Thursday, August 19, 2010

A Protest Against the Commercialization of Ebooks

Acolorful advertisement at the top of the New York Times (online) today asks us to click to read "The First Shoppable Children's Storybook."

I hope it is also the last.

In an ebook, the marriage of videos and commerce creates a monstrous mutation, not a genuine reading experience that should bring delight and wisdom. Books are one of the last refuges in our world from the constant cry by advertisers to spend money and fill our lives with unnecessary things.

I am not against videos in ebooks (although they should not be called "books"); I am not against commerce, done with balance and integrity. But these two things together, inside a book for kids -- takes us backward into a world obsessed by consumerism and overconsumption, an approach to life that has been the cause of so many of our present troubles and crises.

You can read the ebook online, and then judge for yourself:

Technology can be used to enhance our lives, or to diminish them — here is an example of an ebook that I could happily do without.

— Michael Pastore, author
50 Benefits of Ebooks