294: Bookstore

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
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You can search it if you want, but you may want to skip the memories of your mom.
Title text: You can search it if you want, but you may want to skip the memories of your mom.


Cueball starts reading a book off the shelf as he considers buying it, but gets so engrossed in it that he accidentally reads the entire thing, eliminating his reason for buying it in the first place. He quietly puts it back and turns to leave the store, only to have the book (which exists in his brain as information) set off the store's anti-theft sensor. This is a satire of copyright as it pertains to digital copies, because when you download a game or music file (or read a book, in this case), you are merely making an identical copy of the source material.

The title text suggests that if the security guard wants to do a brain search, he might want to skip over all the presumably sexual encounters Cueball has had with the security guard's mom, thus inducing a 'yo mama' joke.


[Cueball is standing in a bookstore, looking at a book.]
Cueball [thinking]: This book looks interesting. Maybe I'll buy it.
[Cueball reads the book; a clock appears above.]
Cueball [thinking]: Oops, I read the whole thing.
Cueball [thinking]: I'll just quietly put it back and go.
[Cueball walks through a security scanner to exit the bookstore.]
Voice from off-frame: Hey! Your brain set off the sensor!
Cueball: I, uhh...
Voice from off-frame: You have a book in there, don't you!
Cueball: Crap.

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I didn't catch any joke about digital copyright. Could you guys just be overthinking it? I mean, all it is as I read it is a joke that they can't catch you if your brain contains the book, only if you possess a copy (physical or digital alike). Hppavilion1 (talk) 17:27, 28 July 2014 (UTC)

One could consider your memory of the book in your mind's synapses to be an electronic copy (of sorts). 16:30, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

The first half of this has happened to me at the library a lot. Like, a LOT. 17:13, 3 July 2016 (UTC)

This might become a thing in libraries, and if that happens, I am not going to step into the library again since that I read books and store the storyline and plot in my mind. I might set off the alarm like what Cueball did here.Boeing-787lover 07:55, 23 June 2018 (UTC) -- Xkcdreader52 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)

I used to do this all the time when I was in school :P Being at school I didn't always have the readies to buy all the books I wanted to read, so I would go stand in the bookshop and read the books right there! As I'm a voracious reader it didn't take me more than an hour or two to finish a book. --The Cat Lady (talk) 16:03, 13 August 2021 (UTC)

Same! I still love going to my local bookstore and reading the new books in my favourite series so that I don’t need to wait months for everyone else in the public library to finish reading it or buying the book. :) 42.book.addict (talk) 18:36, 2 February 2024 (UTC)