by Russ Roberts on November 7, 2010

in Technology

i was recently in a Barnes and Noble waiting while my car got repaired. Two things struck me about the experience. One was that the Starbuck’s attached to the Barnes and Noble was packed. I was sitting there drinking a Naked Juice and working on my iPad. Most of the other people were doing the same thing. They were sitting there drinking a cup of coffee and treating the place like a public park. A public park with wifi. The bookstore was nearly empty.

As I walked through the bookstore, I passed stacks and stacks of books. Barnes and Noble used to carry around 100,000 titles. I don’t know how many they stock now, but they have a lot of books. I love books. I probably have something around 1000 books in my personal library. But I was struck by how strange all those books looked, all piled up, taking up so much….space. Books have lost much of their appeal for me. I like reading on my iPad. And seeing all those books piled up everywhere seemed so strange looking, like some wasteful warehouse.

I recently read Nicholas Negroponte say that books will disappear int he next five years. Don’t know if he’s right, but surely print is in big trouble.


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