No Ebooks at This Cafe and A House Made of Books

Posted on August 05, 2010 by Scott Esposito

We're in the middle of summer and the translation news is a little slow, so for now a couple of articles that make us wonder where the future of books is headed.

First, Slovakian artist Matej Kren has created a house of books:



According to the Museum of Modern Art in Bologna's website:

The narrow inside space, multiplied and complicated by mirrors, evoke a sensation of sublime terror, an alteration referring to a puzzling infinity itself created to destabilize conventional spatial habits. Mirrors become an instrument to create illusion and, at the same time, to unmask it. Since the public can easily see themselves reflected in a false infinite – thus discovering the illusion – the problem becomes the latency of perception.

Perhaps some of you will have a better reaction to the installation than that.

In our other news story, The New York Times reports that at least one cafe in New York City has banned ebooks:

After placing my order I sat down at a table and pulled out my Amazon Kindle.

I barely made it a sentence into the e-book I was reading before an employee of the coffee shop came by, stood over me and said, “Excuse me sir, but we don’t allow computers in the coffee shop.”

I looked up at him with an incredulous look and replied, “This isn’t a computer, it’s an e-book reader.”

He then told me that the “device” in my hand had a screen and required batteries, so it was obviously “some variation of a computer.” The coffee shop, I was told, did not allow the use of computers.

Annoyed with this distinction, I peppered the employee with questions on why reading on paper was more acceptable than reading on a screen. Flustered and confused by the existential debate he had been dragged into, the employee resolutely said, “Look, no computers in the coffee shop.”

On second thought, this is probably more the fault of an overzealous employee than the cafe. It's understandable that cafes might not want people with laptops camping out for hours on end and hogging the WiFi, but obviously this employee wasn't using the old noodle to the fullest capacity. I would think that reading--whether in print or electronic--in cafes would still be permitted.