750: Book Burning

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Book Burning
Of course, since their cautionary tale was reported in a print newspaper, no one read it.
Title text: Of course, since their cautionary tale was reported in a print newspaper, no one read it.


A group of people wanting to hold a book burning find themselves in a conundrum when they only have one book. Going to an online retailer reveals that the Kindle edition of the book is considerably less expensive than the hardcover edition. Unfortunately for the book-burners, the burning of a Kindle proves fatal because of the toxic fumes from the burning of its plastic shell, internal electronics, and/or the lithium polymer battery that powers it.

One purpose of book burning is to destroy heretical material and thus prevent the spread of those ideas. In this case, where a Kindle version downloaded and the device is burned, no heretical material is destroyed as the electronic version is still available for distribution. Those who survived the incident will then find that their actions did not prevent the spread of the heretical ideas, they have lost dear friends, and have to purchase new electronic devices.

Another purpose for a book burning is to have a public demonstration in protest of the ideas presented in the book. This may have been the purpose of the book burning mentioned in the comic, but this plan failed, as indicated by the title text, because it was reported in the newspaper, which no one reads.

In the past there were many book-burning incidents.

There is also a subtle pun in that "kindle" means "to start a fire".

The title text further drives home the point that electronic media is becoming the norm, while print is being supplanted by inventions like the Kindle.


[Cueball holds a book aloft, displaying it to his two friends.]
Cueball: This book is full of heresy!
Friend: Let's hold a book burning!
[They confer more, then one friend runs off.]
Cueball: I only have one copy.
Friend #1: I guess we could buy more.
Friend #2: I'll look online.
[A screenshot from an online retailer's page displays pricing for the hardcover ($17.99) and Kindle ($9.99) editions of the mentioned book.]
[The front page of a newspaper, titled "News", is shown above the fold. The first article's headline reads "Eight dead from toxic fume inhalation" and a picture is shown depicting three bodies strewn around a massive plume of tar-black smoke.]

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"...the Kindle edition is the preferred method of buying a book."? A bit subjective, really. Needs more qualifications to make that sound right. (Except for the aforementioned price, I'm not sure what argument would convince me, however technophilic I am. I just like all my dead-tree publications, as a glance at my bookshelves and multiple other 'flat' surfaces around the house would confirm.)

Oh yeah, and as I forgot to sign the above, can I also add that I'm sure there's also a joke in that in an attempt to eradicate a book, the protesters are actually increasing the apparent demand for it. And, unlike a physical volume the misguided destruction of the electronic copy (or at least the medium it exists on) does not deplete any extant stocks. (In fact, the person who bought and downloaded the eBook can probably re-download the eBook if the download mechanism allows that for previously authorised purchases.) And do it enough and they may even print extra physical copies. (Soon to be coming to a remaindered book shop near you, and you, and you as well sir... Way to go to spread the Word!) "Epic Fail", anyone? 23:44, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

Book-burning incidents

While the joke is about burning a Kindle, I'm still sad about burning books. Look here: List of book-burning incidents. Burning a book is a kind of violence, this should be mentioned here. This comic is marked as incomplete.--Dgbrt (talk) 20:36, 29 July 2013 (UTC)

The comic is obviously mocking the intelligence of those radicals that would really like to see "heretical" books burn.--Qwach (talk) 19:04, 31 August 2013 (UTC)

The German Nazis did state Jewish and critical books as "heretical". But I'm still searching for some proper statements at this comic. Does Randall refer to the gas chambers at the concentration camps? By the end the Nazi empire did die in 1945. Nevertheless, burning books reminds me always on that historical incidents.--Dgbrt (talk) 19:51, 6 September 2013 (UTC)

There should be some mention about how the digital copy wouldn't affect the market as much, thereby making their intent null, and also the fact that burning a kindle as opposed to burning a book would actually increase the cost. --Lackadaisical (talk) 18:25, 22 November 2013 (UTC)

Buy it, but put it on a cheap, $1.00 flash drive then it costs less, but still emits fumes

I guess they should have just pirated the digital copy around (thus 'burning' it and spreading it at the same time) 07:19, 22 January 2014 (UTC)

",,,most of which were based on violent actions against minorities." Actually, most of the recent ones were violent actions performed by radical minorities. At least in the US. -- 14:39, 17 August 2020 (UTC)

The popularization of e-books will soon end physical book burnings141.101.96.198 14:05, 20 November 2022 (UTC)