“Do you have the stuff?”
“Yeah, you got the cash?”
“Wait! The cops are coming, hide it!”
I know, I know… but as cliche as the above conversation may be, it was the kind of intro I was looking for, so I ran with it.
Recently, I published a short story ‘The Last Bookstore’ (link at the end of the post) which explored the idea of the LAST EVER Bookstore in existence. But how did that happen, and why? (I guess you’ll have to read it to find out)
Even though I was limited by 500 words for the original story with #furiousfiction guidelines, my mind didn’t stop thinking about the possibilities of a world with no more printed books.
The next idea I stumbled onto, was when I realised the list of things which are illegal or hard to get hold of (like weapons, drugs, Bibles – depending where in the world you live) and I thought of something…
The world has undesirable sellers, a seedy underbelly, a black market, (again with the cliches, but who cares). Right now, there isn’t too much outrage about ebooks slowly taking over (like the machines will do one day – just you wait). Eventually though, our technology is turning towards paperless society – what with all the concern about the trees, and the convenience of technology which is slowly chipping away at our privacy rights (but that’s a rant for another day).
So, assuming there was no more printed books, and it was decided by the powers that be (you know, those influential businessmen who basically decide everything about commerce / the economy, and the world we know it – a little on the conspiracy side, but stay with me) that paper books were now illegal – what would happen?
Do you think that an outcry for books printed on paper will be loud enough to start an underground movement? It worked for alcohol in the prohibition days didn’t it?
I can just picture it now….
— She lifted her skirt above her ankles and ducked down the small set of steps, leading to the Internet Cafe. Eyeing each customer, Julia gave a slight nod to the large, muscular man who stood beside the door labelled ‘Employees Only’.
As he opened the door, Julia slipped a ten dollar note into the breast pocket of his shirt and slipped behind him, disappearing into the large, oak passageway. The customers were light tonight, but business was still booming.
“How much is it for the Sherlock Holmes first edition?” A customer in front of her asked a salesman. Books were a booming trade right now. No matter what the government or business types decided, there was always going to be a desire for that feeling of real paper flipping through your fingers, as you explored the world of spies, romance, mysteries and fantasy.—
Ok, so the example above is a little on the dramatic side, but who would have thought a Speakeasy would have operated with much the same cloak and dagger before neighbourhood pubs and bars opened on every corner?
Do you think that if printed books were extinct, there would be an underground marketplace? Would YOU miss the feel of freshly printed paper through your hands? Personally, I prefer reading with a physical book in my hand – but is it worth being arrested?
Just something to think about…
If you want to read about The Last Bookstore (and what happens to it) from my Furious Fiction Flashback, follow the link below:
See you in the Adventures!