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Here's a story in today's Bee that is sure to appeal to my friends over at the Fig Garden Bookstore. It orginally appeared in the Los Angeles times. In it, Sara Barbour expresses the the feeling a lot of us have had lately. Esentially: How do book lovers deal with the digital revolution?
To be clear: E-readers aren't the future. They are happening right now, and ignoring them makes you a bit of a luddite. And taking away the things-are-moving-too-fast, longing-for-simple-times fear of it all, E-readers are pretty darn awesome. Portable, inexpensive and easy to read, with an almost endless supply of titles at your fingertips? Sounds too good to be true. Yes, they are less personal than books, in the way MP3s are less personal than CDs and CDs are less personal than vinyl records.
The mass consumer doesn't care about personal. They want it cheap and plentiful and now. So, the best us book lovers can do is carry on. Transport our books in heavy boxes every time we move and visit our local bookdealer to bemoan the day when the texture of a page meant something. Also: connect with other book lovers over at the Beehive book club.
To the authors and publishers who are no doubt struggling to keep everyone happy AND make money, I'd add this: Check out the Radiohead model.