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Hard to Download A Good ebook

It is a slight phenomenon that people whose homes you visit always have the exact number of books to fill their bookcases. You would think that they might start with their first book, something like a ‘Peter and Jane’ (presumably edition 1a, the first in the series in which Peter is entreated by Jane to jump (paraphrasing Jane: ‘Jump, Peter, jump’; Peter cajoling Jane to reciprocate in kind with ‘Jump, Jane, jump.’), a single volume lost in the vast shelf space of a bookcase, when a book collection has ventured no further than a book acquisition.

In the Nazi era, book etiquette was primarily: bung them in a big pile and burn them. Nazi book clubs were attended not so much by literary types but people with poor circulation thankful for the warmth generated. Fascist book club members were less inclined to suggest next meeting, ‘I’ll bring along a good book’; more likely, ‘I’ll bring the marshmallows.’

If the Nazis had been around today with their same attitude to books, we would have a very different situation. Instead they would be looking to purge ebooks, dragging and dropping them into a folder; menacingly, with intent, highlighting the collection using Control A (or Apple A if they’re using a Mac) – the equivalent of dousing books with petrol – a finger dithering significantly over the Delete or Backspace key; before then confining them to history (or at least temporarily to the Clipboard if they hit Control X). Not such a grand gesture as the torching of towering literary pyres, but an event all the same that would come to be commemorated no less terribly as: ‘Dropunddragnacht’.

In the not too distant future, we will be able to download our whole book collection onto a memory stick.

‘Mummy! I can’t get my coat on the coat hook,’ we will hear commonly from children unable to attach their jackets by their hanging loops.

The mother will be drawn to attend to a problem she suspects with the coat rack only to find the source of the child’s grief – two coat pegs freshly nailed side by side upon the wall.

‘No wonder. That’s not a coat rack, love. That’s daddy’s new ebookshelf.’

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