How do you strike a traditional/digital retail balance?

I love this lead sentence:

“Monday was a day for the history books — if those will even exist in the future.”

What this NYTimes writer is referring to is the history that Amazon made by announcing yesterday that for the last three months, sales of e-books for the Kindle outnumbered sales of hardcover books through the site. Which raises the question of whether there will be tried and true history books in the future.

It’s an interesting quandary, really. How many things do you still keep on record in hard copy? Do you still balance your checkbook on paper? Do you keep written to-do lists? How about letters – do you still write them to pen-pals? Somehow I doubt it as e-mails have taken over in most all cases.

So why, then, should we assume that “history books” will remain? According to some – they won’t.

“This was a day that was going to come, a day that had to come,” said Mike Shatzkin, founder and chief executive of the Idea Logical Company, quoted in the NYTimes article.

With so much being bought and sold online, and so much content being read and distributed through digital channels, I wonder whether the book, magazine, print lovers (myself included) will continue to mourn the publishing demise or simply accept the change. I know I’ve accepted and embraced the digital age – I did so a long time ago. But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the printed page. How do we find a balance?

And doesn’t this apply to all eCommerce? How will retailers continue to balance between their traditional sales platforms and the rapidly evolving digital ones?