'In the future all books will be Blank'
E-books into PDAs, iPhones and Ebook Readers.
You've heard the buzz and no doubt even checked it out.
When you first think about it- its kinda cool!! Having watched the movie recently, I was able to 'legally' read the entire short story of 'The Curious Case of Benjamin Button' online (which is infinitely better than the movie, check it out) and happy to have discovered it. At the same time, there's something vaguely off putting about the whole thing, that I hadn't felt with online music which I had welcomed with open arms.
Sure we have the technology for e-books and it might be convenient in ways vending machines are; but does it automatically make it a good idea? Vending machines are for snacks, not for a meal (unless you are starving college student) and even those snacks are not something that is good for you all the time. It was weird to think that this this e-book hype might actually take off and publishers would consider it as a serious alternative for readers like me who happen to spend an inordinate amount of time in front of a computer screen! I mean sure, I see it's appeal for anyone who has complained of carrying around even a paperback copy of 'A Suitable Boy' or the entire edition 'Lord of the Rings'. I get it! They are heavy! I might just LOVE curling in with a big book over a weekend but not everyone does. At the same time, surely not everyone wants to carry their really expensive PDAs to the beach or the pool on a vacation, do they?! (if you do, I'm sorry but you are a sad sad person).
Maybe its not such a big deal, I thought. They are just options for people to consider. I didn't properly get the 'bigger implications' of this technology, until I came across someone who put it most 'effectively and eloquently'.
Toronto novelist Shaun Smith writes in his blog :
"The grand mystical puzzle tormenting every MBA suit in the publishing industry is how to capitalize on e-books without fucking themselves the way the music industry did.......the suits don't care about books they just want to find a portable interface that people will buy en masse. Then, just as is now the case with music, rather than buying an object—a book—you will buy participation in an agreement. Rather than having something on your shelf in your den that you can pick up and materially call your own, you will have a license to interact with a digitized version of someone else’s intellectual property. You won’t own books, you will own contracts."
"With the enthusiastic help of the profit hungry, the internet and computers are muscling their way between those two, slowly prying the printed word away from the page. From this one can imagine a bizarre Borgesian future in which all books are blank."
What a frightening prospect!! Please someone stop it! Not all technology needs our money!