Reading the title of an article’s “Ebooks don’t spell the end of literature,” a lightbulb lighted up in my head — a new title of a new article came to life “When Electricity Isn’t So Accessible, Literature Thrives On With Books Made Of Papers.” OK, it does sound like I’m a hater of ebooks and ereaders, but I’m not. I actually own an iPad 2, Kindle, and an iPhone 4 — each of these devices can allow me to read ebooks. Unfortunately, only Kindle can allow me to read ebooks more frequently and without worrying of the situation where battery goes dead. It’s all because Kindle uses E-ink technology which can conserve battery power better than the full colored back lid screens of iPad 2 and iPhone 4.
With that many ebook enabled devices, I think I’ve established myself as a person who does have the ability to read ebooks whenever he wants, and often I find myself adding more ebooks into my already large collection of ebooks through the means of buying ebooks from Amazon and borrowing ebooks from local libraries’ digital collections. The point that I’m trying to make is that electronic devices such as ereaders can become useless when electricity becomes inaccessible. It’s a simple point, but it’s often overlooked by onlookers who do not know the tormented feeling of the ones who have to face such condition. Sure, it’s not like a life threatening situation, but it’s the truth. Just like how Marta Hillers had described electronic devices as useless and people became cave dwellers in her book “A Woman in Berlin.” It was her recognition of when electricity became scarce, electronic devices could be only empty shells of anything but useful.
OK, it does sound as if my argument is rather weak, because it sounds as if we need to have a World War II again and to have people experience the lack of electricity as how Marta Hillers had so we can realize the merit of not totally relying on ereaders; I disagree! How do we know electricity will always be abundant? I don’t think even the future that we’re imagining of when there will be free electricity in abundant amount (i.e., always available) through the usages of futuristic solar and wind technologies — guaranteeing there won’t be a day that people might become cave dwellers again — can last forever. Who can guarantee that there will never be a breakdown in society to a point that humans become cave dwellers?
Whenever I read something that put ereaders and ebooks above traditional books (i.e., books made from trees), I have to say let not be so optimistic about such aspect. I rather encourage people to believe in having both for a long time to come as a better approach to ensure books don’t go the way of book burnings in ancient times. And yet, books should go the way of the dead sea scrolls. Having both you ask? Sure, having both means let print more traditional books and release more ebooks (in effect sell more ereaders), and to larger effect let people have more choices of choosing their reading medium. What not to do is to promote ebooks and ereaders only society and abandon the traditional book society (i.e., books made from trees).
Lastly, I like to think that censoring ebooks (i.e., digital forms) is way easier than traditional books (i.e., books made from trees). How? It takes few entities and few keystrokes on keyboards to eliminate huge databases of ebooks and the data themselves. What cool about books made from trees is that you have to burn them physically which speaks more to why it’s bad to burn books. You can say the Hollywood effect of having real books on fire might connect to scholars more than not, in negative way of course.
Afterthought: I do like ebooks as more trees can be saved by not printing books made of papers, but we humans can always print books made of papers ethically. That is, we do not really have to destroy a whole forest for printing traditional books (i.e., books made from trees), because we do have a choice of printing less of the same books in term of copies; we know that a single ebook can be easily download and copy in digital forms without worrying about destroying a forest.