Today is World Book Day: imagine a bookless world

Today is World Book Day: imagine a bookless world

Today (April 23rd) is World Book Day, observed since 1995 by many countries around the world. In addition to a good

official site

Amazon has been promoting it for several days, and also has its own

Amazon World Book Day page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping* ((and Amazon recommends three book related ones on that page)))

There are so many positive things about books for society (in addition to us as individuals), and that got me thinking.

Imagine that a wand was waved, and all of the good effects from books disappeared.

In this thought experiment, it’s not that books (or the written language, for that matter) never developed.

It’s a takeaway. Good effects which had happened are simply subtracted from the equation.

What would change?

I need to make a quick working definition of a “book” before I go ahead.

“A book is a substantial set of verbal statements which are preserved in a way that they can be consumed by someone independent of their creator.”

Yes, that will work for me for now. 🙂 I wouldn’t consider a single five line poem a book, but I would consider an audiobook a book…verbal can mean spoken or written. The odd part, I suppose, would be separating this definition of a book from, say, an album.

So, let’s look at some effects of a bookless world:

Social Movements

Many years ago, I was working on a show called Freedom From Fear TV (or F3TV), which was a mix of comedy and surrealism. Well, working is perhaps misleading, because it was a public access show (meaning we didn’t get paid). 😉 One sketch I wrote was about the President declaring a “War on Books” and explaining why to the country. At one point, the President help up Uncle Tom’s Cabin and said something like, “It was a book which started the Civil War…” That’s hyperbole for comedic effect, but it certainly influenced the timing and heightened abolitionist feeling.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson similarly sparked the environmental movement.

The list would be long: for one, Upton Sinclair’s 1906 exposure of the meatpacking industry, The Jungle, brought about big changes.


This might seem similar to social movements, but one thing that occurred to me was the people who have been elected President who had significantly selling books before they won. The last three Presidents all fit that category. Many Presidents have written books after leaving office, but there are indications that being an author (even years before entering the race) helped them win.

Books about politicians have also shaped the public’s impression of them…sometimes for good, sometimes for ill.


Great science communicators have been able to affect…the very direction of society. A book is very different from a lecture, or a movie. The self-paced consumption means that people of different aptitudes can all understand a book in a way different from everything else. If the ideas expressed in Charles Darwins’ Origin of Species had been done in any other known way (and some elements had been floating around), could they possibly have changed the perception of the place of humans in the world for so many the way that the book did?


This one is obvious…”The Bible” even means “The Book” or “The Books”, and that’s just one of the guiding books for major religions.


Without books, I think many people would think of movies as what would have stood in their place (although TV is perhaps gaining, and music also is a mass medium). Many of our most popular movies are based on books: The Lord of the Rings; The Hunger Games; Gone with the Wind; and so on. In today’s Hollywood, we rarely see original works at the top of the box office (outside of animation, where originals still often top the charts).


Whether it’s romantic relationships, familial ones, or even business, books have greatly influenced how humans interact: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie; Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray; Baby and Child Care by Dr. (Benjamin) Spock; and so many more!

A couple of the books I’ve listed so far are fiction, but I would be remiss not to bring up how fiction also impacts people. Science fiction has inspired many, and in some cases, led them into impactful careers in science. Many readers have taken inspiration from the actions of characters, or sought to avoid their failings.

Books are both powerful transferrers of information and invokers of emotion. They multiply the impact of a single individual in ways that shape the world…

I was curious what Amazon would do with today’s

Kindle Daily Deal (at AmazonSmile…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

being that it is World Book Day, but they also had such a good sale yesterday!

They decided to do “highly rated” Kindle books, and again, there are some great titles! There are books from: David Baldacci (4.6 stars on a scale 1 to 5 with over 2,500 customer reviews); Faye Kellerman; One Second After by William Fortschen (4.5 stars, over 7,000 reviews); The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver; Joyce Carol Oates, Nelson DeMille, Jade Chang..and Abandon by Blake Crouch (the Crouch book is also available t no additional cost to members of Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)).


My Amazon Giveaways: 


One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

by my sibling, Kris Calvin

Ten winners


Start:Apr 8, 2017 12:05 PM PDT
End:Apr 23, 2017 11:59 PM PDT


CelebriDucks Rocky Horror Picture Show Dr Frank-N-Furter RUBBER DUCK Tim Curry (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*

1 winner


Requirements for participation:
Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
18+ years of age (or legal age)
Tweet a message: “Happy birthday, @timothycurry! Tim Curry born April 19 1946 #giveaway”

Start:Apr 19, 2017 7:04 AM PDT
End:Apr 26, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


5 Responses to “Today is World Book Day: imagine a bookless world”

  1. Phink Says:

    I think you mentioned recently about how the Fire TV and Sticks were back ordered. I just checked and they still are. However, there is a way to get one. DirecTV Now is offering customers a free Fire TV stick when they prepay for 1 month of DirecTV Now. If it can be any package then 1 month is $35 which is cheaper than the stick itself. I was trying to decide if I should put a link to DirecTV Now or the Amazon page. I think I’ll link the Amazon page and if someone wants to see the cable lineup options for DirecTV now it should be easy to find.

    On that note there is starting to be a lot of competition for cord cutters in the arena of internet cable. Hulu TV is going to launch any day and very well might give away a ROKU, Stick or something. DirecTV recently was giving away a $120 Apple TV with a 3 month prepay so this type of promotion is not unheard of.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Phink!

      We watch Hulu more than we watch Netflix (at least at home together), and I’m pretty happy with it now, at least for the TV we watch. We’re watching a show right now that was on last night, and a late night show is usually available the next morning. I don’t watch a lot of sports. I do watch the Oscars live, and I watch news live, but outside of that, I can’t see paying something like $40 a month for live TV. I watch Survivor, and sometimes I watch it live, but when I don’t, I mirror my phone to my Fire TV (from the CBS site).

      Well, it’s possible that the device is backordered for DirecTV subscribers, too. Just because they will give you one doesn’t mean they can give it to you right away. 🙂 It is possible, though, that they did stockpile them or that they have a priority in the supply chain.

      We pay for Hulu and Netflix, and then we also have a basic cable package…but that’s really because it is bundled with our internet. We don’t have a landline, so that’s not part of it.

      • Phink Says:

        What you said about it being back ordered at DirecTV is true. I thought of that after I posted the comments above. However, they have been running this on their site for a few weeks. I just did not think of mentioning it to you till I saw it on Amazon’s site. I went to DirecTV Now’s site before writing the above and there was no mention of it there anymore. After thinking about it that might mean it’s now only good with the Amazon link.

  2. Phink Says:

    Woops. I forgot the link. Here it is

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: