To call it a revolution might be underselling it. The ability to transmit works of fiction and non-fiction through the aether is likely more revolutionary than Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press. These are books that do not require ink and paper. Books that do not have weight. Books that we turn off instead of close. We’re only beginning to understand how these inventions will affect publishing and reading habits and literacy the world over.
E-reader prices are dropping and fast becoming affordable, even for modest wage earners. And for the first time, major book dealers are reporting they are selling more electronic books than paper books. It seems that readers are willing to make the digital leap. Well, that is, almost all the readers. Every revolution leaves a few people behind.
Most prisons do not allow inmates to own or use e-readers. Perhaps, one day, this will change. Maybe wardens will see the value in e-readers. But for now, prisoners are forced to consume the old, weighty, clunky, dog-eared tomes. You know the ones sitting on your shelf right now, under an inch of dust that you haven’t read in a decade? If you have an e-book reader, you should seriously consider donating some of your old analog book collection to people in need. And yes, prisoners are people with needs. Counties, states, and the federal government do not prioritize getting books behind bars. So, it’s up to us.
The e-book revolution is here. Now make sure everyone gets to benefit from it.