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View Full Version : We are in a golden era of literacy.



Bartholomew
01-04-2012, 02:42 AM
More books are being printed in our era than ever; more people with ideas worth expressing are able to express them. On top of this, the internet has made it easier to access and share writing than ever before. Literacy rates for the last two or three decades are significantly higher than in eras prior, and even language barriers are crumbling; if a text exists in a language you can't read, and you want to read it, the internet is bubbling over with programs, videos, and books that exist expressly to make people multilingual.

There are so many books worth my time that my reading list has become a part of my bucket list; barring a breakthrough in medical science, I will die before I have read every book that has been suggested to me. And even if I only manage to read half of them, I'll have tasted the viewpoints of more than 10,000 individuals.

The total number of books in the world towers somewhere over the 100,000,000 (100 million!) mark, and if you can read this post, you realistically have access to most of them. You will never be without something to read.

Be happy, and may the new year blow your mind.

The Lonely One
01-04-2012, 02:57 AM
Glad to have a positive spin on contemporary writing for once.

Last I heard we were destroying the foundations of literature, brick-by-brick.

Nice thread!

J. Koyanagi
01-04-2012, 03:02 AM
Your post made my optimistic heart very happy. Thank you for this. :)

kuwisdelu
01-04-2012, 03:05 AM
But I thought all good literature was dead?

Oh well.

I'll just have to kill it again! *keeps writing*

HarryHoskins
01-04-2012, 05:45 AM
There are so many books worth my time that my reading list has become a part of my bucket list; barring a breakthrough in medical science, I will die before I have read every book that has been suggested to me.

I heard they, you know, like made an App that plugs into your gravestone and can talk every book ever written within earshot of your decomposing corpse for the rest of time.

My mother's, sister's, Bridge partner's landlord said they were marketing it as a proof of eternal hell or heaven depending on what parameters you set for it.

He didn't say if it's compatible with cremations. :)

scarletpeaches
01-04-2012, 05:54 AM
Every so often I read a book that, on finishing, makes me sigh and say, "I wish I'd written that."

Filigree
01-04-2012, 05:58 AM
I treasure such moments, just as I love seeing a great piece of art or craft.
It's a joyous kick in the pants.

thothguard51
01-04-2012, 06:15 AM
Not to be a party pooper, but not all books should be published...

scarletpeaches
01-04-2012, 06:20 AM
Maybe they shouldn't, but the point of the thread is to celebrate the gems which are published, and deservedly so.

Hark at me being all optimistic.

mccardey
01-04-2012, 06:27 AM
Every so often I read a book that, on finishing, makes me sigh and say, "I wish I'd written that."

"Foal's Bread" (http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=94&book=9781742376295) by Gillian Mears - a glorious piece of work...

buz
01-04-2012, 06:57 AM
Not to be a party pooper, but not all books should be published...

Can't have the good without the bad. :)

Stop resisting the rhythm...because it is going to get you.

2011's dreamer
01-04-2012, 09:30 AM
the rhythm...because it is going to get you.

Tonight.

O eh, o eh, o eh, o eh
O eh, oo aah, o eh, oo aah

In another news, I heard Rhythm is a dancer, too.

jjdebenedictis
01-04-2012, 09:45 AM
NO! No, don't turn this wonderful, optimistic thread into an earworm!

**runs away screaming**

shaldna
01-04-2012, 02:41 PM
And I thought we were degrading literature?

*ducks*

Phaeal
01-04-2012, 07:22 PM
Not to be a party pooper, but not all books should be published...

Meh. Publish 'em all and let ME sort 'em out.

leahzero
01-04-2012, 07:31 PM
This thread (at least most of it) makes me happy in the pants.

Bartholomew
01-04-2012, 08:28 PM
As long as the pantimus majorus area is happy, so am I.

Even the books that don't "deserve" publication (despite the mind-numbing effort that goes into writing a book and finding a publication venue--even with zero editing and Lulu, this is a lot of work) can be infinitely instructive about what modern audiences don't want to read, and a good record of bad ideas, confusing writing, or cliched ideas.

