NYR iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Bruce McCall

GET UPDATES FROM Bruce McCall
 

Bulletin from the Rechargable Electronic Reading Council

Posted: 11/13/09 08:26 AM ET

Conceived, Executed and Distributed Without Paper

  • An untreated paper cut is widely blamed for the early demise of the sixteenth-century French doggerelist, Rollo de Plantain, who had he lived might well have one day seen his work published. Deliverance came too late for de Plantain, but this irksome scourge of librarians, stationers and paper handlers of every stripe down through the ages has been virtually eliminated by electronic reading.
  • Did you know that even the finer bookstores swarm with germs, bacteria and viruses spread by thousands of browsers. Escapees from quarantine? Just arrived from plague-infested regions of the world? Who knows? -- pulling books from shelves and pawing random pages, exposing the hapless buyer to swine flu, ebola, sleeping sickness or other terrors - and that none of these hotbeds of disease have contagion-control experts on the premises? Meanwhile, your e-book, since nobody else gets their hands on it and you can't infect yourself, is a portable disease-free zone.
  • Cases of what experts call "Dementia Gutenbergia," a terminal irritability caused by readers' futile efforts to keep treacherously loose book jackets from slowly sliding off while they hold it in their hands, or when they try using the jacket's front or back end flap as a bookmark only to have it wriggle around and get all sideways, forcing them to manually maneuver it back in place -- although it never fits quite the same afterward -- are reported to be on the rise. Dustjackets in any case cannot protect against hammer blows or drops from tenth-floor balconies, whereas an e-book snugly fits in its own sturdy case.
  • Inadvertent spillage of food, tobacco juice, cocktails or bodily fluids can turn the pages of a printed book into a disgusting and permanent telltale record of human loathsomeness. With an e-book, you can deface the reading area to your heart's content and then simply wipe the viewing screen clean with a damp cloth.
  • A paper-based book cannot be recharged when it suddenly stops in the middle or the type gets faint. You have to throw it away and get a new one. Your e-book can return to fresh readability whenever it begins to "run down." All it needs is a short, sharp jolt of electricity.
  • Tiny insects called silverfish breed and flourish deep in the bindings of old rare books, feasting on dried glue and working around the clock to destroy another literary treasure -- while giving unsuspecting page-flippers the creeps. Man is helpless to eradicate these miniscule menaces, as old as book-binding itself. No e-book has ever been discovered to harbor any living species -- delivering a happier, healthier reading experience, guaranteed!

Look for more helpful alerts from your friends at the Rechargeable Electronic Reading Council.