He thinks reports of their demise are premature. For one thing they are optimally user- friendly:
“Books have already found the optimal size. “You will never be alone with a poet in your pocket,” John Adams told one of his sons—and that was two centuries ago, long before paperbacks. Big books push the limit; some readers of Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy razored the tome into eight or 10 more portable sections. But one reason the book has had such a long run is that most books fit the hand.
“Books also optimize the user’s experience. Computers allow us to mix and match the musical tracks we like, bringing us all into the paradise envisioned by wacky Glenn Gould, holed up in his studio, playing with his recorded takes and sampling a few bars of this and a few of that to create the perfect performance. Now anyone can do the same to his version of the Goldberg Variations, playing only the even-numbered pieces, or playing the whole thing backward. But books have always allowed readers to do this; their technological breakthrough, centuries before computing or even electricity, was the page. The page allows you to read over and over, to skip ahead or flip back, with no more effort than the flick of a finger. Even a Dark Ages chieftain might have felt awkward asking his bard to stop and recite the bit about Grendel’s mother again, but readers have been making comparable choices for ages.”