I just read an interesting article about E-books catching on with readers. This is an exciting time but also a very frightening time. As the digital age comes to fruition one has to sit back and wonder?… what is going to happen if the power goes out? Meaning what happens if one of these doomsday scenarios happens. We will lose everything. That is a scary thought. If printed books go the way of the VHS or cassette tape and digital content becomes more main stream then how are we going to preserve our past for the future?

Let me just be clear for a minute, I am a geek and I love technology but I am also very conscious of what relying on to much tech can do (being that I just had my laptop crash on me about a month ago and my wife’s crash about a year ago due to a virus). For some reason the more we advance the more people rebel against that advancement (hence creating virus’, the bastards). Putting all of our past, present and future knowledge on digital media and not in a more tangible form could end in tragedy (as in someone saying “Hey wouldn’t it be cool to pull the plug on the world?” yeah how about it wouldn’t!). Anyway…The practicality of digitizing books is there, as it would make them readily available to millions in seconds but it could also be lost just as quickly. Having more than one way to distribute books would also help out struggling authors since getting published is the hardest part, next to writing the book. But with that, it could also muddle the waters with people (didn’t call them authors for a reason) who aren’t talented but think they are.

I am hoping that the published word and their digital copies coexist forever. It is always nice to have a variety of ways to enjoy a good book. My library at home consists of just about 200 books, 5 or so CD audiobooks, and an mp3 player with 10 or so books/stories. I would never want to see a book lost forever and if you have the hard back book, and its digital partner then you can preserve your library for generations. Books become fragile with time and need much care, whereas e-books do not. But one has to worry about losing their content should anything happen to their E-reader. Hopefully the companies thought of this and allow for free download of already purchased content. I am hoping this is the case as I am looking into purchasing an E-book for the holidays. Being as I had 2 laptops crap out on me this year, luckily only one with total loss of files, I have become acutely aware of how easily one can lose everything with a simple system error or a bastardly created virus.

But E-books have their place in our ever evolving world, and I still enjoy my trips to the bookstore from time to time. I am sure everything will work out and I am sure there are people out there (a whole lot smarter than me) thinking exactly what I am thinking and working on a solution. And for the record….. E-books should not cost the same as a printed book. I haven’t priced them yet but audiobooks should be ashamed. The CD audiobooks I can see costing a little more than hard covers due to paying the actor, production costs, etc. but an MP3 download should not cost the same as a CD version. I’m just saying they need to keep it fair LOL.

*Update:
I posted this almost a year ago. E-books are less expensive than physical books. After doing some research, I have found that Barnes and Nobles and Amazon allow you to redownload an already purchased E-book if anything should happen to your E-reader or the file gets lost somehow. Once you purchase the book it is yours for life. Some actually let you lend out your E-books to other people, although I believe it has a time restriction, not really sure. I still have not purchased an E-reader yet but I am slowly climbing down off the fence. I have heard good things about them from people who have purchased them. I don’t know, maybe that will change this holiday season.

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