The Urgency Of eBooks

While reading The Secret History of the American Empire: Economic Hit Men, Jackals, and the Truth About Global Corruption by John Perkins, I came across a bit of text that skinned my eyes and which raised ebooks to a level of importance I had never before considered:

After chatting for a while, Jaime [Dr. Jaime Galarza Zavala, intellectual and book author] told me that Confessions [Confessions of an Economic Hit Man] had made a lot of waves in Ecuador and that it was practically impossible to purchase it there. “As soon as it arrives in bookstores, someone buys up all the copies.” He smiled wryly. “This also happened to some of my books […].” — pages 153-154

There is a sequence in the classic movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington that illustrates the kind of suppression those in power can wield:

While Smith talks, his constituents try to rally around him, but the entrenched opposition is too powerful and all attempts are crushed. On Taylor’s orders, newspapers and radio stations in Smith’s home state refuse to report what Smith has to say, and even twist the facts against him. Even an effort by the Boy Rangers to spread the news results in vicious attacks on the children by Taylor’s minions.

And from a transcript:

This dissolves to the JACKSON CITY PRESS OFFICE, with MCGANN at a desk, surrounded by a few other men.

MCGANN
(talking excitedly into the phone)
We’re burnin’ ’em up, Jim! Got every paper in the state tied up except the Clarkville Courier up near Sweetwater.

In TAYLOR’S HOTEL SUITE in Washington:

TAYLOR
Well, buy it–or *wreck* it!

Print transforms information into a limited physical commodity. Information when made tangible can disappear. A print run can be bought up and shredded. There is no power in the world that can buy up every copy of an ebook.

e can be infinite. For good or for evil. But it can’t be stopped.

And that is why ebooks are more important than ever.

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