I should clarify that I mean non-electronic books. You may argue if you must. But, just like what happened in the music industry, denial will only make the transition more painful.
Of course, this will mean a fundamental change in the business itself. Currently, the author is at the mercy of the publisher: they fund the printing, distribution and marketing. It's not a viable option for any author to put up that kind of money (and obtain the various retail connections, etc.) on his or her own. However, the advent of the Nook, Kindle, iPad, and other book platforms has rendered the "printing" aspect of the publisher's role obsolete.
The distribution and marketing can also be accomplished without help of those big time publishers. For instance, I could start a promotion for a Retrospace coffee table book and have tens of thousands of readers aware of the product within a couple days. And if the book is worth a damn, people will pay money for it and a fan base of ten thousand can turn into hundreds of thousands in a very short time.
Of course, there's going to be those that just prefer the mental and physical gratification of a real live book. Much like lovers of vinyl (myself included), there will always be a marginal market, but the vast majority of profits will be pouring in via Amazon, B&N and thousands of other sources of online reads.
You may recall when publishers all jumped on the CD-ROM bandwagon a while back to "keep up with the times". It nearly bankrupted several big publishing houses. The lessons learned there are (1) don't spend millions of dollars to make a book and (2) whistles and bells are not the answer.
I have always been a bit of a bibliophile. I own thousands of books, and my entire family enjoys trips to the library and bookstore literally every week. So, I am by no means in favor of this whole trend, but I also can read the writing on the wall, and it's very clear: the days of paper are soon over.
And I must admit to you, I do have a Nook, and I have found myself reading an awful lot on my phone. Waiting in line at checkout or a long layover isn't so bad when you've got access to a good read in the palm of your hand. And I don't read bestsellers - I'm reading old trashy paperbacks and magazines. You'd be surprised at what's already available!
So, I say farewell dear dog-eared paperback, you've been an integral part of my life. But I fear my grandchildren will look at my books the same way kids today look at my records. They'll scratch their heads, and wonder what is that?