one more post.
Of course there are other ways of sending the same or similar signals as books. But the fact is that it does work as a signal. Much of Trevor's most recent post explains why books will persist as a signal. People will simply deny that they use it as a signal! And most of the time they'll mean it!
Trevor's last post on the subject was titled "the smell of paper". I've already read a few articles arguing against e-readers and marvelling at how wonderful books make a room look. We come up with different reasons for why we like books.
Trevor endorses the idea of what we're reading being used as a signal when he suggests that the e-reader could display what's being read, but that's exactly what I think would destroy the signal. How do we explain why we have this expensive feature on our reading device? Denying that we're signaling (as Trevor does with his History of Western Philosophy) is a much more credible way of denying that we're trying to signal to people.
Signalling has been around for a long time as an explanation for a lot of our behaviour yet most people are not aware of the explanation. I don't see any reason why this would suddenly happen with books.
But like I said, they people with the specific attachment to books rather than reading will die. And our reading habits will become more rational.