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This just in: books not doomed after all

From the Los Angeles Times:

Despite all the hand-wringing by those who claim that literary culture is trapped in a downward spiral, overwhelmed by movies and video games and a 24/7 fixation on Britney Spears’ fender benders, book sales and library visits tell a different story. Last month, the Assn. of American Publishers reported that 2007 book sales were up 3.2% over 2006. Since 2002, the book business has seen a growth rate of 2.5% a year. And at the University of Chicago Library, the number of students slouching through the door topped the million mark last year for the first time.

Besides computers, students can behold marvels that don’t have to be plugged in, such as a newly acquired gem from the 14th century, “Le Roman de la Rose” (“The Romance of the Rose”), a beautifully illuminated manuscript created about 1365, based on the original by Guillaume de Lorris.

“Our library is very heavily used,” said director Judith Nadler. “The digital and the print-based will continue to coexist. We don’t want the electronic instead of the book. We want the electronic and the book.”

This is very heartening, but at the same time, what they call “handwringing,” we call “editorial content.”