Panic swept through Hollywood today as producers and studio executives, already embattled by the writer's strike, learned of an ancient tool recently unearthed by a team of international scientists. Placed in the hands of ordinary Americans, this primitive technology threatens to completely destabilize the multi-billion dollar entertainment industry.
"It's called a 'book' and it's pronounced like 'cook,"' said one worried Hollywood insider. "This really couldn't come at a worse time for us. With the strike going on, and nothing but reruns or crappy reality shows hitting the airwaves, there's a good chance your average Joe might look elsewhere. And if he gets his hands on one of these so called 'books,' well, we're totally screwed."
Books are ancient devices for storing information. They come commercial free, use no electricity, need no time to download, and are entirely portable. They are available in premium "hardback" editions and more affordable "soft cover" editions. They can also contain loads of sex and violence without any kind of rating system whatsoever.
As the researchers pointed out, "books" have been around for some time, though barely noticed. One unnamed producer, reached in his Malibu home, said he was shocked at how much popular Hollywood material originally came from books, including Harry Potter, American Psycho, and Jesus.
Another fear is how much damage a single volume can do. "They showed me one 'book' by a guy named Thomas Pynchon, it was a monster. You could miss hours of prime time viewing by curling up with that thing. I don't know what our advertisers think, but frankly I'm scared." said a senior network executive, reached at his Martha's Vineyard home.
Research also showed that writers are actually paid real money when their work is sold as a book, as opposed to what happens when a writer's work is sold on the internet. "This new 'book' paradigm turns the studios' whole economic model completely upside down." said one analyst.
Producers reacted by encouraging studios to settle quickly with the writer's union before the holiday shopping season gets underway. "I can see this spreading like a fevered virus. If too many people wake up to find these 'books' under the tree Christmas morning, then it's game over, man," said one senior Fox VP, reached at his Aspen home. Then he added a reassuring thought, "Luckily, America's schools don't really emphasize reading."
Read more about the strike on the Huffington Post's writers' strike page.