Fine post by Iain Dale, a man who knows his way around the book trade, on what the Waterstone's-Ottakars deal means for bibliophiles. If you're eager to work your way through Wayne Rooney's multi-volume memoirs, the future looks rosy. If not, er, not:
I foresee that within ten years the independent bookshop will have disappeared from our town centres, all bar a few retired individuals who have got money to throw down the drain.
The future belongs to Asda (and Harry Potter.) Alas. As for the prospects for the printed page itself, some crystal ball-gazing from the "Institute for the Future of the Book":
Soon, books will literally have discussions inside of them, both live chats and asynchronous exchanges through comments and social annotation. You will be able to see who else out there is reading that book and be able to open up a dialog with them. You already see evidence of this in Wikipedia’s “discussion” pages and revision histories where the writers and editors negotiate the collaborative development of articles. Wikipedia is a totally new kind of book in that it is never static, always growing.
Not entirely sure I like the sound of that (life is short, books are long.) Then again, some people feel the same way about blogging.
PS: Lots of debate over Power Line's list of Great American Novels. Looks as if the Ayn Rand fan club is going to be disappointed: "To put it gently--Atlas Shrugged may or may not be great political philosophy, but it isn't great literature. It just isn't. Sorry!"
Good to see that Fahrenheit 451 made the cut.