Yesterday, I was looking for a fact that I had used before concerning the early Greek documents of the Bible. I walked from shelf to shelf in the library lining my office but did not see what I was looking for. Mildly irritated that I could not find it quickly, I initiated a Google search and found information even more up-to-date than what I had been looking for in my library. I stopped momentarily to reflect on what had just happened. It occurred to me that what was happening on my desk through the computer and the Internet was rendering my library, painstakingly collected over decades, obsolete. I thought about the Greek and Hebrew references that I seldom use because I can access similar versions stored on my hard drive much more quickly.
Today, on the news, I read an article that may well report the trend that will be the stake in the heart of libraries like mine and maybe bigger ones too.
The news reported that Amazon is now selling more electronic books than physical books and this only four years after they started selling electronic books. This means the transition from physical books that you hold to versions that you watch on the screen is accelerating more than we had imagined.
I stop to think a little about what this means. What will happen to the thousands of books that people like me have collected? Will no one want them– preferring instead electronic versions? Will there be no bookshelves in houses–only screens? Will libraries become simply banks of computer servers rather than repositories of actual books? Certainly the transition that this marks is epochal.