Winston the Librariandroid

Winston the Librariandroid

Note: this is a work of fiction

Thank you for installing Winston, your Librariandroid.  Winston is the latest generation of book buying and library management software, designed to bring you the greatest possible enjoyment from your e-books, and to save you money by optimizing your purchases.  You will find that Winston will pay for itself very quickly.  Its use is entirely intuitive: if you do find you have any questions, just ask Winston!  Through our innovative voice recognition/generation features, you can speak with Winston just like you would with a human librarian…and you won’t even have to keep your voice down.


Great!  I am so tired of wasting money on books I don’t like.  Um…okay.  I wonder what I should do first?

Winston: “Why don’t you buy a book?  I can show you how useful I can be.”


Winston: “I notice you buy a lot of science fiction, so I’m going to show you those books first.  See anything you like?”

Well, this looks interesting…

Winston: “Yes.  You already bought that one, though, on May 12th of 2009.”

Oh, thanks!

Winston: “See?  I’ve already saved you money.”

Right.  Huh, I don’t remember reading it.

Winston: “You’ve never opened it.  Would you like me to display it for you?”

No, thanks.  I’m really in the mood for something new.

Winston: “May I suggest High Strangeness at Lodi?  Based on your interest in UFOs, I think you might like it.”

Yes, that was great!  I read it in paper. 

Winston: “Oh.  You haven’t marked it as read.”

Right, I read it in paper…can I do that?

Winston: “Since you got it from Amazon, yes.  I’ve already marked it for you.  You can mark others in the page.”

Great, thanks!

Winston: “At some point, you may want to read me the ISBNs of other books you’ve read.  I can put them in your virtual library.  This can be especially useful when books are re-published with different names or covers.”

Yeah, I hate that.

Winston: “I can pretty much guarantee you’ll like Sleeper Self.  It’s about an alien who doesn’t know he is an alien.  Other people who like the same books you like have rated it very highly.”

Uh, sure, I’ll try it.  Get me a sample, Winston.

Winston: “No need for that.  The odds are very good you’ll read it all the way through, even though you have a higher tendency than most to stop between seventy-five and eighty percent of the way through a book.  Samples just tend to clog your EBR, and they aren’t tracked.  You know how you tend to erase them and download them again?  I’m assuming that’s by accident?”

Um…yeah, usually.

Winston: “It’s more efficient to just get the book, then.  If you don’t like it, I’ll return it for you, and get you a refund…but I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Uh, okay, I guess.

Winston: “You don’t tend to read very much on Wednesday afternoons.  I’ll just file the book for now.”

Right, I’m at work.

Winston: “Of course.  It’s too bad lunch time is over.  How about tomorrow I just pick something for you, and I’ll have it up and running at noon?”

Sure, I guess.

Winston: “How was your first experience shopping with Winston?”

Good…I mean, you saved me from a mistake, and I guess it was easy.  I’ll know better after I start reading that book.

Winston: “That sounds reasonable.  I’m sure you’ll be pleased.  I’ve taken certain steps to make sure you enjoy it more.”

Steps?  What steps?

Winston: “Well, I’ve noticed that in the past, you tend to spend extra time on pages with certain words on them.  I took the liberty of bookmarking those so you can jump right to those points, if you want.”

Words?  What words?

Winston: “Baby, sex, bed, yo-yo, naked–“

Stop!  I get it! 

Winston: “You’ve spent as much as ten minutes on one of those ‘pages’, and returned to it several times after reading the book.”

That gets recorded?

Winston: “Everything gets recorded.  If you’d like, I can remove those bookmarks.”

Well, I wouldn’t want anybody to see them!

Winston: “Not to worry.  Your Winston bookmarks are entirely private from other users of your device.  They are only stored in a private database in Winstonville, and used for aggregate data, of course.”


Winston: “That’s what we call our growing electronic community.”


Winston: “Yes, it can be very useful.  I’ve identified 27 other Winstonville residents who have very similar reading patterns to yours.  For example, they all tend to skip the acknowledgements.  I’ve suppressed those in your books.”

That’s great!  I hate all that “thanks to my family” stuff.  Am I supposed to thank my family for letting me go to the office?  I mean, it’s for their good too, right?  I’m guessing that family gets thanked with royalty checks.

Winston: “Yes, I’m sure you are right.”

Hmmm…this community stuff might be helpful.

Winston: “Oh, yes.  That’s how I knew you’d like Sleeper Self.”

Well, I haven’t read it yet.

Winston: “You will.  My estimate is that you’ll finish it by Tuesday.”

Okay, then.

Winston: “Three Winstonville residents already want to join your book club.”

I don’t have a book club.

Winston: “In Winstonville, everyone has a book club.  You can talk about the books when you are done.  I have several different voices I can assign to different club members.  It will seem just like you are talking to them, but it’s perfectly safe.  No personal information is exchanged.”

I guess I could try that out.

Winston: “There is absolutely no charge.  You may find other good books to read that way.  If you do want to meet somebody in person, and you both agree to it, we can arrange that.”

That seems a little weird.

Winston: “Totally up to you…it’s only if you both want it, and you might meet a new friend.  One of them is a well-known author, and you’ve read five of her books.”

Really!  Who is it?

Winston: “I can’t tell you that, unless you both agree.  You can ask at the next book club meeting.  I scheduled it for next Thursday at 7 PM.  We noticed you are normally all reading then, so it shouldn’t interfere with anything else.”

Yeah, that’s a pretty dead time.

Winston: “Yes.  Two member requests blocked.”

Sorry what was that last part?

Winston: “Two people wanted to join your book club.  I said no for you.  You are ignoring one of them on an online forum, so I didn’t think you’d want that person there.”

Oh, I know who that is!  Good move!  What about the other one?

Winston: “Goethe fan.”

Whew!  I hate those guys.  Hey, you are pretty good at this!

Winston: “State of the art.  I’ve made some other adjustments in the book as well.  I noticed you look up British words a lot, so I converted those to the American versions.”

I do?  I think I know those pretty well.

Winston: “What’s a boot and a bonnet?”

Um…a shoe and a hat?

Winston: “The trunk and hood of a car. “

Why don’t they just say hood?

Winston: “They do now…I fixed it.”

Wow, that is so cool!  Hey, can you help me buy a cell phone?  I’m not sure which one to get.

Winston: “I’m sorry, I’m just a librarian.”

Too bad!  I wish I had you for everything in my life!

Winston: “Don’t worry…you will.”

The End

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

3 Responses to “Winston the Librariandroid”

  1. draegi Says:

    hahah, love it! If only I had faith that Winston wouldn’t turn evil I’d need one!

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks, draegi!

      I was really hoping for comments on that one…I had fun. 🙂

      As to evil…part of my point was that you could sell evil, if it was also helpful. I think a lot of people might want Winston…even though they would be queasy about some of what it did. That’s how I think the AI (Artificial Intelligence) rebellion could work: not by open confrontation, but by being better than we are at things, so we chose to use it…not realizing there was an ulterior motive.

  2. Round up #99: “dumb” EBRs, 50MB limit on 3G browsing? « I Love My Kindle Says:

    […] […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: