But surprise: the apocalypse already came and went, and look who’s standing. One technology, the e-book, the biggest new invention in reading since Gutenberg cranked out a Bible with movable type, changed the world — most likely for better. We have more books, more readers, a bigger audience for words, on pixels or paper.
The problem, for those who are purely reactive, is that publishing as we know it will soon die. And so will bookstores that are no more nimble or creative than a socks ’n’ things in the mall.
I love independent bookstores — the feel, the smell, the randomness. Without the indies, much of America would be even more of a cultural desert. Thus, I was predisposed to believe that Amazon and e-books would drive small stores and paper books to the grave. But the numbers show otherwise.