Writing from the annual publishing industry brouhaha BookExpo America, which is being held this year in Los Angeles, New York Times reporter Edward Wyatt chronicles the fear and resentment sparked by electronic reading gadgets such as Amazon's Kindle. Have e-book buyers forsaken the physical originals? "We don't see people buying both versions," one publishing executive told Wyatt. "I think there is almost a one-to-one cannibalization."
For a more optimistic, or at least more idiosyncratic case for the printed word, the great urban historian Luc Sante offers this gem at the end of a long, discursive Wall Street Journal essay on the endless book collecting that has shaped and dominated his life:
I would very much miss books as material objects were they to disappear. The tactility of books assists my memory, for one thing. I can't remember the quote I'm searching for, or maybe even the title of the work that contains it, but I can remember that the book is green, that the margins are unusually wide, and that the quote lies two-thirds of the way down a right-hand page. If books all appear as nearly identical digital readouts, my memory will be impoverished.