Read My Slides: Books Are Dead

Read My Slides: Books Are Dead

The Romanslide was a so-called slide-reader: an e-reader avant la lettre, from the pre-digital era. In the 1950s it was considered the pinnacle of modern technology and early adopters were quite keen on burning their paper books and replacing them with slides. These could be projected on any wall or a white screen –not included.

A single slide was about as thick as thirty pages –depending on paper thickness- and about six times smaller in surface area than the average paper book. Since one slide could contain no more than six pages of text without becoming illegible, slide-reading offered only minimal advantages as far as storage room was concerned.

What's in the box? A: A projector - B: A dead cat - C: A live cat - D: A head

Also, it lacked a few important benefits of paper books. It proved quite impossible to slide-read outside, particularly during the daytime. Some users did take their projector and projection screen to the beach, along with a black tent to block out the sun. Some manufacturers designed their slide-readers to be portable. The San-Ei Sangyo Romanslide Z, for instance, came in a convenient carrying box and had a folding front lens mechanism that made it a couple of inches shorter. Which didn’t really help much, considering you still had to haul along the immense screen and sunblocking tent for daytime outdoor slide-reading.

Advanced slide-readers featured slide holders for dozens of slides. The San-ei Sangyo Romanslide Z. however, was a simpler model, requiring manual input of each individual slide. Regardless of slide input system, somehow there’d always be slides that were positioned upside up –which was the wrong way around, as they had to be upside down due to complicated lens physics. Or there’d be one that was backwards, resulting in a mirror image. Or there’d be an unsightly hair right across the pages.

Thankfully, all these problems have been resolved with modern e-readers. The only disadvantage these still have, compared to old-fashioned paper books, is that you cannot burn them in times of need. Well, you can, but you’ll die from the toxic fumes.