‘e-reader?! I hardly even know her!’

So how do y’all feel about e-readers? Nooks, Kindles, call-them-what-you-wills?

What? Shy crowd? Don’t want to say? All right. I’ll go first. That’s cool, I’ll toss the first stone.

I hate them.
No, I fucking hate them.
Mmm, maybe that’s wrong, maybe ‘hate’ is too strong a word to be applied to such a sleek little piece of technology–it’s more that I think they’re evil. Deep, dark, uber-evil, the kind of evil that comes about only once in a century, like if you could bend the laws of physics and biology as we know them and get Joseph Stalin and Jeffrey Dahmer to procreate and an e-reader would be the result of that unholy union type of evil.

Now, before any of my gentle readers start getting the hairs on the backs of their necks in a rise, rest assured: I hate the e-reader. Not the e-reader user. I used to feel an abject pity whenever I saw otherwise perfectly normal looking people using e-readers, but then the Venn-diagram circle labeled ‘e-reader user’ and the Venn diagram circle labeled ‘people I love’ started to overlap more or less completely, until I’ve been forced to redress my views.

But damn do I hate those stupid little readers.

I know what you’re thinking.

You need to stop being such a goddamn technophobe! Hey man, love the message, not the vessel–e-readers are helping bring more information to people faster and cheaper than ever before! You know all those people who always said they would love to read Moby Dick, they would love nothing more than to read Moby Dick, but such a whale of a book, and their purses are already filled chock with their fat-free joghurt and their sun-screen and their puny t-rex arms simply can’t handle holding a book of that magnitude in front of their face for so long, but now with the e-reader, Moby Dick, War and Peace–Infinite Jest! These 1000 page plus old and modern classics are now easily accessible on the morning commute, the beach towel or the exercise machine! If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, books and library fees are so expensive, that’s why I don’t read, well now, literature has never been easier or cheaper to access! You can buy the complete works of Balzac, all 3 million of them, for a fraction of what it would cost to buy each book.

And I say, I don’t care. That’s exactly what I hate about it, this convenience for convenience’s sake. Reading huge works of literature shouldn’t BE easy. It is a multi-sensory experience–you suffer toting that book around as your mind suffers–You gather the books year after year like a water-shrew honing in on its prey–you reach redemption on several levels that have now been reduced to a flat, one dimensional reading/buying experience, so impersonal, so convenient, so sterile. So ugh.

Even if that was true, well, think about the trees!

Pardon my French, but fuck the trees. Fuck them long and fuck them hard and don’t call them back the next morning either. Listen, I like trees as much as any other city dweller, but e-readers are strangling the book industry as we know it and I will never forgive them for that, trees or no. Never. Ever. ever.

But that’s progress. Industries rise and industries fall.

Progress can kiss my ass.

Why are you fighting it? This kind of streamlining is happening all over the entertainment industry–not just with books, but look at movies. Music! What about the glorious age of Vinyl, now gone forever?

I never owned a record.

But you surely remember CDs and the horrible sweet-sour ordeal that was Making a Mixed Tape.. Hey…do you own an mp3 player now?

::gets shifty eyed:: Maybe I do and maybe I don’t. Kind of a red herring, isn’t it, old friend?

Oho, so it’s all fine to go after the e-reader for being instant gratification and cheap and bullshit, but what about mp3 players and the music industry? Can’t you remember those days not so far behind when you would wait patiently for your favorite artist to release their newest CD, after you had agonizingly collected all of the few singles they were ready to release on the radio onto mixed tapes? Do you recall the anticipation of removing the shrink wrap from the case–how it clung to your fingers, so annoying back then, so charming now in memory–the loving inspectigation of the cover art, the examination of the lyrics sheet as you lay against the shag carpet burrowing into your back while the songs burrowed into your mind, one, two, three listens to soak in the whole album, well, what about that? Now you can have 1000 albums at your fingertips; you can have any version of any song at any moment–and what about the due that goes to the artist? Oh sure, that’s different, because the record industry is all cutthroat assholes and Lady Gaga needs another champagne filled swimming pool like she needs a second butthole, but what about all the middle and smallclass singers and stars who really did hurt after people decided they couldn’t be bothered to buy the CDs they loved, let alone only liked, and everyone started pulling their music off of Napster, and Grooveshark, and secret torrents, and some people, some people who I won’t point to, oh what the hell, here I go a-pointing, some people have been listening to music almost exclusively off of You Tube for the last two years?!

