Monday, January 4, 2010

eBooks - a love/hate relationship

So, I was thinking the other day about eBooks, and my love/hate relationship with them. On the one hand, how cool is it that we can carry around any number of books that we want all packed nicely into something as small as our cell phones? On the other, nothing can replace the feeling (at least for me) of curling up with a really good book and a cup of coffee (or hot beverage of your choice on a cold, winter's night), a feeling that you simply don't get curling up with your eBook reader and a cup of coffee. Just the feel of a book, the typography, the smell of the ink and paper, both in new and old books (each with their own distinct flavor of smell) are all so integral to the book as a whole, you simply can't replicate that feeling at all. So, with all the convenience of eBooks aside, I simply can't get into them. Sure, they tell us the same stories as their printed counterpart, but there is something just too sterile about the whole thing.

Then in a random string of thinking about this, the other thought that occurred to me was this: If we can get free digital copies of movies when we buy certain DVDs that are downloadable to our computers, phones, etc., why can't we also get the digital copy of books when we purchase the physical copy? I know for a fact that I may never buy an eBook on its own because I will always want the physical copy. I also know that I've purchased several movies on DVD and have also downloaded the digital copy for play on my laptop or iPhone, and would gladly do the same with digital copies of books that I buy so that I could carry the digital version on my iPhone while I'm out and about, but then have the physical copy to settle in with at the end of the day. Why does the book industry not offer the same perks with certain book purchases that the film industry offers to its consumers?

Random thinking for the day, I know, but this is the sort of thing that keeps me up at night.

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