What is particularly crucial to understand is that books were not dragged kicking and screaming into each new area of capitalism. Books not only are part and parcel of consumer capitalism, they virtually began it. They are part of the fuel that drives it.
In the history of shop design, it is bookstores, strangely enough, that were the precursors of supermarkets. They, alone of all types of shop, made use of shelves that were not behind counters, with the goods arranged for casual browsing, and for what was not yet called self-service.
Exquisite timing, this article, since I free-sampled about twenty books from Amazon last night. I’m not quite sure I agree, that books drive capitalism, unless one approaches the phenomena with a requisite complexity:
Capitalism tends toward a threshold of decoding that will destroy the socius in order to make it a body without organs and unleash the flows of desire on this body as a deterritorialized field. (#)
Yes, something like that … books, information as desire, and desire as that which builds up at the edges and overflows.