There was an era where a bad book was one of only two or three choices, and something to read, regardless of how bad it was. (And in all likelihood, you would have already read them before.)

Yes, there are bad and even terrible books out there; oceans need sharks and coral both.

Shadow_Ferret
01-04-2012, 08:37 PM
Not to be a party pooper, but not all books should be published...

Not all these published books are accessible to the masses either. Not everyone has, or can even afford, a computer or eReader. Or the Internet. So really, since paper publishing is declining, less writing is available to the poor or the computer illiterate.

Bartholomew
01-04-2012, 10:17 PM
Not all these published books are accessible to the masses either. Not everyone has, or can even afford, a computer or eReader. Or the Internet. So really, since paper publishing is declining, less writing is available to the poor or the computer illiterate.

Define paper publishing.

Then prove that it's in declension.

KellyAssauer
01-04-2012, 10:41 PM
Define paper publishing.

Then prove that it's in declension.

You know what it is...

it's Literature. :ROFL:

Shadow_Ferret
01-04-2012, 10:42 PM
Um. Paper. A product of trees. The wood is pulped and made into paper upon which the book is then printed. And I have no proof, only observation. Borders is gone. Waldens is gone. B dalton is gone. Many of our local independents are gone. Department stores no longer carry books.

To me the golden age of publishing was in the 30s and 40s when thousands of cheaply made magazines were on sale every month priced so nearly everyone could afford them, accessible to anyone who could get to the grocery store, drug store, or corner news stand.

The Lonely One
01-04-2012, 11:02 PM
Do you guys think online zines are the Little Magazines of our days? Certainly they don't have the same power of movement, but is it a similar philosophy?

Medievalist
01-04-2012, 11:14 PM
Do you guys think online zines are the Little Magazines of our days? Certainly they don't have the same power of movement, but is it a similar philosophy?

I think blogs are like the pamphlets of the seventeenth - early nineteenth centuries.

I think Web zines are like the printed "literary reviews" or "little magazines." Certainly in the case of SF/F, and increasing number of the major award-winning short stories and novellas were published online first.

KellyAssauer
01-05-2012, 12:28 AM
Do you guys think online zines are the Little Magazines of our days?

I've 'seen' them but I've never read a complete one, nor have I ever read a whole blog. Each of these 'appears' to me to be about as meaningful as graffiti: One person's random scrawls in the dark...

Makai_Lightning
01-05-2012, 12:57 AM
Um. Paper. A product of trees. The wood is pulped and made into paper upon which the book is then printed. And I have no proof, only observation. Borders is gone. Waldens is gone. B dalton is gone. Many of our local independents are gone. Department stores no longer carry books.

To me the golden age of publishing was in the 30s and 40s when thousands of cheaply made magazines were on sale every month priced so nearly everyone could afford them, accessible to anyone who could get to the grocery store, drug store, or corner news stand.

I've been missing Borders with all my heart. <\3 Used to be my favorite place.

But I will say I continue to support my hard copies of my books, and as long as libraries exist, and they carry books/the Internet, anyone can still read stuff that's being published. It's just less likely you'll own a physical copy of it.

KellyAssauer
01-05-2012, 02:33 AM
I'll only buy physical copies.

Anything else is far too complicated and expensive.

CrastersBabies
01-05-2012, 02:47 AM
Love the new "era" idea, but (in my humble opinion) that is not an indicator of literacy. I work with underserved populations and most don't have computers, technological gizmos, etc.. Reading/writing testing scores for many colleges are at an all-time low. While I think that some areas are bursting at the seams with literacy goodness, other areas are plummeting.

Access to information is out there for people who have a certain level of technological literacy, for those who have access to the technology itself. When I can jump online anytime I want, sure, it's easy. I love it. Love it!

But, when going online requires an hour-long bus trip to the library? Nowhere near the same access.

