As we prepare for our relocation, we've been digging through our substantial book collection attempting to figure out what to keep and what to shed. Each time I have to remind myself that at this point, most of my book reading is done electronically. The thought occurred to me that this will lead to the decline of the bookshelf, and therefore the hallowed tradition of inspecting the bookshelves of a host as a means of either distraction or a vague attempt at insight.
I wondered then if it would be possible to create a virtual bookshelf. Not a kindle type deal with a little set of icons on a tablet, but an actual, virtual bookshelf. A projection of some kind of a bookshelf, 3' x 6' on a wall that you could see and perhaps even interact with. The obvious rendition is some kind of LCD screen that is the same size. TVs are getting so big these days, I'm thinking it wouldn't be much of a stretch to use one as a virtual bookshelf. I think this is a very narrow vision though. I think it would be better to do something new or at least different. I could envision libraries revolutionized with monolith type structures that are virtual bookshelves. You could browse the shelves of the mystery novels just as you do now, pausing to flick through the pages of a random book whose title looks intriguing. Just touch a button on the virtual book to add it to your rental queue, and on with the browsing.