Physical bookstores are disappearing. This doesn't make me happy, but as technology evolves the market shifts. We are moving rapidly to a digital world. I love to visit quaint used bookstores. I love the musty smell of aging paperbacks, the cozy atmosphere, the rare finds, the nicked and sometimes poorly painted shelves holding all those treasures.
We watched as music stores disappeared. Music stores switched from vinyl LPs to plastic CDs, but that didn't help because music moved to the cloud and the trend shifted to downloading songs. Annoying dial-up gave way to a maturing broadband market and this changed web surfing and our buying habits. Physical bookstores are vanishing from your neighborhood and buying virtual books, or ebooks are definitely the trend. Why house bulky books at home when you can carry a library of thousands in the palm of your hand?
I've read that book sales have diminished somewhat, and I am speaking of physical books, but this doesn't mean people have not stopped reading, they are actually reading more! EBooks are popular and becoming more popular all the time. Kindles are very popular. Amazon sells tons of them as as the price for Kindles drops they will be increasingly popular.
These circumstances make it possible for a new phenomenon to appear, the indie author and publisher. No longer waiting for the next rejection slip to come in the mail, the new author writes and publishes books without need for a large book publisher's blessing. The talented and not so talented stand on equal footing and the readers have more choices and often discover great authors that would have remained hidden if big publishing companies remaind in control.
I love the digital revolution, despite the loss of physical stores. Many physical bookstores will remain and fill that need to browse and hold leather and paper, but the digital revolution in literature offers increasing choices and opportunities for readers and authors.