Soon you'll have free eReaders giving out (let's say with a purchase of 10 eBooks).
I do agree with you on the production of hardcovers (disclaimer, see my post below).
The bookstore that I'm a co-owner of, Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego, is about to open its second location (in Redondo Beach, CA). Obviously we don't think print books are going anywhere.
Look at it this way--printed books have been around for a very long time. People thought movies would do away with them, then TV would do away with movies, then videogames would do away with everything. Yet, they're all still here. They're all just more ways for people to share stories and information and entertainment.
And printed books are the perfect marriage of form and function. You don't need a battery or a power source or internet connectivity. You can keep your place with a paper bookmark. You can take it anywhere.
If anything, e-books will likely cut into the sale of mass market paperbacks, because those are essentially disposable, cheap objects. Hardcovers are bought to be read and treasured, placed on bookshelves--they're objects apart from just what's in them. By the same token, e-books can't be displayed. Your friends don't come to your house and say, "Look at all your e-books." So mass market paperback sales will suffer, hardbacks might get a bit more expensive, but neither format will go away completely.
I hope they don't take away from mass-market paperbacks. I prefer buying fiction in that format... It's cheaper, smaller, and easier to carry around during commutes. I don't like spending tons of money on nice editions of books, because I read pretty fast and am a broke grad student. Of course, if mass market paperbacks start to die out, I think a lot of us will start coming back to libraries!
People who like paper copies are not going to let go that easily. I think its doubtful that paper copies will disappear within 25 yrs. Still love my Kindle though :)
I have so many paper copies of books that it's not funny. Sorry to say that I am selling my house and moving into a small apartment and have very little space. My son gave me a Kindle for Christmas and now I can have all the books I want. I love my Kindle, but I love paper books too. I am still going to buy paper books-even though in the end I will have to give them away because I will have no room to keep them-sad.
I think that they will be around but the preferred method would be eBooks.
There is not only a cost factor in manufacturing but delivering as well (fuel isn't going down anytime soon). However, the deciding factor, much to the publishers' chagrin, is consumer demand.
I do see a collectibles market for paper books. For example you'd put out an eBook but an expansive, expensive, prestige format, signed, limited edition paper book.
I love books. And I love ebooks. I read and write both. I think there's enough market for both to remain comfortable neighbors.
No doubt we are fast moving towards robotic lifestyles in the name of modernization and technological advancements, however, i feel the charm of reading from a paper book cannot be replaced by frosty feel of e-books..History of paper books can be dated by to 9th century, i feel they are here to stay..