Several friends have remarked to me lately about how sad it is to see so many bricks and mortar bookstores going out of business. It appears that one obvious reason behind this has been the exponential growth of e-publishing businesses. E-books can be significantly cheaper (although not always) than paper copies, delivery is instant anywhere anytime, books can be read anywhere anytime without having to lug them around in a backpack. So much for the reading side of the equation. But what about CHOOSING books to read? Are e-devices better than physical bookstores for browsing? I to tend to gravitate towards completely different books depending on whether I'm browsing online or in a bookstore. I'm often attracted to items in a store that may never show up on a 'recommendations' list on, say, Amazon. However, like many of us I suspect, if I find something I like in the store I'm probably tempted to just download it to my Kindle rather than purchasing a hard copy. So is there any economical model under which we could maintain the advantages of bricks and mortar book browsing while retaining the benefits of e-books? Does it have to be either/or? Will libraries overtake bookstores as places to browse shelves for new inspiration on what to buy?