Friday, November 17, 2017
News Roundup

For oath of office, e-readers are replacing books

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Paper books are on the decline. In 2008, the market for consumer print books was north of $15 billion. Now it's more like $10 billion — and that number is expected to continue falling until it reaches parity with e-book sales at about $8 billion in 2017.

So it should come as no surprise that, with e-books on the rise, public officials have started using them to be sworn in. On Monday, Suzi LeVine became the first U.S. ambassador to take the oath of office on an e-reader.

LeVine was sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden as the new U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. During the ceremony, she held her hand on a Kindle Touch whose screen displayed a digital copy of the U.S. Constitution.

It's not the first time that a digital device has replaced its dead-tree predecessor in a swearing-in.

In February, New Jersey firefighters were sworn in on an iPad edition of the Bible when nobody could find a version in print.

The month before, a Long Island, N.Y., official did the same.

Will it be long now before a president takes the oath of office by resting his or her hand on a bunch of pixels?

There will probably always be those who prefer the nostalgic choice. Like John Brennan, the director of the CIA, who was sworn in last year on an original draft of the Constitution. But the private ceremony caused an unexpected ruckus when critics complained that the draft did not contain the Bill of Rights.

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