I visited a great library the other day--kindle "borrowing" and e-books (along with the physical library). But, when you look at the statistics, 25-30% of Americans don't have access to the internet. How will these new trends benefit them? They're still confined to print until their circumstances change.

It's all a LOT of food for thought. So many places this topic could go!

KellyAssauer
01-05-2012, 03:27 AM
I have access to the internet, but that's only just the beginning of the problem. There's buying an eReader - which I can't justify, and even if I had such a temporary, fragile, hand held, gizmo doomed to fail... how do I buy a book? That involves an hour and a half trip to the bank to slip X number of dollars into the 'online' account to drive home, wait three days, transfer X funds into the paypal, wait three days... and on and on it goes. If I'm driving into town, might as well stop at the book store huh?

Makai_Lightning
01-05-2012, 03:58 AM
Love the new "era" idea, but (in my humble opinion) that is not an indicator of literacy. I work with underserved populations and most don't have computers, technological gizmos, etc.. Reading/writing testing scores for many colleges are at an all-time low. While I think that some areas are bursting at the seams with literacy goodness, other areas are plummeting.

Access to information is out there for people who have a certain level of technological literacy, for those who have access to the technology itself. When I can jump online anytime I want, sure, it's easy. I love it. Love it!

But, when going online requires an hour-long bus trip to the library? Nowhere near the same access.

I visited a great library the other day--kindle "borrowing" and e-books (along with the physical library). But, when you look at the statistics, 25-30% of Americans don't have access to the internet. How will these new trends benefit them? They're still confined to print until their circumstances change.

It's all a LOT of food for thought. So many places this topic could go!
As for college scores, I think that there's a lot of reasons for that, and my personal and probably very biased opinion is that this is because college education itself does not always actually amount to anything you're actually gonna need. Ever since a college education became more a necessity to get a job, rather than a luxury, I think the focus has been more in getting kids to go to college, and in some instances market it as a business, rather than focusing on actually providing for the students. Me personally, it feels like the "education" process is streamlined, and especially at my school, the professors care more about either their job as a researcher, or as a way to get paid, rather than as a means to impart useful knowledge to students. I've had to buy books that even the professors admit are useless, largely because it pays off either them themselves or a co-worker of theirs, and some of the classes I take either teach stuff that if you were really into a particular major, you probably wouldn't need to be taught.

And before I transferred, while the professors were much more useful, accessible, etc, I still felt like so much of the stuff I was being "taught" was stuff I wouldn't have been accepted as a student if I didn't know already.

In short, I think the college education system, or what I've had to experience from it, is flawed. Not that there's nothing good about it, just that for all the money it costs to get an education, I would've expected better. Realization that standards of say, literacy, are not actually all that high; disenheartening. That could very well just be my experience though.

And I remember what my AP English teacher told me, right before I had to take the test, when I expressed concern 'cause our "experimental" class did not quite prepare anyone for anything. "oh please. You go to an upper middle class white suburban school. You'd probably have to try not to at least get a 4." or something thereabouts.

Speaking at least for America, I think there's a lot more going on that'd keep people "down" in that particular sense, than has specifically to do with Internet. Also just my opinion, but there's an unfortunate culture of anti-intellectualism which propagates itself rather forcefully. And that's especially true with say, bored upper middle class kids/young adults, and say, the jersey shore.

