Kindles and Kobos (don’t get The Opiate started on the fake, somewhat sexual-sounding nature of these names) have long been a favorite method of many a subway rider, but the cost of downloading a book–such a depressing phrase, really–has frequently prevented those who might be prone to binge-reading from truly relishing the potential of their “e-readers.”
Now, the demographic that might actually take advantage of inhaling such bestsellers as The Girl on the Train, Doctor Sleep and Angels & Demons (hey, no one said bestsellers were mentally stimulating) have the opportunity to do so with a Netflix-like app called Scribd.
Of course, it’s not as though an unlimited supply of titles are made available to members, as most people are well-aware of how long it takes people to read something, especially nowadays. Instead, an $8.99 a month membership secures one three novels and an audiobook. However, access to unlimited “sheet music, documents and special select titles” adds an additional edge to the ability to inhale materials on a monthly basis.
While this is all theoretically “good news” for avid readers (though not necessarily avid readers of quality prose), it brings up a constant issue of the twenty-first century: is the rampant availability of information a source of easier absorption or no absorption at all?
This need of the modern intellectual to take in as much as possible without a worry for the actual processing of what he or she is reading can only be further solidified by the use of Scribd, intended more for, in a different era, bathroom consumption. And, sure, some classic works are available, but we all know the average user of Scribd isn’t going to have much interest in this genre of literature.
While it’s all well and noble to promote a certain ardency for engaging with literature (even if a lack of tangibility makes it somehow not as meaningful), this is one of the cases where access to more rather entails less.