Let’s e-liminate digital books





With the inception of e-books and the rising popularity of digital readers like Amazon’s Kindle and Apple’s iPad, bookstores will disappear into the sands of time, like cassette tapes and floppy disks. How on earth am I supposed to have a “Beauty and the Beast” library (complete with sliding ladders) if there is no such thing as a physical book? 

Oh, you want to borrow my copy of “The Da Vinci Code”? Sure, let me just virtually slide it off my virtual bookshelf and virtually hand it to you.

The laziness of modern society astounds me. It is not going to break your back to carry a paperback book weighing a few ounces. The constant discourse on the importance of exercise is even more baffling: People are joining gyms left and right and struggling to find a free hour in the day to get their hearts pumping, but they continue to eliminate every last bit of physical exertion from their daily lives.

And why all the outrage over paying $14.99 for the written word but no protests over $10 movie tickets? For the past several years, movies have not even been original works of art. The majority of them are adapted screenplays that butcher the author’s creation, rake in millions and discourage people from picking up the actual book since watching a movie is quicker and easier than reading.

One digital publishing executive argues that digital readers will encourage people to read more once they can purchase e-books for a lower price than paper books. Frankly, people who only pick up books to fulfill required reading for classes would not be getting hooked on phonics even if books were free. Oh, wait, they are — at a place called the library.

Prices and weights of books are not the reason some people refuse to read; the reason is the mental strain involved in reading. Why exercise your brain and attempt to learn something when you can watch people getting drunk and punching each other on MTV?

In the case of those who read regularly, some are seething at the thought of paying bookstore prices for digital books since publishers do not have to pay to print the actual book. Adding a new player who will distribute the e-books, such as Google or Apple, takes the place of publishing costs. Currently, they are set to receive a 30 percent cut of every book sold.

New York Times best-selling author Douglas Preston summarized my sentiment exactly when he said, “The sense of entitlement of the American consumer is absolutely astonishing. It’s the Walmart mentality ... It’s this notion of not wanting to pay the real price of something.”

E-books are just another step in the corporate giants’ plan to exploit consumerism and make electrical sockets the new crack-cocaine. And the most depressing part about it is that all I can do to stop it is rant for 500 words.

E-mail: pkansal@indiana.edu

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