So, last week was banned books week (Sept 24) and after doing the reading, I had a really nifty discussion about the intersection of banning literature and e-books with my mom at dinner tonight. My mom LOVES her kindle. The woman with 1500 linear feet of book storage space in her home has forsaken buying books because *gasp* e-books have taken over. But that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that, in 2012, books are still being banned, and the (mostly parents) who push this issue are *totally* missing something. You no longer need a physical book to be able to read the text. Thanks to e-books and e-reader apps available on just about every device ever (phones, computers, tablets that aren’t exclusively e-readers) a book being forced out of schools a)means kids are likely to want to read the book (at least more than when someone is telling them they have to read it) and b) that all a kid has to do is find the text online, and largely, if you know the right boolean search techniques you can get your hands on a full text within about a minute.
Example: I have the entire Song of Ice and Fire series (to date) in e-format, despite the fact that I own books 1-4 in mass market paperback because that one random day when I finished Game of Thrones and desperately wanted to start Clash of Kings. Yes, this might make me a slight dweeb. Oh well.
The point of this is that in a day of hybrid print-and-electronic media, banning books is useless. People will still get their hands on the stuff they want to read, and after all, it’s *just* words. Having access to words about homosexuality won’t make you gay. Having access to words about drugs won’t make you a substance abuser. Words are created on a computer–now thats the primary dissemination point too.
And I must say it rocks.