Right now, e-books make up about 30 percent of all new books sold in the U.S.  But as Amazon keeps pressuring publishers to slash the price of their Kindle titles, e-books sales could soar, while paper books slowly fade away. Their demise would create a new interior-design dilemma: What should replace our now-empty bookshelves? More TVs? More importantly, how would we communicate our inner lives to the people we invite into our homes? A packed bookshelf can reveal far more than even the most honestly curated Facebook profile: Biographies highlight our heroes and inspirations; self-help books our weaknesses and worries; science fiction novels, the alternate worlds we inhabit in our imaginations; while the crease-free spines of brick-size Russian classics show the limits of our attention spans. Stare at the back of a Kindle all you like, but it won't tell you anything about the reader who owns it.


Theunis Bates

Managing Editor, THE WEEK

August 22, 2014