The Internet, blogs and Twitter link curators have been leading us to believe all information is at hand and we don't have to go any further than to search for it, consume it (and make something out of it — I don't think this part is stressed enough).
While that is a worthy cause, and those who know me know how much I cherish the value of information, one has to wonder at some point why then do we still consume books. If all it takes is to find the right blogs and people, why read any single book for the rest of our lives?
The answer, in my view, is actually directly related to one of the most common call-to-actions we see online: "read more here". As a hyperlink helps you read more about something you're reading right now, a book is but a "read more" destination for whatever you might find on the internet. Sure, we all may follow an influential blog such as Seth Godin's, but have you actually read any of his books and noted the difference? The Freakonomics blog or Twitter feed happens to deliver regular "freakish" articles about the nature of economic and social phenomena, but there are some examples you will only find by actually reading the book.
In fact, the internet is as an extention of the experience of reading a book as a book an extention of reading the internet. You see teaser previews and promotional blog posts and exclusive interviews on your favorite news outlets because first, it helps that outlet deliver great content, and second, because it helps you know about new stuff which, after having had a taste on the Internet, you can get the full content by purchasing (or by any means getting it — I don't care how) the book. While the internet gains value by the way it frees and expands information, the book retains its value by retaining exclusive information in a traditionally closed model. What the Internet allows in extensive yet more superficial ways the second allows in intensive and more profound ways.
I believe books will never stop mattering, because they are a closed way of aggregating information to create a unique piece of knowledge. That's why, starting today, I'm hoping to regularly update a new section of my blog, the Library, where I'll display books I find worth reading. I hope you can share that feeling too. Enjoy!