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The eBook Revolution Isn’t Happening Quickly Enough

I do not own a Kindle. Or an iPad. Or a Nook. Or a Fisher Price Readsalot. This annoys me, because while there are some people out there who profess to love good old dead tree books (such as actor Tom Hanks), I am not as romantically attached. Maybe you think there's something to be said for the tactile experience of real books: turning the pages, holding the book in your hand, seeing the cover, etc. I find all of that crap to be fairly useless.Maybe you think there's something to be said for the tactile experience of real books: turning the pages, holding the book in your hand, seeing the cover, etc. I find all of that crap to be fairly useless. The eBook revolution isn't happening anywhere near quickly enough for me.

Books are cumbersome. Holding them up in bed can be a real pain in the ass. You can strain your wrist turning page after page. Books can get wet. They can get warped in the humidity. Book jackets are floppy and annoying. But worst of all, books are HEAVY. Ever move a box of books? It's horrible. Especially if you don't know the box has books in it and then you go to pick it up and GAHHHHHH SEARING LOWER BACK PAIN.

There's much to be improved about the whole book experience, and I'm sure eReaders solve many of those problems. We need to speed up the transition away from dead tree books. I have a kid going to kindergarten for the first time and her backpack is twice her size, all to accommodate what I presume will be a 700-pound load of textbooks that her elementary school will drop on her over the next five years. Textbooks should be extinct by now. They're awful. No one will miss them except the filthy rich econ professors who write them and charge college kids $150 to be bored by them. Every student in America should be transitioned over to eReaders immediately, so that they don't grow up to be annoying hipsters who defiantly lug around paper copies of Tolstoy books just because "the words mean so much more in print" or whatever.

Which brings me to one more thing: I don't have an eReader because I'm a cheap bastard. Which is why all eReaders should be subsidized by the US government. You buy one, you get a tax rebate for its amount. Then everyone gets one and starts reading more and no one's wrists hurt and health care costs go down because hospitals aren't overrun with people killed by falling Dostoyevsky novels. Let's speed up the digitization of books, America. If we can kill newspapers, we can do anything.

Oh, and buy my book. Thanks to Powell's for having me all week.

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Drew Magary has written for Maxim, Rolling Stone, Comedy Central, New York magazine, GQ, ESPN, and many other media outlets. The Postmortal is his first novel. You can follow Drew via Twitter @drewmagary.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. The Postmortal
    Used Trade Paper $7.50

Drew Magary is the author of The Postmortal

2 Responses to "The eBook Revolution Isn’t Happening Quickly Enough"

    Nita September 3rd, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly that textbooks should be completely digitized...they are an absolute waste of resources.

    However, I think you underestimate the value of the human relationship with physical books. I have worked as a used book buyer for 6 years and when people sell their books I often see them reliving the reading experience as they sort through the books. They form associations with the physical objects that recall memories and emotions. I can't imagine that gazing at the cold face of an e-reader will ever bring about a response of this sort. There are other small pleasures associated with the reading of paper books: reading without worry on the beach or in the bathtub; tucking small treasures (leaves, greeting cards, photographs, money) between the pages to be discovered later; finding someone else's treasures or gift inscriptions in used books and wondering about their reading experience and life.

    Perhaps it is sentimental, but I do not want to lose the unique experience that comes with reading a paper book.

    Nita September 5th, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Wow...I really shouldn't read things out of context! Without having read your prior entries this one was pretty alarming. Turns out you were just being funny. I get it!

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