That doesn't mean there isn't a growing and growing population of people who can and do read, and enjoy it thoroughly. Besides, the more our country (speaking just from an American standpoint), progresses technologically, or whatever, sure, the poorer people might be the last to get any new update in technology, but over time as it becomes outdated and cheaper and the richer people have moved on to the next new and great thing, it's more likely that they can. Considering American culture has a particular focus on "progress"--whatever that happens to mean, or we collectively decide it means-- even if say, currently a good chunk of America doesn't have easy and immediate access to the Internet, I think I'd be a fallacy to say it's necessarily gonna stay that way. I can't prove either way, of course. But I'd prefer to be optimistic about it. Given that stuff like the kindle is relatively new, and Borders only fairly recently went out of business, I think there's still time to observe other changes that might bridge those gaps. It's still fairly early? Maybe?

scarletpeaches
01-05-2012, 04:06 AM
That involves an hour and a half trip to the bank to slip X number of dollars into the 'online' account to drive home, wait three days, transfer X funds into the paypal, wait three days... and on and on it goes.No it doesn't. I often buy Kindle books in seconds.

whimsical rabbit
01-05-2012, 04:07 AM
I agree with Bartholomew, knowledge and education, and literature as an inseparable part of them, are now widely accessible thanks to the internet and modern technology. Granted, this pertains to a certain sociocultural and geographically-defined population, still, in comparison to the same kind of population in the past, we have come a long way.

I am grateful for the internet (and sure, to be able to afford it) and since I can afford it, I intend to make good use of it. We're living in a revolutionary era technology-wise, and we can achieve so much.

As for contemporary literature, while I have a certain appreciation and respect for the classics (they are our heritage after all), I find myself truly engrossed, and passionate, about books of my own era.

Thank you for this thread. Your OP depicts my thoughts in precision. :)

kuwisdelu
01-05-2012, 04:10 AM
Would it be too commie of me to say I think governments should be providing free internet access?

CrastersBabies
01-05-2012, 04:14 AM
Very thought-provoking post, Makai. It's hard to pinpoint where education is failing. so many things to mull over here.

We still have so many instructors who adhere to strict, traditional methods: lecture, memorization, regurgitation. Then on the other side, we have those who have shirked tradition completely, who run the classroom based solely on experimental methodology, perhaps to the detriment of what students are actually capable of retaining.

For me, a lot of it is attitude. I've had classes where students feel they are doing ME a favor by showing up. How can I possibly teach them anything? They know it all. Or the "show up and get a 'B' mentality." If they come to class, stay awake, look half-interested, they're guaranteed a passing grade. I've had parents of students call me to question a grade. College-level students. Adults. Thankfully, I can fall back on privacy policies and invite their child to come speak with me directly. If the child wants to invite the parent to that meeting, so be it.

"But, I PAY for my child's education. You work for ME."

Okay....

I imagine most of my theories are just ingredients for a bigger recipe. Too much tradition, too little tradition, secondary education forced to "teach to the test," colleges becoming the money-making cash cows versus academic integrity.

KellyAssauer
01-05-2012, 04:25 AM
No it doesn't. I often buy Kindle books in seconds.

I can't make an online purchase any other way.
It takes me a week.

Amadan
01-05-2012, 04:30 AM
To me the golden age of publishing was in the 30s and 40s when thousands of cheaply made magazines were on sale every month priced so nearly everyone could afford them, accessible to anyone who could get to the grocery store, drug store, or corner news stand.


And of course, "nearly everyone" included people in the Philippines, in Guatemala, in Alaskan fishing villages, in South African slums, in China and India and Afghanistan and Turkey and the Ukraine.... you know, all those people who are able to access fiction and other media online now, right? Right?

You are being very silly with your "Woe paper is dying therefore NO MORE E.E. DOC SMITH THE PINNACLE OF HUMAN LITERARY ACHIEVEMENT!"

Yes, there's a "technology gap" with people who don't have Internet access, but ya know, even in third world countries, there are a lot of people who often go hungry but they can get online. And among those in the more stable but still impoverished segments of the population, the wired population is growing. They have access to a volume of reading material unimaginable in those parts of the world a few years ago.

So all you "Oh noes the Internet is killing books!" folks, Puh-leeze.

Also, I'm pretty there are at least as many paper books and magazines being printed now as in the 30s and 40s. Paper is not dying. Really, it's not. But by the time it is, ereaders will be cheap and ubiquitous.

