The Funny Side to the E-book Debate

As the sales of e-books soar past print books without a second glance, I feel the need to bring some laughter to this heavy issue. I will not be stating any argument on the debate, as I feel there is merit to both print and digital books. I will, however, give you an example of the downsides to e-books only Cracked.com would bring to our attention.

http://www.cracked.com/blog/8-unexpected-downsides-switch-to-e-books/

What happens when you take a well-known comedic site and combine it with the debate of oh the next 50 years or so? The monstrosity of an article shown above. It details the satirical and true downsides to e-books coming to power.

The first downside, you ask? Where will assassins hold their guns? With security and surveillance becoming more high tech, assassins and hit men must become more creative in hiding their weaponry.  So why not just hide it in your coat? Metal detectors solve that problem outright and as the author of the article goes through the strangest places to hide a gun, we come across books as the cliched place to hide a gun. If e-books take over and make books obsolete (don’t think it will happen for a while) then carrying one around will be odd and out of place, making guns in books undesirable for killers.

The list continues to include mundane tasks like holding up a wobbly table and doodling in textbooks. While people might not find ultimate value in these odd reasons, the root of them is the same. What happens if we change the entire facet of books? Just like phones when they became mobile, the culture began to change to create something people 50 years ago wouldn’t recognize. The mobile phone example is perfect because while most people use their cell phones,  land lines are still prominently used. The influx of cell phone eventually leveled out and became consistent while land lines were simply used less. To me, this seems like a possible example future for books. As print books have been such a long standing form in the medium, I believe they will hold strong to the people who need them. At the same time, there isn’t anything wrong with using both for different reasons and keeping the history of the medium alive.

One of the most interesting downsides on the list is the use of ancient texts and mystical books in movies and games. Many movie plots and even whole genres rely on the use of books that either have a magical quality or important information only found in old books. There would be no plot to The NeverEnding Story without the old, mysterious book. If you replaced the mysterious, almost magical book with a Kindle, the movie wouldn’t have the magic in it.  Where would the old witch find her potion recipes or the young sorcerer learn his trade. For the fantasy genre, it almost solely relies on the use of these ancient books in the plot to suck us in to the story. Would we take those out and replace them with e-books as most technological updates have required of movies? I don’t know, but I sure don’t want to live in a world where I’d have to find out.

We move on in the list to the use of books in opening secret passages and the sanitation of bathroom reads. One of the things people don’t understand about new technology is how it truly affects our perception of the world and changes our culture. While some people prefer to read harlequin books in the bathroom rather than take them out into the world, e-readers require you to have all your books in one place. This isn’t ideal for the bathroom reader, but neither is by two Kindles just so you can read on the John.

Speaking of changing culture, the most shocking realization of e-books rising above print books is book burning. What has plagued controversial books for decades? The threat (or not) of book burning. Contrary to Fahrenheit 451, replacing paper books would make book burning less appealing. Would you rather burn a bunch of 5 dollars books or burn a $200 electronic device that doesn’t actually hold the only copy of the book. It make the statement of book burning completely useless.

For authors like Mark Twain and J.K. Rowling (as well as librarians and bibliophiles) this could be a relief. However, the point of book burning is not such a terrible thing, is it? Does it stand to reason that a book, which can rile the masses to burn its pages is important? Without this option, how would we know that books hold a power above just the pages? If a book on an e-reader is too controversial, you would just get rid of it. You wouldn’t burn your Nook. The only indication that a book was too controversial would be the peer reviews on the app and Oprah’s Book Club wouldn’t read it. Although I’m obviously against burning books (unless I’m stranded and have a bunch of Twilight books), there is something powerful in that action to stand against someone’s view of the world. Though many people would find it a blessing to be rid of this act, I find that the world would be a less honest place if radicals couldn’t burn books and provoke people to read them more.

Either way, there are upsides and comical downsides to e-books, but this much is true. There is no way for us to know the results (positive or negative) of this new technology until it has had more time to prosper. Print books have had hundreds of years of head start. Give e-books time. They may have their hindrances, but everything in the world does. Cracked as always gives you a relaxed way of looking at a heated, sensitive issue.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Idea of the Day

3 responses to “The Funny Side to the E-book Debate

  1. http://www.cracked.com/article_19683_6-terrifying-user-agreements-youve-probably-accepted.html

    Scroll down to number 5 of that article and you’ll see something that will really curl your hair. True, I’m still going to keep on buying e-books for the same reason I download games off Steam rather than going to the store and buy a physical disc, because it’s convenient, but the knowledge that at any time those files can be destroyed without my permission is kinda scary.

    For a book burning, somebody actually has to get your book from you. To delete an e-file, your device just has to be connected to the internet and BAM! It’s gone. True, the file is scattered out there in the Cloud, but I don’t know enough about computers to be able to speak to how much of an advantage that is.

    Something to think about.

    • I almost can’t believe they do that, but then when you think about what they do with video game consoles and smart phones, it’s not so unexpected. It just baffles me that they deleted that man’s entire collection, history, and accounts. I feel bad because I’m sure innocent people have suffered because of this, but the bad apples of the bunch have to ruin it for everyone. It scares me a little because like you said if someone wants to take back a book they physically have to get in front of you and take it. This way, though, you aren’t even aware the someone is taking you stuff. It makes me grateful that I have all my books safely tucked away in a box rather than on a device someone can access at any moment.

  2. On the other hand, though, check this out (#2 specifically).
    http://www.cracked.com/blog/5-common-anti-internet-arguments-that-are-statistically-bs_p2/?wa_user1=1&wa_user2=Tech&wa_user3=blog&wa_user4=feature_module

    With the web, we have the power to bring the giants down, if need be. Look what happened to Netflix.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s