What about that?! Huh? What about that?

Hey, hey! I never said I wasn’t a hypocrite, I just fucking hate the e-reader, okay…?


11 responses to “‘e-reader?! I hardly even know her!’

  1. Someone get grandma’s medication, she’s having an episode again…

  2. I would love to see you get worked up and have a reading night with you reading that blog. Gave me a smile. I don’t want to fuck a tree because thats gotta hurt but totally not a fan of the e reader. I need the real thing. x

    • =) Hey Michael!
      I don’t want to fuck a tree either….it is NOT on my top of things to do, but I will if tree-sex is what it takes to stop this endemic. O_O Sadly, I’m pretty sure that even if I fornicated with every tree in North America and possibly Europe, I would only achieve a lurid court case and the e-reader would still be at large….

  3. I’m with you on the e-reader! Evil. Over priced too. Also I dislike the way the ipad ‘loans’ out a book. Apparently it removes it from your library when you ‘share’ with a friend and then he gets it for 2 weeks. So even though its a frikkin electronic book everyone gets to pretend its just like real life and you both cant read the same book at the same time. which is idiotic! Either move forward with technology and embrace it or just fucking read a regular paperback.

  4. Well here’s 3 things I REALLY hate about ebooks, and this is coming from a librarian:
    -so far, ebook publishers are refusing to share books with libraries. Guess what’s going to happen to public libraries if they can’t purchase new books?
    -reading an ebook allows what you read to be monitored. And I’m not just talking what titles you read…imagine being monitored for what sections, sentences, words you read…or having a book that can report back on you?
    -ebooks are hard to share. If I love a paper book, I can lend it to you my friend. Not so an ebook. Ebooks may shift what is public domain to become privately owned. How many licensing agreements do you read/understand? The rules of who has access, what you have to pay, and what you can use for free are now monitored by licensing agreements rather than laws.
    -aesthetically, they suck. I hate how they frame a story in plastic.

  5. Dear Cathy–
    As if I needed more reasons to hate the little demons :D But in all seriousness, you bring up some salient points that I hadn’t even considered–can the ebook be used as a mode of censorship or to monitor what people read?
    [And how can libraries provide access to books that are only published in a digital format?]

  6. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304870304577490950051438304.html?mod=googlenews_wsj
    I had to send you this, ereaders are even creepier than I thought! Not only can they monitor what you read, it will allow publishers to figure out what the majority likes to read…so down to the sentence, this could reshape what kinds of books we’re allowed to create! I mean, how many publishers will let us write a book only ‘a few’ will read as opposed to ‘the majority?’

    • Oh wow, thank you for sharing that. I just got around to reading it and it IS frightening. Of course, I understand the market appeal–how do we get readers to go from word two to work three, page 300 to page 301? In these risky times, it’s easy to release a portion of a book on a reader first and test the waters before you invest further and publishers want to know: What turns readers off and what keeps them devouring and moving rabidly to the author’s next work?
      Then again, look at a book like the one I am reading right now… ‘Infinite Jest’. It is roughly 1,000 pages long–it is on the Goodreads list of books most started, but never finished. It has been an extremely frustrating read at times and yes, I have wanted to put down over and over–but I also pick up over and over. Halfway through and I wouldn’t have wanted the author to remove a single page.
      Does a book ‘fail’ because a certain, even high, percentage of readers put it down after a certain point?
      My fear is that devices like these will affect too much what an author is trying to communicate. I believe in an author considering the reader when writing a book, but this goes far and above that consideration.
      Thanks again for showing me this =)

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