[Marxism] Marxism Digest, Vol 127, Issue 38

William S. Solomon bsol007 at gmail.com
Wed May 21 07:39:11 MDT 2014

Dear Editor:

With regard to the "advantages of e-books" entry:

Having worked for several newspapers and spent many hours staring at a computer screen as deadline nears, I have had my fill of reading on a screen: A printed page is far easier on the eye. Moreover, remote storage means that governments and the corporate sector can monitor which books a person owns, which book a person is reading at any given moment – and even when she turns a page. Also, recently a traveller to Singapore reported that, while there, she had been unable to get any access to her e-books – apparently there are financial or copyright issues within that government's jurisdiction. Further, as generations of technology march on, a current e-book reader will have to be replaced periodically, securely placing the owner within that endless capitalist process of planned obsolescence.
It simply is not true that "democracy" grew enormously after the invention of the printing press: Such a technological determinist view is soundly thrashed by Michael Warner's book, 'The Letters of the Republic.'
An e-book does not allow for placing one book with marginalia beside several others, and comparing back and forth while consulting a dictionary to translate a phrase. I suspect that there are more than "a few" people who dislike and/or distrust e-books. 
To me, to say that one loves e-books is to say that one loves being a slave of the corporate sector and the national security state. No, thank you.

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