No Books Means "Poor People Need Not Apply"

SF author Elizabeth Bear pointed to this entry in a LiveJournal blog. It's a little bit long on passion and short on facts, but the central idea is neatly summarized: When you have little money, you buy second-hand books. Seen a second-hand ebook lately? Of course, you haven't. There are a few minuscule programs to allow some libraries to lend a few ebooks, but the secondary market for ebooks doesn't exist and likely never will. It's an interesting, and somewhat frightening, question: if we really do away with physical books, what will poor people read? Should lack of money mean you lose access to the entertainment, value, education, and ideas contained in books?

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