One More Reasons to Go Print: Sharing

I have a few friends in a never-ending book swap.  Kathy and I leave books on each other's doorstep, and Carole and I trade huge armfuls when we visit.

I'm sure publishers and booksellers are aghast at such activity.  Loaning books?  Where's the profit in that?

I will tell you: it's in the magic of finding a new author, in reading a book I might otherwise not have picked up myself, in introducing another friend to another author.  The initial profit is low for the bookseller, but the long-term benefits are grand.

It's like borrowing a book at the library that turns into a sale: if I know I will love it, I will purchase my own copy so David and I both can read it at our leisure.  It's like picking up a paperback at the second-hand shop: more eyes garner more purchases of current, past and future titles.

Apparently Amazon recently figured out this whole scam for its e-books — and implemented a lending program amongst its Kindles.  Rules are strict and Amazon creates its own restrictions.  Like computer software, access to an e-book can be controlled by the very machine that makes it available.

Now, a book's life does not end when its pages are warped and its spine bloated from being dropped one too many times in the pool, or the 40-year-old paperback that loses its pages, one by one, on a windy day at Dewey Beach.

Instead, the "real" owner cuts off access, or removes it entirely, from your library without your permission. 1984 or Animal Farm, anyone?  No, really: Amazon erased these Orwell titles from Kindles in July 2009; read the New York Times article.

I watched a woman reading an e-book in great comfort today at the bagel shop, and I wondered what it would be like to have a large portion of my library digitized.  This isn't idle fancy: Carole and I will finish packing those very tomes this weekend, and I lost count of the total number of boxes — in part because a portion of my library already is in storage in anticipation of my upcoming move.

Would my life be substantially different if a slim machine held 3,600 titles for me?  Sure.

With a Kindle, I couldn't have a stack of books at Carole's house, awaiting their return to my library (after the move, of course).  I wouldn't step out of my door to see a lovely pastel-covered book on my "welcome" mat with Kathy's bookmark ready for my use.  David couldn't read Barney's Version after I'm done with it — and I couldn't be done with it in the first place because it's not available as an e-book.

My library would be sparse and poor, and my friends empty-handed, if we went "e" — so don't count me in any time soon.  I'll be the one with the swollen copy of Pride and Prejudice poolside.  I'll let you have it when I'm done.


Popular posts from this blog

Chris' Fill in the Gaps Top 100 List — Final!

Book/Reading-Related Holidays List

Looking for Books in a Border-less World