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"I started to worry you'd never come."
April 19, 2013 6:44 AM   Subscribe

One day, a small boy's holographic entertainment fails, so he heads out to explore the streets of abandoned shops outside. Down a forgotten alley he discovers the last ever bookshop. And inside, an ancient shopkeeper has been waiting over 25 years for a customer...The Last Bookshop
posted by Toekneesan (26 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
TL;DW - does someone have the graphic novel version?
posted by jph at 6:55 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This just makes me sad that there are no longer any very good bookstores near me, they've all recently (or not so recently) closed. Even the closest B&N is a bit of a drive.
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:00 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a corporate-bookstore employee who has lost 3 other bookseller jobs to indie-bookstores closing: this is one reason why I'm looking for a non-retail job. My heart can't take the hurt anymore.
posted by nicebookrack at 7:07 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wanted to like this, but it was just so heavy handed. No one has ever heard of books or money, just like none of us know anything about swords or horse-drawn carriages or pieces of eight because there has never, ever been a television show featuring anything older than us.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:27 AM on April 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


I liked, it, but a couple points came to mind:

The bookseller must've hacked the entertainment system: it was working just fine when the boy returned home, and the bookseller (being well-read) had made mention of a particular wizard...

Couldn't the bookseller have said that the boy wanted a cup of coffee? There has to be a loophole or something.
posted by Smart Dalek at 7:51 AM on April 19, 2013


I'm worried more about the libraries.
posted by skewed at 8:02 AM on April 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


ug this is so saccharine. OK I get that people are using "new fangled" communication forms and books are less popular as they were but so are fucking wandering minstrels. The intro was true that all living things must die. This video says less to me "there is magic in books" and more to me "you fucking idiots don't like the things I like, kids these days, what is wrong with people, lack of moral integrity."

The fact that the child takes a Robin Hood book supports my thesis. That story gets retold every generation and each retelling is as dated as the last after 20 years. 90% of everything is shit, biooks are no exception.
posted by rebent at 8:31 AM on April 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


in fact, this future looks very bright on account of a person's ability to keep a shop open for 25 years without selling a single product. Sounds like a dream to me.
posted by rebent at 8:34 AM on April 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Couldn't the bookseller have said that the boy wanted a cup of coffee? There has to be a loophole or something.

Or, you know, just have paid the royalties? Because the premise that a single gargantuan corporation has managed to a) get copyright extended indefinitely and retroactively b) have first-sale doctrine eliminated and c) bought up all the copyrights to everything ever published in order to ban the sale of those things makes no sense. There's no profit motive in that.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:35 AM on April 19, 2013


...a television show featuring anything older than us.

I was somewhat in sympathy with this comment until this part.
posted by DU at 8:50 AM on April 19, 2013


I was trying to use the closest current analogue to the entertainment system depicted in the video, which seemed most like a TV mashed up with a little internet. I could have used movies, textbooks, plays, paintings, websites, Regency romance novels, Renfaires, etc, etc, etc but I didn't really think providing the whole list of possible ways to learn about the past was necessary to make the point that info about old-timey stuff is all around us all the time, and people aren't going to be forgetting about books or money any time soon, even if books and money become things that aren't part of our day-to-day lives.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:01 AM on April 19, 2013


I was somewhat in sympathy with this comment until this part.

I have never understood the inherently higher ground that people place books on compared to television, even with the same material. You are not better for reading The Lord of the Rings instead of watching the film.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:39 AM on April 19, 2013


Apparently what passes for entertainment in the future is watching mayonnaise commercials.
posted by RobotHero at 9:39 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a shame he missed the shop further along, he could have had a hoop and stick to race home with.
posted by biffa at 10:09 AM on April 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have never understood the inherently higher ground that people place books on compared to television,

Books have vastly more content. If you could only watch films, it would be like having to make do with severely abridged versions of everything.

Like if we were all under the despotic rule of Reader's Digest, I suppose.
posted by Segundus at 10:18 AM on April 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I realize it's not meant to be taken as all serious business but ...

Robin Hood steals from the rich and gives to the poor, right? If the boy doesn't know what money is, how much of that book does he understand?

