computer age has helped the sale of books, not hindered. Book reviews are more accessible than any time before. There is no need to consult specialized journals or publications – just surf the web.

There was a time when people were excited that they could download books on to their computers. I have a few of these, but nothing will replace the look, feel and smell of a real live book.

When I was last in one of the big chain bookstores, there was little indication that the store was on hard times. I hope this indicates that the bookstore will not soon vanish from the landscape.

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