Penny Arcade

Shamelessly linked from Penny Arcade. An awesome comic!

But on a serious note, I’ve been finding that everyone has really been taking notice about this ‘kindle’ device and how it’s going to replace books, magazines, dictionaries (although they’ve mainly become obsolete due to the internet and wikipedia – which is disastrously dangerous in its own right), and newspapers among other print culture media. It’ll save the goddamn rainforest, I’m sure.

For those of you who are not in the know, this is a Kindle: Kindle

I know. The shivering sensation will pass, I promise. Some of you will probably find the now stereotypical white-paneled-future look to be aesthetically pleasing. I’ll make sure to never trust your sense of design again. Others might ask what took developers so long to come up with such a device. Well, apparently, reading for prolonged periods on an LCD screen really fucks up your eyes. But you blog readers wouldn’t know anything about that now would you? No, I didn’t think so.

Personally, if you can’t already guess, I think this thing will be mildly successful but it won’t really effect print culture production that much in the short term. I’m even going to say that it won’t really effect print culture production in the long term (i.e. my lifetime) either. There are several reasons why this shall be (and thus this blog post shall be a list – updated, possibly – on the versatility of books):

1) Books make you look smart. Notice how I said ‘look’ rather than ‘books make you smart.’ See, some people merely buy books to put on their bookshelves in order to give the appearance that they are well-read. I will state right now that I am definitely one of these people – although I am certain that I shall, one day, get to and finish most of them. Probably. Also, holding a book in your hand makes you look smart. It also makes you look several other things too: you may look important, busy, and successful (primarily because you must have done something right in order to have so much leisure time to read all those books)! Let’s be quite clear before we get any further about one thing, though: the greater the size of the book that you possess does not necessarily equate to a greater perception of intelligence (which is especially the case with picture books, unfortunately).

2) Books are great in fights. There’s nothing quite like book when it comes to combat – verbal, ranged or melee. I won’t dwell on the usage of books in debates – everyone knows about that. While not an obvious source for direct damage, little compares to beating someone down with a large leather-bound tome – I mean, they’re not called Bible-thumpers for nothing, right? If offense isn’t you’re game, then you’ll be happy to know that books posses great defensive capabilities as well: throwing a book at someone will surely distract them from whatever nefarious task they are about to do; pushing over shelves of books creates excellent barriers that will thwart most clumsy following assailants; and the best defensive use of a book, by far, is using it as a shield. Those things can stop bullets!

3) Books are useful in emergency situations. If you are lucky enough to be able to read and have the correct piece of literature, you might figure a way out of your emergency. Failing that, books can easily be stacked into a makeshift lean-to providing shelter in your time of need. Even better, books are a great source of fuel for fires! Back in the day, people sometimes even celebrated such things!

Can Kindle do any of these things? I didn’t think so. Hilarity aside, the print culture industry is a giant force to be reckoned with and no mere digital display panel is going to quickly usurp the no-batteries-required paper medium. Maybe if you give it about 50 or 100 years you might see some change but I’d hate to think about all the libraries that would have to change their status’ to ‘museum’ if this were true. Perhaps Kindle is the modern ‘update’ of the book – most media outlets are having a difficult time keeping readers due to the internet. I, however, shall definitely stick to books for as long as I am able. Who knows when someone’s going to try and shoot me in the thigh!

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