Bodice ripper ripper

Business took the editorial us to the administrative offices of the junior, bigger, richer library up the street yesterday. There was a “crikey this town is too bleeding small” moment as we cooled our heels in the heel cooling area where the decoration is a collection of portraits of all the Cincinnati Public Librarians including Carl Vitz, the Minnesotan who made Woody Garber’s sleek mid-century main library happen and whose historian son Bob we had just left in our own senior, smaller, poor but honest library where he was continuing the word by word crawl through the Mercantile minutes since the beginning of Mercantile time, a labor that he had begun months ago with the idea of updating the very slim existing histories of the Venerable Institution.

We had made the trek up Walnut to talk about this year’s book festival with Kim Fender, the present Librarian. Once we had dealt with the festival Ms Fender wondered if we would like to see their latest gizmo, a state-of-the-art book scanning device and we said you bet. Book scanning devices are what all those subcontinentals and Middle-Imperials in the employ of Google use to work their way through the collections of the half-dozen major libraries that signed onto Google’s control of the universe project that will turn every one of their books into binary bits. We had imagined that a book scanning device would be something sleek and grey and intimidating, but the real thing is strangely – well – dorky. It has to be. It’s an automatic page turner and snapshot device that looks like just that, amusingly reminiscent of turn-of-the-twentieth century printing presses, Rube Goldbergish and deeply unsleek. But just because we found it slightly wacky doesn’t mean that we weren’t immediately and powerfully seized with bookish gadget envy.

We went back down Walnut Street to the ML where Professor Vitz was beavering through the year 1876 and fired up the laptop to price similar gizmos, quickly locating something called the Atiz Booksnap. The Booksnap looks sort of like the high-speed scanner at the Public only not quite as weird except for its marketing slogan “It’s not a scanner It’s a book ripper,” which gave us the heebie-jeebies.

-Nemo Wolfe

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Published in: on June 24, 2008 at 3:17 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. “It’s a ripper of a scanner” would have been better, assuming the Aussie use of “ripper” (great; fantastic) as in Lleyton Hewitt’s “This one’s a real ripper” after his 2002 Wimbledon championship.

    Now that I think of it I would only hire Aussie marketers because Australia is #1 when it comes to colorful phrases.


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