Jeff Bezos on the Inevitable Obsolescence of Books

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos tells Dan Lyons, aka FSJ, just how deep his "missionary zeal" for spreading the gospel of the Kindle runs: One day, it's going to kill books entirely. The full quote:

Lyons: Do you think that the ink-on-paper book will eventually go away?

Bezos: I do. I don't know how long it will take. You know, we love stories and we love narrative; we love to get lost in an author's world. That's not going to go away; that's going to thrive. But the physical book really has had a 500-year run. It's probably the most successful technology ever. It's hard to come up with things that have had a longer run. If Gutenberg were alive today, he would recognize the physical book and know how to operate it immediately. Given how much change there has been everywhere else, what's remarkable is how stable the book has been for so long. But no technology, not even one as elegant as the book, lasts forever.

Also, Bezos isn't afraid of the Apple tablet, even if it does do all that stuff everybody thinks it will, because the Kindle's so darn good at the book thing. A dedicated device for reading? Sounds like a shorter shelf life than books. [Slate]