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Does a revamped IKEA shelf spell the end for books?

Can a bookcase signal the demise of books?

Why, yes, according to a new report that is sparking a flurry of controversy online.

In a new story on how the rise of digital books is changing the publishing industry, The Economist reports that furniture giant IKEA will soon begin selling a new design of its signature Billy bookcase.

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The new model will have deeper shelves, which the article speculates is perfect for holding the knick-knacks many consumers want to display, instead of archaic paperbacks or hardcovers.

The rising popularity of digital publishing does mean fewer people are buying physical books, and the industry is facing major upheaval.

Some booksellers, such as U.S. chain Borders, are going out of business while others are scrambling to adapt in a rapidly changing world.

But dog-eared novels and heavy coffee table books aren't a thing of the past yet. IKEA told NPR that the new design for the Billy bookcase is simply to give consumers an option for storing larger books.

What do you think? Are physical books soon going to be a thing of the past?

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About the Author

Carly Weeks has been a journalist with The Globe and Mail since 2007.  She has reported on everything from federal politics to the high levels of sodium in the Canadian diet. More

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