This article was written by an old friend and a colleague in learning, Phil Shapiro. It made me laugh. So I asked Phil if I could post it here.

A Place for Antique E-Books

Once e-books become more widely adopted, an inevitable result will be the creation of antique e-book stores. Here are details about an antique e-book store I’d like to open.

The store would only sell e-books that are more than two weeks old — adamantly not selling new e-books.

The store would be located in a converted old house with a creaky front door. If you walked in, you would know right away that you were in an antique e-book store.

In the front window of the store would be two antique, e-book-loving cats. Customers would bring their e-books to the checkout counter and lament about things. There would be no charge for lamenting, and customers would be able to lament as long as they liked.

A special Lamenting Corner would be set up with comfortable chairs for customers to further lament. Above the corner would be a sign, “Lamenting Permitted, But Please Do Not Bemoan.” If anyone complained about the sign, my reply would be, “It sounds to me like you’re bemoaning.”

In one section of the store would be “old e-books,” e-books that are more than a month old. Another section of the store would have “ancient e-books,” e-books that are between two and five months old.

The store would carry no e-book more than six months old. For that, you would need to go to a museum. If anyone asked about an e-book more than six months old, I would look at them very strangely and exclaim, “Are you crazy? What kind of a store do you think this is?”

At all times, the store would carry the latest in ancient e-books. If it’s ancient and it’s an e-book, you’ll find it there.

A free e-mail list would keep customers up-to-date about the latest in ancient e-books. List messages would get sent out with morning and evening editions.

Once a month, the antique e-book store would sponsor a speaker to talk about “Breaking News in the Antique E-Books Field.” After the speech, everyone would gather around and lament.

Most of the employees in the store would have gray hair and be semi-retired, befitting an antique e-book store. The entire experience of the store would be such that customers would leave saying to themselves, “What did we ever do before the antique e-book store opened?” “Honey, I don’t have any idea. I couldn’t imagine not having an antique e-book store to go to. Let’s just go home and lament.”

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