-here have always been a few holdouts when technology advances. There were people who clung to 78 RPM records, vinyl LPs, eight-track tapes, cassettes and CDs.

But did anyone really love a CD? Convenient? Sure. But who runs their fingers over a plastic “jewel case”?

Book publishers are in the midst of the biggest technological revolution in centuries for their industry, and they are facing a real problem. People love books. Not just as a delivery mechanism for information, but as objects. They like they way they look, the way they feel, the way they smell.

A bookshelf is more than a storage facility, it’s a statement about who you are and what you think is important.

A good book tucked into a beach bag is a guarantee that idle time won’t be wasted. A really good book can be shared with a friend, (even though people who borrow books are famously irresponsible). What’s changing is the development of e-readers that are just as portable and easy to operate as the original book, and can even exceed them in some respects.

Some devices have backlit screens that make them work even better than the flashlight-and-comic-book-under-the-covers system that got so many hooked on late-night reading.

E-readers also have the ability to store many books, magazines and newspapers in a device smaller than a bulky paperback, which lets the reader take a whole library on the road.

The question for publishers is how to reach this new market without turning their backs on the people who stayed true to their products through other periods of innovation, from talking movies to HDTV.

We’re sure to read about how they decide to resolve this issue. How we read it, however, is much less certain.