There is hardly a household in the U.S. that doesn't have a TV, even among the really, really poor, so don't tell me it's inconceivable that cheap wireless devices are going to remain inaccessible to them. They're not.

kuwisdelu
01-05-2012, 04:31 AM
I can't make an online purchase any other way.
It takes me a week.

Does Amazon have gift cards?

I know with Apple, at least, you could just pick up an iTunes gift card with cash and use that to buy books.

HarryHoskins
01-05-2012, 04:35 AM
No it doesn't. I often buy Kindle books in seconds.

From the charity shop? And there, temporarily probably, lies the magic of the paperback and the rub of the E for me. :)

KellyAssauer
01-05-2012, 04:43 AM
Does Amazon have gift cards?


You're right! I just saw those - 28 mile trip, but no week wait.

The Lonely One
01-05-2012, 05:16 AM
I've 'seen' them but I've never read a complete one, nor have I ever read a whole blog. Each of these 'appears' to me to be about as meaningful as graffiti: One person's random scrawls in the dark...

I'm not sure what this response means. Could you clarify? Are you saying online zines have no significance? Or that graffiti isn't art? Or both?

Online zines aren't one person's anything. They're like any other journal, taking submissions and publishing them. Not the equivalent of a blog.

I'm probably just misunderstanding your post.

benbradley
01-05-2012, 06:16 AM
Are any major publishers putting out ANY titles in electronic form only?

I'd like to see a graph of the average price of a hardback or MMPB book over the last 50 years versus some standard such as income or cost of living. It seems to me access to published material (whether you want to call it "literary" or not) has been continually increasing by leaps and bounds ever since that guy converted a wine press into printing on paper.

And you want to talk about lack of access to electronic media, there's the One Laptop Per Child that has given 2.5 million laptops to children and teachers around the world who couldn't otherwise afford them. (http://one.laptop.org/map) And as the guy in my avatar likes to say, half the farmers in China now have access to more information than the President of the United States did 15 years ago. More and more books are being read on iPhones and iPads, for many reasons (from convenience to the fact that the device owner doesn't own and can't get physical books).

And yes, some books that WERE published might not have "deserved" to be published (this is more often true of vanity and self-published books), but even some of those are "interesting" in their own way.

scarletpeaches
01-05-2012, 06:28 AM
"Foal's Bread" (http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=94&book=9781742376295) by Gillian Mears - a glorious piece of work...Because of your recommendation, I just bought this for my Kindle.

Makai_Lightning
01-05-2012, 07:21 AM
Very thought-provoking post, Makai. It's hard to pinpoint where education is failing. so many things to mull over here.

We still have so many instructors who adhere to strict, traditional methods: lecture, memorization, regurgitation. Then on the other side, we have those who have shirked tradition completely, who run the classroom based solely on experimental methodology, perhaps to the detriment of what students are actually capable of retaining.

For me, a lot of it is attitude. I've had classes where students feel they are doing ME a favor by showing up. How can I possibly teach them anything? They know it all. Or the "show up and get a 'B' mentality." If they come to class, stay awake, look half-interested, they're guaranteed a passing grade. I've had parents of students call me to question a grade. College-level students. Adults. Thankfully, I can fall back on privacy policies and invite their child to come speak with me directly. If the child wants to invite the parent to that meeting, so be it.

"But, I PAY for my child's education. You work for ME."

Okay....

I imagine most of my theories are just ingredients for a bigger recipe. Too much tradition, too little tradition, secondary education forced to "teach to the test," colleges becoming the money-making cash cows versus academic integrity.
Ah, so are you a professor, then? Adjunct or full? I think that makes a difference too.

Honestly, I think less students would act like "show up to class and put in minimal effort, get a B", if that wasn't a standard so many people (in my college and high school at least) taught to. Not that that's exactly how it works, but, it really seems like it. As for know it all students, I think that also depends on the subject. Probably more likely around certain things than others. I knew a lot of people like that at my 1st school, but more with each other than the professors. But then, my opinion of that school is, they stuff I did learn was stuff that might be cool, but was unnecessary, and the stuff I was supposed to learn, I could have (and in some cases, did) learn on my own just as well or better. I'm probably not the best person to talk, at least using myself as an example, but at least at my school now, I either feel like it's the sorta class people take because it's easy, or it's a class that the professor is just gonna get up there and plow right ahead without much regard for the students.