If he doesn't know what a customer is, does that mean he thought he had just entered someone's home?

If he needs money explained to him, how is it when he pulls a cover off the cash register he instantly knows that's where money goes when you pay?

The gambling pop-up ad has stacks of coins. In a future with no cash, I guess that's just a hold-over like the floppy-disc icon?



I don't know what it says that I found the idea of no books logically consistent but if there's no money, I don't understand anymore.
posted by RobotHero at 10:21 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


If he took the money from the collection, then it was not his money, it belonged to the store. He didn't make a purchase, he rearranged some inventory.
posted by Karmakaze at 10:56 AM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


In the comments the filmmaker mentions that it wasn't money that the kid had never heard of, it was notes and coins, and that was because all commerce occurred online.
posted by Toekneesan at 12:32 PM on April 19, 2013


Youtube's side bar showed : The Internet - A Warning From History
posted by jeffburdges at 1:15 PM on April 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


A crazy old storyteller named Jasper Fforde once tried to tell me that there used to be stories that didn't have product placement in them.

Also -- that kid isn't credible. When I was his age, I couldn't walk into a quiet bookshop without filling my bag and my sweater with swag. Shoplifting was like the 1960's version of bittorrent.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:07 PM on April 19, 2013


I think the point the filmaker was trying to make with the copyright thing was related to playing out the Amazon/Apple/Google thing to some kind of logical conclusion. Amazon dominates the largest piece of the the US retail book market. They publish. They print. They own massive infrastructure in digital and physical distribution. It is conceivable that they, or a merged Apple-Zon or Ama-Google, could become a sole source owner and administrator of content and content licensing, maybe for a content type, like text. I think that's what they're getting at, but didn't want to point specific fingers so maybe it wasn't clear. And how it was paid for wasn't clear, but I think that was the dystopia they were trying to depict.

Also, I liked the kid.
posted by Toekneesan at 3:40 PM on April 19, 2013



I have never understood the inherently higher ground that people place books on compared to television, even with the same material. You are not better for reading The Lord of the Rings instead of watching the film.


Taking that example-- if the book hadn't been written, the movie wouldn't have been possible.

Otherwise, "books" versus "television" encompasses so many contrasts it's hard to argue.
posted by BibiRose at 6:27 AM on April 20, 2013


As a bookseller and writer, I too wanted to like this but found it somewhat tiresome and patronizing to the viewer. Or maybe literal, rather than patronizing. I'm exasperated by the moral value they give to "real" books i.e. physical ones. I love paper books as much as anyone, but they go out of print. With e-books, nothing has to. The way the film dismissed e-books was preposterous. Went out of style because they weren't as satisfying as "the real thing?" There are problems with e-books-- like you have to afford an e-reader or a computer. But going out of vogue? Not going to happen.

There's also the suggestion, which I found a little more subtle, that the potential of physical books spurs people on to a different sort of creativity. Joyce Carol Oates recently tweeted, wondering what would happen to someone like James Joyce without the prospect of his work being produced in a physical book. I wish they'd done a bit more with that.
(James Joyce wasn't the best example, in my opinion. I'm not sure he would have been as at home on the internet as people claim, but he was so connected to the oral storytelling tradition. His work seems almost to strain against the restrictions of a physical book.)
posted by BibiRose at 6:55 AM on April 20, 2013


There are genuine potential problems with ebooks, but the video did seem to address it and dismiss it as simply as possible.

"Going out of vogue" could be a problem if your eBook reader breaks and nobody is manufacturing replacements.

Or with their oppressive copyright regime, maybe they released new eBook formats every five to ten years and outlawed format shifting.

Or like with the kids books for iPad where they like to add animated and interactive elements, then years down the line, someone says to themselves, "You know, ebooks turned into video games so gradually, I didn't even notice."
posted by RobotHero at 8:19 AM on April 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Very nice. Thanks, Toekneesan.
posted by homunculus at 12:37 AM on April 21, 2013


When people talk about how ebooks and digital information will last forever and we’re losing nothing, or that giant corporations wouldn’t keep things locked up for no reason, I’m amazed that self described literate people can have so little imagination.
posted by bongo_x at 6:43 PM on May 15, 2013


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