The tombs of the tomes are, ironically, a result of print being very much alive. Despite Kindle and PDFs and Google, the physical printed book is far from dead. It's one thing to say, "Oh, well everything will be digital soon, might as well get rid of it all!" but it's another to do so. A few ill-timed computer crashes here, an obsolete format there, and *poof* half the British Library would be gone. Whereas it would take a really, really, really big fire to put more than a small dent in the hardcopy collection. So... Viva la wood pulp and ink!
BTW, how completely bonkers is it of me to want to make a pilgrimage to actually see these warehouses some day? All those rows and rows and rows of climate-controlled stacks! Makes me shiver with delight!