Print books are never going to go away; but the current distribution model will. 2012 could be a year of disaster, not because of the Mayan calendar, but because of traditional publishing's inability to deal with the impact of technology, and their arrogant refusal to adapt. As long as publishers cling to the belief that they're the only game in town--employing a business model that has not significantly changed since the early 1800s--it's a matter of when, not if; and that when fast approaches.writes Michael A. Stackpole in the Huffington Post, commenting on book industry consultant Michael Shatzkin's theory that the publishing industry will crash by the end of 2012.
We're talking about when and not if the industry changes and it's scary stuff for those in the book business.
Among the changes that Shatzkin posits - books will appear in e-book format first, and if they get a good enough response and reviews, will then be printed as physical books. There will be far fewer bricks and mortar bookshops as sales move online. There will be far more authors self-publishing and cutting out the middleman.