It’s been a habit of mine since birth and I’m sure you share it: I try to check out bookshelves whenever I can. During dinner parties I gravitate to the host’s stacks in an effort to suss out their taste and opinions. Homes without bookshelves are as sterile as Intel clean rooms. They show that either the host is an insufferable bore or they are one of those weirdos who gave up all possessions. Either way, as John Waters said, “if you go home with somebody, and they don’t have books, don’t fuck ‘em!”
What’s the point? The point is that we are fast approaching an era when books will be as cumbersome and unnecessary as vinyl. The olds among us will remember the days of packing your vinyl into THOU SHALT NOT STEAL milk crates and driving them cross country next to bulging boxes of paperbacks. These days my music is in my phone alongside my books. I have one crate of vinyl that I haven’t listened to since I was 21 and I have shelves of books that I rarely look at except in quiet reverie.
And printed books are in trouble. Don’t let the publishers tell you otherwise. They’re falling rapidly at a rate that will put them equal ebook sales in 2017. It’s bad news for folks who love slipcovers.