So again, I ask, what has the EBM got that the digital formats haven't? And again the answer is Presence. If people are going to continue to purchase paper books, publishers have got to do for books what the music industry failed to do for CDs. While the CD-stand or -case was almost de rigeur in 1990s interior decor, people soon realized that a tower of transparent plastic was not the personality statement piece they imagined it could be. Yet vinyl records, despite their obsolescence, retain their appeal for many, from nostalgic Baby Boomers to cool-hunting teens. Perhaps it is, after all, the sound quality, but I'm willing to bet that the labor put into sleeves and liner notes is what has guaranteed their enduring appeal. Records are fetishized objects, while CDs are shiny detritus disks. At this moment in time, books seem poised to go either way.
From the ever-wonderful if:Book, one of the projects of the Future of the Book Institute.