My friends, we stand on the brink of change. But not the kind of change that's being bandied about in Op-Ed pages or in the few pieces left jingling in people's pockets. No, alas, not that kind of change at all. Evil change. A change that will try to devour us without our even knowing it. A change for the worse.
I'm speaking, of course, about the Kindle 2, Amazon's second-generation e-book reader that has the tech pages aflutter with pictures of flat, eggshell-white blandness that promises to change the world. Even Oprah's on board. You download your e-books from the Kindle store, just like you download your music from the iTunes store, and off you go, reading Dorian Gray one minute and switching to the New York Times headlines the next.
I say no. I say NO. Leave our books alone, Amazon. Up until now I've respected you as a company, what with your free shipping on orders over $25 and your generous offer to let me buy both The Dark Knight and espresso beans at two in the morning. But enough is enough. You may not take my books from me.
I know what you're thinking. Hey, it's just a niche market. It's only for people who want the convenience of reading the newest novel or newspapers without having to carry around a bunch of different books or having to store all those books, useless once read, in dark, imposing bookshelves in the back room of your tastefully decorated home.
It may be that way now, Amazon, but with Sony's e-book reader gearing up to offer some stiff competition and other companies waiting in the wings, I see which way the tide is turning. But it's not too late to turn back now.
You must sell thousands and thousands of books every day. Don't you feel even a little loss when you're forced to send off one of those books, packing them lovingly in those smiling boxes? Wouldn't you rather just keep them, to show off to your friends and neighbors? I would, Amazon, and I think you would, too.
And I can guarantee you, Amazon, that no matter how bad things get--NO MATTER--I will NOT be showing my friends and neighbors my list of e-books that I've downloaded on my damn Kindle.
You know why, Amazon? Because I would rather the seething ghost of James Joyce come back from his rotting grave and tear off my flesh with his ethereal fingernails than succumb to the shame of having digital books. I would rather Jane Austen's zombified corpse slice open my head with a steak knife and feast upon my still-living brains. I would rather Mark Twain load a six shooter with the agonies of the entire world and shoot it directly into my heart...
Well, you get the idea.