Reading a book--as in a REAL book: holding it, turning the pages, the smell of it, it's all a very tactile experience for me. As was the thrill of holding my own first novel in my hands. It was a concrete thing I could hold and take with me. When e-readers came out for the first time years ago, I scoffed. "Nothing could rival the feel of a real book," I said. And frankly, I'm still holding to that opinion. Reading a book on a Kindle or iPad just isn't the same. But unfortunately, even for me, something did prove to be stronger than the pull of reading a "real" book:
Take the latest release from the "superauthor" of your choice. It's a blockbuster, yes it is. And it's a monster. Hardcover, with a bazillion pages, it weighs a lot...but it's sooo pretty. And there are two immediate problems: A) It's going to take up space on your already sagging bookshelves at home, and B) the cost for said book is $23.99. As opposed to the e-version, available for $13.99. (And on one website, (gasp!) it's $9.99!!)
It's really not a hard choice. You tap a button, the download begins instantly, and within seconds, You own said book. You don't have to get in your car and drive to a brick-and-mortar store, you don't have to brave parking and people and standing in lines. You get instant gratificaton, and you don't have to worry about shelf space. See where I'm going with this?
I've run out of space in my office. I've had to buy more bookshelves, and now that I've run out of space for bookshelves, I have to "decide" which books need to go into storage. Yes. Storage. What is the use of buying more books when I don't have room for the ones I have?
Economy. It trumps everything in the end. Who doesn't want to save money? E-books are flat out cheaper than real books. And easier to come by, without wasting gas and time. If my son wants the latest Rick Riordan novel, all I have to say is "sure, go ahead and buy it on your kindle." And he gets what he wants, and there is no pestering at all for me to leave the house and take him somewhere to buy it.
So, I think I'm a traitor. I'm sinking the "real book" business by not buying real books. You know that commerical where one person stands there and says: "I don't recycle. I'm just one person. I don't see how it will make a difference." And soon they are joined by another person saying the same thing, and then another appears, and another, until you see a sea of people, all saying that what they are doing won't make a difference. But clearly, it WILL.
So, if enough people stop buying real books, the same effect will happen. It's happening now. It's HAPPENED.
I, too, wonder if my grandchildren will know what a bookstore is? They very well may not.