Not every class. Just seems a bit too common. And then I just look at the system and think, what in the hell am I paying for here? And I keep wondering, while I'm in class for what I think my major is, "ok, so this is all very well and good, but am I ever gonna be able to use this with any prospective job I may get, and if not, (directly or indirectly), then was this really worth my time?" I don't always know the answer, but I do think that while I never wanna disdain knowledge, the stuff we learn does not always prepare us for the real world or for a job or what have you. Which makes me question why it's such a necessity to have a college degree to get a job.

^^^relating all this back a bit more to the original intent of this topic, though, I don't suppose I'd feel quite the way I do about college if it weren't for the fact that I have so much access to so much information on the web. For certain classes of mine I've been able to successfully use my own Internet searching (and I don't mean Wikipedia) to supplement stuff I'm learning in class. I feel classes are particularly useful when I get stuff out of them you can't get from an easy search online...

Makai_Lightning
01-05-2012, 07:24 AM
Would it be too commie of me to say I think governments should be providing free internet access?

Maybe, but I tend to agree with you, so it's all good.

Although taxpayer money could be spent doing other things I might approve of more, this is probably part of the reason I spend so much time at Starbucks/dunken donuts. Free interwebs!

whimsical rabbit
01-05-2012, 08:57 PM
Would it be too commie of me to say I think governments should be providing free internet access?

No, it's a wonderful idea. Although I'm a European and a leftist, so what did you expect? :tongue:

Shadow_Ferret
01-05-2012, 10:42 PM
And of course, "nearly everyone" included people in the Philippines, in Guatemala, in Alaskan fishing villages, in South African slums, in China and India and Afghanistan and Turkey and the Ukraine.... you know, all those people who are able to access fiction and other media online now, right? Right?

You are being very silly with your "Woe paper is dying therefore NO MORE E.E. DOC SMITH THE PINNACLE OF HUMAN LITERARY ACHIEVEMENT!"

Yes, there's a "technology gap" with people who don't have Internet access, but ya know, even in third world countries, there are a lot of people who often go hungry but they can get online. And among those in the more stable but still impoverished segments of the population, the wired population is growing. They have access to a volume of reading material unimaginable in those parts of the world a few years ago.

So all you "Oh noes the Internet is killing books!" folks, Puh-leeze.

Also, I'm pretty there are at least as many paper books and magazines being printed now as in the 30s and 40s. Paper is not dying. Really, it's not. But by the time it is, ereaders will be cheap and ubiquitous.

There is hardly a household in the U.S. that doesn't have a TV, even among the really, really poor, so don't tell me it's inconceivable that cheap wireless devices are going to remain inaccessible to them. They're not.

I don't recall saying anything about EE Smith or evn suggesting that was the pinnacle of anything. Nor did I say anything about the Internet killing books. I do agree that there is a lot of reading available on the Internet -- if you have access. I just don't think it's as widely accessible as you seem to think.

And I never ever said it was incOnceivable that those who currently can't afford it will continue to not afford it nor did I speculate at all about the future of this tech.

Honestly, I wonder if you even read my posts or if you just see my name and simply take it as an opportunity to attack me. You do seem to have inexplicable anger issues.

Alpha Echo
01-05-2012, 10:51 PM
There are so many books worth my time that my reading list has become a part of my bucket list; barring a breakthrough in medical science, I will die before I have read every book that has been suggested to me. And even if I only manage to read half of them, I'll have tasted the viewpoints of more than 10,000 individuals.



I was just thinking about this today. It's crazy. I have at least 100 paperbacks in my to-be-read, and now with my Kindle, I already have at least 50 more. And every day, I download more.

