That’s the
question Richard Charkin (CEO Macmillan)
poses today
on his blog
.   To answer that question fairly, I believe you
need to consider the ways in which we use books. 

For centuries,
books were the only mechanism available to store and share information. Wouldn’t you all agree that there are now
much better ways to store, maintain, search, and retrieve information?

Would you rather
have your doctor consult a regularly updated database for drug information or
an annually published handbook?  In the
area of professional reference – for use on the job – books have serious

What about
professional and personal development?

In the interest
of full disclosure, I must confess that there is a new Amazon
or 800CEOREAD package on my doorstep
almost every week. Nothing beats the
portability of a book for me – yet.  

Nothing allows me
to do what I do with a book either. I highlight
and tab my books and often refer back to them. When I pick up a book I’ve read, it’s immediately obvious where I have made
notes (because of the tags sticking out all three available sides).

But, when
technology enables me to do this as well with an electronic version of the
book, I will.

What about the
role of the book in recreation? 

This is where, I
believe, it will take a bit longer to replace the book. There is nothing like curling up with a book
and relaxing. I’m on the computer so
much that a book is a nice change of pace. Books don’t hurt my eyes. They
don’t cause repetitive stress injuries. A
book is warm. I can’t explain that. I can’t justify it. But, I don’t think I’m alone in that either.

Books are not

Are they dying?  

I’m not
sure. They could just be shedding some
of the uses for which they are no longer best suited. Time will tell.

Interesting post over on Buzz
that’s worth checking out.

Are Books Dead? (Part 2)