I think for doing a quick search, many are more adept at finding stuff online faster than flipping through a book.
However , I find I like to have something written I can refer to while in the middle of a job I am not familar with, which makes a book handy. Yes , you can find the same stuff online, print it and have basicly the same thing, but many times the photos do not come out as clear as the actual book.
(any many of the photos in Clymers are not that good to begin with...lol)
When I did my forks, I printed out the section from my CD copy of the Kaw manual. It took more time than just book marking an actual copy, but worked fine.
The the other nice thing about actual books is you can just sit down and flip through them alot easier than you can online...which would have evened out your race to find the spec you wanted because if you had done this first, you would have known already where to look in the book to find it. (I think all torque specs are listed at the end of the book not by chapter)
But many things will always be quicker to find online mostly because we lack extensive librarys in our homes, and likely could not afford it anyway. But there are always advantages to having the actual book, and advantages to just using online info too.
I doubt books will become obsolete, but with the amount of information available online, their spot as the only
source for information has simply changed.
Your owners manual is a small 3X5 book that tucks easily in your toolbox. To carry the same info digitaly would likely mean finding a spot to tuck your laptop.
Writing things down where you can quickly find them will always be faster than waiting for your PC to boot up....