With the introduction of Amazon's Kindle, Sony's e-Reader, and now Barnes & Nobles Nook, a lot of people are starting to ask if hardback books have become an endangered species. It's a valid question, and one I thought I'd add my 2 cents worth today.
My short answer . . . No. For me, and I imagine a lot of people like me, there's something ingrained about reading a hard cover book. In fact, given a choice between a paperback and hard cover, I'll take the hard cover every time. There's something about the weight and feel of it. The way it lays open in my lap when I'm reading it, not having to use my fingers to prop open the pages. I especially like how it looks on my book shelf when I'm finished with it, another well-earned trophy. Our home has several book shelfs scattered in various rooms, but both my wife and I really want to add a formal library someday and fill it with all of the books we've collected over the years. I can't see giving up that dream for a 5 x 7 inch electronic gadget.
Don't misunderstand me. I'm a guy, and you kow what they say about boys and their toys, so our family will probably purchase one of these readers in the near future. If for no other reason than portability for trips. But in doing so I don't feel like I'm condeming traditional book sales. The news media are reporting that even though book sales are down this year, people are reading more because of e-books. That sounds suspisious to me and I'm sure those figures are an anomoly steming from the introduction of a new technology. But regardless, doom and gloom was in the air for traditional newspaper sales when internet news sites became popular, but they're still around. I'm one of those people who makes the rounds of sites like Google News, Yahoo News, CNet and USA Today every morning absorbing the days story's, but every afternoon I still sit back and thumb through the afternoon paper.
As an aspiring writer, the form that my work assumes in reaching prospective readers is irrelevant. Being un-published I can be flippant and say that I'm not in it for the money, so I could care less if this hurts authors royalties. I would love to be concerned about that, because that would mean I had something to be concerned with. But I'm not. Just like I'm not worried about e-books replacing my hard covered ones.
So the bible thumpers can stoke the fires all they want. There will always be plenty of fuel to seek out.