In 1984 an emboldened Dr. Egon Spengler proudly declared print was dead. The movie, of course, was Ghostbusters and I was thirteen. I loved every second of that movie and went on to watch it a couple more times in the theater. Times being what they were, I didn’t see it again until it aired on TV many years later.
Still loved it.
For the most part, Spengler was the man. Stantz and Venkmen got all the credit, but it Spengler who did the real work. He and Zeddmore were the unsung heroes of the movie. Remember that, and then forget you ever heard it.
Still, it was a bit premature for Spengler to declare print dead. After all, computers at the time were clunky, cantankerous beasts. I know, I started programming them right around the time Ghostbusters came out. It was all one cryptic command after another and I soaked them up, which may explain why I’m kind of hard to communicate with. Even now, with the rise of ebooks and readers, it’s difficult to declare print well and truly dead. As I pointed out in a previous blog entry, the print on demand services have finally realized Gutenberg’s goal of easy and cheap printing. Throw some data in one end and pop! out comes a book from the other.
Books have some advantages that tablets and eReaders lack, too. Sure, sure; you can put like, a gagillion books on an eReader and they’re easy to read, easy to find, and easy to buy. But take this scenario into account:
There you are, lying in bed, reading the latest Bigfoot Erotica or staring at pictures of bunnies with pancakes on their heads and you notice something small and black crawling on your bed mate. Whatever it is, it has far too many legs and its beady little eyes are shining in the soft light. This being the Southwest, you immediately recognize the hateful gaze of the wily(1) – and deadly(2) – Black Widow Spider, the scourge of the Southwestern United States(3).
Whoops. Wrong one. This is the beast:
Keep your wits about you, lest the foul beast suck the very soul from your bed mate!(4) Look around and find what you have at hand: a pillow, your trusty Nexus 7 tablet, and your fists.
The pillow won’t cut it; it’s far too fluffy to take out the beast with many legs. Your fists won’t work because the demon will sink its fangs into your hand and the last thing you’ll notice before you die is a sudden craving for human brains!(5). This leaves your Nexus 7 tablet. There are two problems with smacking a black widow with your tablet: You may kill the beast, but you’ll hurt your bed mate because tablets have sharp edges. The other problem is you’ll likely break your tablet that’s loaded with Bigfoot Erotica and then where will you be? SOL, that’s where.
Don’t fret, though! I’ve totally got your back here. With a little help from my buds at Amazon, I’ve cut a deal whereby you can buy physical copies of Henchmen or Arise and get their digital versions absolutely free! That’s right! FREE! These are friend prices, you understand.
So, next time you find one of the blasphemous little devils crawling on your bed mate, reach for a copy of either book and send that eight-legged demon back to Hell. Each book is printed with special ink on the covers that will allow you – yes, you! – to smack the living snot out Black Widow spiders and just wipe their hated remains off with a tissue.
BAM! No fuss, no muss. That’s how much I care for you.(6)
How many other books do you know of that double as stories hailed as “the greatest ever told”(7) and spider killers? None that I’m aware of.(8)
What are you waiting for? It’s time to LIVE!
Would you like to know what else you can do with a print book that you can’t do with an eBook? Look awesome. Unless you’re reading Bigfoot erotica, there’s no better way to meet new friends than by reading an awesome book in public. Especially if it’s one no one’s ever heard of, like one of mine. So, buy several copies, go forth, and look awesome!
So, sorry Dr. Spengler. It would appear print is very much alive and well.
(1) They’re not really terribly wily. Black Widows are actually pretty shy critters
(2) Sometimes, not often. Most bites are dry bites.
(3) I think Taco Bell is actually the scourge of the Southwest, but that’s just my opinion
(4) Black widows don’t actually steal souls. They have been known to borrow them, though.
(5) The link between Black Widows and Chronic Zombieitis is tenuous at best
(6) And dislike Black Widows.
(7) I said that, but you can totally trust my unbiased opinion
(8) Try it with War and Peace or The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich; you’ll break your bed mate’s bones.