Here come the e-readers, a boon to travelers and speed readers, and, we’re told, a saver of trees. And, in their wake, here come the prophets predicting doom to the paper book, and along with it the death of copyright and all sorts of unknown effects.
But not so fast. Don’t burn the books yet. I’m not pleading the venerable history, the beauty of design, or the tactility of the page. Here are three practical reasons not to ditch the paper:
1.Solar storms. A big one could fry transformers, as solar storms have in the past, and affect satellites and towers in such a massive way that communications could be down for months, with much disruption of all sorts. Including, possibly, the wipeout of all online libraries and downloads. Don’t let anyone embed a chip into your head, either, no matter how much memory they promise to add!
2.Energy shortages. Remember Peak Oil? We know that green energy is galloping to the rescue, but is nowhere near meeting the need. We know that internet servers are themselves gobbling up huge amounts of energy. Will server relocation on Iceland meet future needs? Guess we’ll see… If not, down goes the Net. Not to mention your ability to re-charge the batteries of your e-reader.
3.Overloaded internet. The thing is stuffed to capacity already, with more information piling into it every day. Unless billions are spent on infrastructure, brownouts—we’re told – are very likely. And then, how now, brown cash cow?
If you’ve saved up some paper books, you can read them by candlelight, and then toast marshmallows on them if you don’t like them. As you huddle around the embers of your carefully-guarded fire, with no television, no computer, and no phone, you’ll be glad you kept a few. Anyway, they make good insulation.