With the proliferation of e-books, e-readers, and e-mail, it would seem that traditional bookstores and publishers would be fearful of their futures. After all, why buy books online, and have them mailed, or trudge to the bookstore or library in subzero temperatures? With one click and little cash, that New York Times bestseller can be yours in a matter of seconds.
I have nothing against e-readers and their owners. What bothers me is that the future of print books doesn't seem to be bothering enough people. There is something almost sacred about holding a book in your hands or resting it on your lap, turning the pages to see what happens next. It's cool to buy a secondhand book with an inscription from the previous owner penned inside: "To Doris, on the occasion of her 18th birthday. With Love & Affection, Mom & Dad. 1942." Such inscriptions will become obsolete in the e-book era, and along with it, historical significance.
Print books still have a place in today's society. I hope that people will still value print books, collect them, and have shelves full of them. True literacy will survive when a legacy in print is bequeathed to future generations.