Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The new book

We live in an age of accelerating technology. The videotape becomes the DVD and, just as you think it can go no further, it becomes a blu-ray, and then the object itself becomes irrelevant. The computer became the laptop became the phone and now is becoming the watch. Or so they tell me. I have already moved on and am typing this blog post on my pinkie ring. It's exacting, but ever so portable!

The book is no exception to all this. But because most devout readers tend to be cozy traditionalists, surrounding themselves with cats and dusty volumes, they thought the horrifying innovation of the E-reader was all they would be forced to deal with. It they could survive or adapt to that, they could relax.

It doesn't work like that.

Innovators like myself are tirelessly at work on new advancements in the field of books too. Sure we do it because we hope to get rich and retire to Rome, but there is a practical benefit as well. No, not the miniscule benefits sold to you by marketing departments, like being able to carry 20 books with you on vacation in one slender device. The benefit I am talking about has to do with the survival of publishing itself! Every day there are fewer and fewer people willing to buy books. It is only by making new versions of books that we can keep the publishing industry, and indeed writers, solvent and in business. If the number of people willing to buy a book drops from 300 to 100, the only reasonable thing to do is to sell those 100 people three copies of the same book, say a print version, a digital version, and audio version. The truth is that most of our exciting new technology layers on top of rather than replaces.

So now you are probably thinking "Wow, I would really like to buy whatever new version of the book you are working on. What is it?"

The idea came to me when I bought a new shirt.

This shirt is considered a tagless shirt. I am very much in favor of this innovation in textiles and I only buy shirts, if I can at all help it, that have no irritating tag stuck on the back inside collar. My up to the minute contemporary shirt has all its important information written, so to speak, or printed, just under the back, inside collar. You have seen these. You probably own one. But, like all modern new ideas, the tagless shirt I have has not entirely displaced the tag. There are now three huge tags sewn into the inside seam of my shirt, just at about my hip level.

Despite their size, they are made of some soft, synthetic material, and they don't bug me at all. Nevertheless they are pointless, full of useless information in multiple languages. But it doesn't have to be like this. And it won't be.

Introducing the Readable Shirt. Short stories, poems, chapters of novels, they will all be there, right in the clothes you wear, ready for you to read at any moment. Soft pages of interesting, readable text will be sewn hidden on the inside seam of your shirt. I'm not sure we couldn't eventually print whole novels on these unobtrusive tags. The wearable book will change our lives! You need never be without a book again, I mean, unless you're a nudist or something.

So wear a shirt, have a book. It's the only book you'll ever need! 

Though you'll probably want to keep an E-reader with you anyway, and a newspaper, and your phone, and maybe a laptop. It would probably be wise to keep a couple paperbacks with you in a convenient bag as well, just in case.


  1. Dude, I know you've struggled long and hard to shed that Californian stigma you were born with but I'm afraid it is time for me to serve you up a big crunchy bowl of granola. Shirts are made of cotton, which takes a tremendous amount of water and stuff to grow. Books are made from sentient trees. Reading them is like fondling ground up hamburger. Let it all go, man! Let us all live without the suffering!

    1. Trees are sentient?

      I knew that elm was looking at me funny this morning!

      Are you, Anonymous, by any chance a tree?

      Well, so, either way, you've convinced me. Any suggestions for toilet paper then?

      About the water though, we've got tons of it here. Should I send you some?

      Anyway, must go have a chat with that elm.


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