The random endorsement: e-books (and anyone who disagrees is an imbecile)


This endorsement is by no means random. It is a direct challenge to one of the many well thought out theses put forward by Peter Ha in his terrific Kindle review:

I’ll be the first to admit that e-books suck. They’re great in theory, but they’ll never catch on. There’s nothing that screams dork more than an e-book. I, like many others, enjoy the real thing. There’s just something comforting about having a paper book to carry around, to bunny ear, scratch notes on, highlight words/phrases and whatever else you may like to do.

I’ll spare you the rest.

Imagine you could resurrect Christopher Columbus. You’d be all, “Yo, Cristobal, what’s up? Check this out.” Then you point upward at an airplane. “How’s this grab ya: we’ve invented these things called airplanes that can take you clear across the Atlantic Ocean in six hours. Oh, and check this out. It’s called the Kindle. On this little plastic thing, we can read every book ever written anywhere we want. If we’re on the beach and want to read ‘Black Hat‘ we can; if we’re on the train and want to read ‘State of Emergency‘ we can.”

After Columbus freaks out from seeing the airplane overhead, he’ll probably be picking up his socks. You see, for the Kindle concept—the e-book—will have completely knocked them off.

The e-book, for all its faults, is the future. And I completely endorse it.

When I read Ha’s opening line, I’m pretty sure I blacked out. How in the hell can he so casually cast aside a technology that stands to revolutionize not only the way we read, but the way we learn? Like, it really is mind boggling.

Let’s take schools. I know that as I was making my way through high school, studies were coming out showing that kids’ backs were being destroyed by having to carry tens of pounds of books in a backpack. Some schools purchased two sets of books for students, one for home and one for in-class. But that’s expensive, especially after purchasing several editions of the same textbook after a few years. Why wouldn’t you, either as a student or a parent, want to see a little hunk of plastic with all of the required textbooks installed? For the schools themselves, when it comes time to update the books—I remember being in 11th grade American History class and still reading about the possible threat posed by the Soviet Union—all that’s required is a mere software update.

Yeah, that type of Communism will never take off. Who wants students to have access to information?

As for the “I like holding a book in my hand as I read it” quip—bologna. Again, Peter shows that his grasp of the issue goes from A to B. What difference does it make if I’m holding a couple hundred pages of paper or a hunk of plastic? I’m still holding one object, only now I have several books to choose from rather than just one. And to the “waaah, who needs to read more than one book at a time?” crowd. I do. What if I want to finish one book on the train and start reading the next one right after that? Or, something that we can all relate to, take your iPod and put only one song on it. Just one. I mean, if you subscribe to the “one and done” policy, then why the hell should anyone ever want more than one song on their person at all hours of the day?

Like it or not, e-books are the future. I simply cannot understand why some people cling to their paper books like they’re some sacrosanct instrument of American Virtue. “Real books won’t crash.” Yeah, smarty pants, then how come you put up with cellphones that crash and iPods that freeze? That’s exactly the opposite mentality I’d expect from someone even remotely tuned into technology. (I say remotely because not every revision of every cellphone ever is worth analyzing as a “game changer,” or some other empty phrase.) Why invent the cellphone when POTS phones work great? Who needs a CD player when you can, I don’t know, invite the Foo Fighters to your living room for a live rendition of “Everlong”? Who needs a sink with running water—I mean, I could just go, on horseback, to the Long Island Sound and grab some water when I need it.

I 100 percent, without any hesitation endorse e-books. Not the Kindle specifically, but it’s the closet device thus far to even come close to exploiting the potential of this technology.

Enjoy Thanksgiving. Have fun cooking your turkey over an open fire because, you know, the oven will never take off. It’s a stupid idea and never should be spoken of again.