THEN, I buy the paperback copies of the ones I love! (Or, that's the plan).

I love it!

Amadan
01-05-2012, 11:54 PM
Honestly, I wonder if you even read my posts or if you just see my name and simply take it as an opportunity to attack me. You do seem to have inexplicable anger issues.


I'm rarely angry, and disagreeing with you isn't attacking.

I read your post. I thought your viewpoint was very limited to, I guess, yourself, and did not take into account most of the world.

benbradley
01-06-2012, 12:12 AM
Would it be too commie of me to say I think governments should be providing free internet access?
I wouldn't be in favor of that, for many reasons. If a government (federal, state, local) wants to provide Internet access for "low income" (such as how it's defined for SNAP/Food Stamps) people, that might be a good idea.

But if a government provides access for everyone, it makes it easier for that government to protect people from accidentally downloading possibly infringing content censor the Internet. Whenever you have a sole provider for some product or service (whether the provider is a government or a business) you're vulnerable to the provider not doing its job for a variety of reasons, not just censorship.

I think the following article describes a Really Good Idea. It helps protect not just from censorship, but from accidental and other types of outages that could happen to commercial as well as government-provided Internet access:
http://www.pcworld.com/article/218155/get_internet_access_when_your_government_shuts_it_ down.html
This could protect the lives of those such as the late Robert Haige (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGxdgNJ_lZM).

Shadow_Ferret
01-06-2012, 12:30 AM
I'm rarely angry, and disagreeing with you isn't attacking.

I read your post. I thought your viewpoint was very limited to, I guess, yourself, and did not take into account most of the world.

I can't sPeak for the most of the world. I fully admit I have a rather American-centric view of things. I have no idea how wired some poor village in Indonesia might be just as I have no knowledge of how far reaching pulp magazInes were beyond English-speaking countries.

And I'm fairly grounded in the present so nothing I said should have been interpreted as future speculation.

Shadow_Ferret
01-06-2012, 12:34 AM
I wouldn't be in favor of that, for many reasons. If a government (federal, state, local) wants to provide Internet access for "low income" (such as how it's defined for SNAP/Food Stamps) people, that might be a good idea.

But if a government provides access for everyone, it makes it easier for that government to protect people from accidentally downloading possibly infringing content censor the Internet. Whenever you have a sole provider for some product or service (whether the provider is a government or a business) you're vulnerable to the provider not doing its job for a variety of reasons, not just censorship.

the government already provides free cell phones to those who qualify. That doesn't mean they censor the conversations.

CrastersBabies
01-06-2012, 07:11 AM
Are any major publishers putting out ANY titles in electronic form only?

I'd like to see a graph of the average price of a hardback or MMPB book over the last 50 years versus some standard such as income or cost of living. It seems to me access to published material (whether you want to call it "literary" or not) has been continually increasing by leaps and bounds ever since that guy converted a wine press into printing on paper.

And you want to talk about lack of access to electronic media, there's the One Laptop Per Child that has given 2.5 million laptops to children and teachers around the world who couldn't otherwise afford them. (http://one.laptop.org/map) And as the guy in my avatar likes to say, half the farmers in China now have access to more information than the President of the United States did 15 years ago. More and more books are being read on iPhones and iPads, for many reasons (from convenience to the fact that the device owner doesn't own and can't get physical books).

And yes, some books that WERE published might not have "deserved" to be published (this is more often true of vanity and self-published books), but even some of those are "interesting" in their own way.

I think the laptop thing is awesome (for children and teachers). I hear about some schools getting things like this. I wonder if it's something students can take home (and how durable these things are). Also, if they don't have internet access, I wonder how much the laptop will help them connect more (i.e. ebooks or internet research). I imagine schools could provide them with roaming wifi somehow. Not sure.

I'd love for everyone to have access to this kind of technology, but I just don't see it happening. I'd love to be wrong on that.