Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0. Attribution Roberto_Ventre at flickr.com

The yellow tinted dog-eared pages, the unruly scribble that dances between the margins, the scent of a thousand years worth of knowledge; these are the reasons why I love books. I love the small mountain ranges of them stacked alongside my bed, I love the forgotten stragglers I’ve tucked away in various backpacks just so I’ll always have something to read and I love the hope that their knowledge will gradually become mine just by keeping them around, even when I’ve never opened them. The thought of owning a personal library with towering shelves only accessible by ladder, coupled with a warm leather chair for reading is all I need in life.

Books make up the very core of who I am, and I can’t imagine a life without them.

“Books had a good run, but their time has come. It only took a few thousand years.”

But, things change. The future is always just one day away, and the next day is never the same as the last. Books had a good run, but their time has come. It only took a few thousand, but they’ve finally been dethroned. Because we’re living in the slow decline of the age of print.

It’s nothing new. We read about a new struggling book retailer every few months. The headlines read as if they’re endangered animals one fiscal year away from being lost to time; this week’s dodo bird being Barnes & Nobles. One-third of their stores will be closing up shop within the next few years, and who knows how many more after that. Sad story.

It reminds me that the digital age is upon and it’s only a matter of time before it is in full swing. I say this because books aren’t dead yet, well they won’t be as long as I’m alive. I can sleep pretty soundly at night knowing that I’m not the only one who feels this way. It’s not us I’m worried about. We’re one or two generations away from possibly losing that mentality.

While I own an eReader, I don’t whole-heartedly enjoy reading on it. Of the many excuses that book lovers have, mine are the old clichés that it hurts my eyes and that I prefer the feel of a book. Yet I know this is only because I, along with most everyone else, was raised on physical copies of books. It’s not human nature; it’s habit. Two generations down the line, our decedents will just as easily mature while reading from the screens of eReaders. These generations will treat books just as we have CDs. I could go on for quite some time on why this is true, but we all know the reasons: availability, accessibility, ease, space and the list goes on.

Physical copies of books will always be here. I’m not saying they’ll all disappear. Books will always be here, just not on the same level. I want to be upset that future generations won’t enjoy the same love for books that I know, but I can’t. The fact that eReaders will allow for the widespread availability of literature unlike anything before warms my soul. In the end, I fully embrace a world that allows us to carry the wealth of human history, knowledge and thought in our pockets wherever life may take us.