An American Editor

August 17, 2011

Will There Be eBooks in the Afterlife?

Filed under: A Humor Interlude — Rich Adin @ 4:00 am
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Every once in a while we need to exercise our minds and imagine what our future will be like. We all know that at some point we need to say goodbye to our current existence and move on. I don’t know whether or not there is an afterlife, but for the sake of this article, I’m willing to assume that there is one.

I know that for me it will be a miserable afterlife if I haven’t got a La-Z-Boy rocking-recliner (I need a comfortable place to both read and to take naps) and a never-ending library of books to read. So the question isn’t so much will there be a library of books — I’m sure that in my afterlife I’ll have the basics for an eternal good time, including no politicians — but will there be a comfortable chair and ebooks?

I’m pondering this because with the passing of each day, I am increasingly disinclined to pick up a pbook to read. Just about everything to do with pleasure reading is a better experience on my Sony 950 Reader than it is picking up a print book. Well, except, of course, for that book smell that one gets from a pbook (and I can easily do without the musty smell that often accompanies a pbook that has started to succumb to mold and mildew!) but which has yet to be duplicated by an ebook.

I realized how much ebooks are taking over my reading life when my wife asked me about going to our local Barnes & Noble. We used to go at least once a week and we would each buy several pbooks. When she asked about going, I realized that we hadn’t been to the B&N in several months. I also realized that we both are reading more than ever, and that what we are reading are indie ebooks. As I have mentioned in prior articles, I have “purchased” several hundred indie ebooks in recent months, but not one Agency 6 ebook or pbook.

I also realized that next to the bed is the biography of Otto von Bismarck (Bismarck: A Life by Jonathan Steinberg) I anxiously awaited the publication of, perhaps the last pbook I bought. My reading habits used to be that before retiring for the night, I would do my reading on my Sony 950; after retiring, I would read a hardcover until it was time to slumber. But for quite some time the hardcover reading happens only in my thoughts and plans, not in my actions.

Consequently, it is important to my afterlife well-being to know that my love affair with ebooks will be permitted to continue. I would be devastated if I had to return to hardcover reading. The advantages to ebooks are numerous and well known to most readers, thus not necessary to repeat here. I will point out, however, that with my Sony 950 it is very easy to annotate an ebook — I don’t have to worry about smearing ink or forgetting which passage I annotated or struggling to get the annotation to fit in the margin; it is easy to check a word in the dictionary — just double-tap the word and up pops the dictionary definition, no need to put one book down and pickup another and then search for the word; and as my eyes age, it is easy to enlarge the font size — I’m no longer stuck with tiny print and a magnifying glass.

So I wonder: Will I be able to continue living this reading life of luxury in the afterlife, or will I be cruelly punished for my sins and be made to read pbooks sitting on a hardback chair? I find it interesting that religions promise me all kinds of afterlife benefits, but not one boasts about a rocking-recliner and ebooks. Do they know something I need to know?

For the time being, I guess I’ll just continue to enjoy my earthly reading pleasures but I’ll also hedge my bet and start visiting Barnes & Noble again and spending some time with pbooks. Best to cover all the bases.


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