I could go on a long rant here and talk about how "progress" is discussed on the Internet-- it's almost always a way to undermine opposing viewpoints of the future and to enforce a particular vision of what progress entails. (One of the central tragedies of the Internet is that it is potentially a vehicle for genuine diversity and is in practice a vehicle for conformity.)
So here's Ned Resnikoff, doing good work in opposing the shallow hordes who want to tell you that because ereader technology now exists, and they prefer ebooks, therefore there is no legitimate preference for paper books. You'll hear lots of different arguments (and I use the term lightly) for why YOU MUST CONFORM TO TECHNO UTOPIANISM but the long and the short of it, as Ned suggests, is just that people need to enforce their taste. There's a great insecurity underneath the snark and smug superiority that attends to most enforcement of gadget worship, which is part of a larger tendency on the Internet: people who so desperately need to have their choices validated that they must deny that other choices exist. What's clear to me is that, more and more often, people are so insecure, so lacking in self-possession and so toweringly solipsistic, that they need not only to be flattered by media that tells them they are correct in what they choose (whether it's products or services or media), but that they need to undermine the very idea that other rational, thinking people could make their own adult decisions and make other choices.
What makes this so frustrating is that a huge part of the point of progress in capitalism is more to choose with how you spend your money. If every time a new choice appeared it eliminated some other choice, that wouldn't be progress at all. New innovations don't have to drive out established ways that work very well; to think so is a sure sign of a facile mind. If you'd always prefer the new new hotness, choose it for yourself. These things are true: many choices are subjective. Personal taste is real. Arriving at different and equally valid choices from similar evidence is possible. Goods that deliver similar experiences through different means exist. Adults can determine their own criteria for what is useful, valuable, or worthwhile.
Here's the beauty of it: I own an ebook reader. I also continue to purchase more paper books than I can afford. Some people will only buy ebooks. Some will only buy paper books. That's freedom for you! Choice is the point of progress, in capitalism. If you want to only consume books electronically, be my guest. Enjoy. Bully for you. And if you want to tell other people why you prefer ebooks, base on your personal taste, fine. Just stop with the nonsense that this discussion is about anything more than what you like, and perhaps ask yourself why you're so invested in other people doing exactly as you do. It's grating, and frankly, antidemocratic.
Update: This is a very cool response.