Monday, May 9, 2011

Will Bookshelves Go Out of Style With E-Readers?

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...Cover via Amazon
By Susan Price

These days, you can’t turn on the TV without watching one commercial after another for some digital device or electronic gadget.

People frolicking around parks and sitting poolside with Kindles, or reading to their children from a Nook.

It seems like it won’t be long before books, magazines and newspapers will go the way of the triceratops as the world plugs into e-readers.

Sales numbers for e-books have exploded in the past two years.

Russ Grandinetti of told USA Today that e-books have been outselling print best sellers since October. The Kindle was the most gifted item ever for the web retailer in 2009.
E-readers are projected to generate $2.5 billion in revenue by 2013 according to Yankee Group.

All this digital commerce leaves us one question: What will happen to bookshelves?
You know, bookshelves -- the humble workhorse of libraries, schools and dens around the world.

A dust-covered piece of furniture loaded down with yellowing paperbacks, crayon-covered editions of “The Hungry Caterpillar” and musty-smelling encyclopedias.
With the ability to load a library’s worth of books onto one lightweight device, who needs bookshelves?

Luckily for bookshelves, they’ve diversified.

Sure, they might be called bookshelves, but let’s be honest, when’s the last time you went to someone’s house and saw a bookshelf holding nothing but books?
Shelves hold everything from family photos to those shells your kids collected at the beach last summer.

Lacking cabinet space in your kitchen? Bookshelves can hold cans of soup, boxes of cereal, and jars of spaghetti sauce. Use them on your patio to hold potted plants, in the garage to organize your tools, and in the kid’s room to hold everything from Lego creations to ZhuZhu Pets.

And Grandinetti says Amazon’s print business continues to grow, which means despite the digital revolution, in the future bookshelves will probably still hold books.
“We see e-books as an additive more than a substitute,” Grandinetti told USA Today.

Susan Price blogs about all types of furniture, from bookshelves to office cubicles.

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