Not that I want the contents of books to disappear. Even I am not so much of an unlettered person that I would wish for that.
Rather, it's that I don't read books as books much anymore. I read books on the internet, I read books on my iPhone, but I don't often read hard copy books. And the ones I read as hard copy are generally (like most textbooks) so unimportant to me in the grand scheme of things that I wouldn't really miss them anyway (in part because they were sent to me by publishers at no charge).
And in another 5-10 years I will hold this view even more strongly. I really doubt there will be many, if any, books in the homes of most of us or even in most libraries that are not available electronically.
This realization makes several things more interesting.
- First, censorship and control of the internet will be increasingly important. I hope people will continue to work for maintaining freedom of expression via the internet.
- Book burnings will be a thing of the past, if they aren't already.
If there were a fire, I would grab my laptop and iPhone long before I would think about saving my hardbound copies of Balzac or Shakespeare or Ayn Rand.