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posted: 6/7/2014 8:01 AM

New U.S. ambassador takes oath on an e-reader

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  • Suzi LeVine is sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden as the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein on a digital Constitution on May 30 in Washington.

      Suzi LeVine is sworn in by Vice President Joe Biden as the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein on a digital Constitution on May 30 in Washington.
    state department

 
By The Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- 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.

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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 official did the same.

It won't be long now before we see a president take the oath of office by resting his hand on a bunch of pixels.

Sure, we'll always have 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.

If only the Founders had written in PDFs.

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