Sound like crazy talk?
Many critics are uncomfortable with the increasing commodification of literature, insisting that books are different from other products. Books are special, the argument goes; they shouldn’t be sold like so many cans of beans.
On the other hand, cost of and access to books has long been lamented as impeding literacy and acculturation for low income families everywhere. These deficiencies are in turn linked with wider inequalities. So . . . what if this new model makes reading more affordable and accessible for more people?
If e-books can be downloaded and read on any device, then audiences just got a lot wider—especially as Android smart phones become increasingly affordable and widespread throughout the world.** Since the printing and transport costs of books are some of the main barriers to their access, this approach could be revolutionary.
An all-you-can-read literary buffet may sound strange, but it could be just the ticket for helping to reduce book hunger and cultural malnutrition.
So, what do you think? Literary feast or consumerism-driven cultural famine?
**Before we get too excited about the potential for change implicit within this mini tech revolution, here’s a reality check: the subscription service is currently available only in the US.