Anyone who reads as much as any of us do has probably wondered more than once about what it would be like to own a bookstore. Here’s an interesting short piece on what present-day store owners are having to do in order to survive. In this day and age of the digital book, some of us may wonder why there are still so many people working so hard to maintain attractive brick-and-mortar stores, but I don’t wonder as much as others might: the thrill of reading physical copies of books hasn’t gone away, nor will it; neither will the thrill of walking into a place where thousands of such books are available to us in a pleasant atmosphere.
There’s something else, too, and I do not mean this observation to sound as ominous as it may: even if digital books survive far into the future (and they will), it will be necessary for human culture to retain the knowledge of how to produce physical books. I imply not just the possibility of a future war, but also merely the failure of already overtaxed and outmoded power grids all over the planet–grids that are presently sustaining the storage of all those e-books we are buying and reading. We live only one calamity away from returning to the world of printed books, or, in the worst case, returning to the world of producing them by hand once again.