Few seem to agree whether printed books are gasping their last, dying breath… or if the venerable media format will hold on to its tenuous existence for the infinite ages. While I doubt even the most fervent digital-informationalist will insist every printed page must be destroyed, plenty of consensus warns, “Books are going digital.” Digital sales defeated printed sales for the first time in 2011, and that’s not a rare occurrence now.

In self-publishing, writing, and media circles, this argument is so beaten-horse dead that I’m sick of reading about it. I can’t even bring myself to find links about the argument anymore: a simple Google search for “books vs. ebooks” will get the job done. People have opinions.

But Mashable hit the nail on the head for me. While ebooks are clearly becoming the way of the future, printed books will never die. A well-printed tome isn’t just a vehicle for conveying information; a hardback book carries more psychological weight than a ream of home printed paper. It’s a piece of art. It says something about you as a person, and the way you display it becomes the equivalent of showing off your ideological mind.

Books are art. They’re collectible, lining up on your shelf to prove you read the entire Dragonlance series. They sit on your desk the same way that toy hobbit livens up your workspace. They’re a gift under the tree or something your favorite author can sign. Books are more than just the information they contain.

And now that I have my obligatory post about ebooks versus digital books out of the way, I can move on with my life and write blog posts.Don’t get me wrong. I’m pretty sure the dime novel will seep entirely into the Nooks and Kindles, but those are different. Bite-sized entertainment rarely becomes enshrined for the ages, at least not until nostalgia gains its own power. But books — the literature that we use to define ourself — are just changing.


[Image credit: Twechy]

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