Are Books Becoming Obsolete?

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Introversion

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All excellent points. Part of that ephemeral nature is what makes digital books so very powerful, as well, though. I can read the same digital "copy" on my phone, iPad, or computer, anywhere I may be -- whether in line, at the library, on my lunch, or at the beach. The fluidity and flexibility comes at a cost.
Absolutely agree with that! Also, I’m a packrat by nature, and I hate buying a book I don’t like and then needing to find “shelf space” (i.e., a box in the basement 😂) or a new home for it. Ebooks let me buy more books guilt- and hassle-free.
 
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Introversion

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I've actually purchased e versions of some of my old favorites, as they make for easier re-reading
Me too. I can’t count the number of times an itch to reread something strikes, and the choice is: 1) take 30 minutes digging through mounds of basement boxes to find it, or 2) click!

Conversely, there are books I own that have gone out of print and were never digitized, so hooray for boxes in the basement. 😛
 
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Nancy Golden

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We love our brick and mortar book stores and holding physical books in our hands. While books cost more than Amazon (and we buy our fair share on Amazon) I have a personal goal of purchasing a book every time I go to a book store in order to support them. There is something magical about spending an afternoon wandering around a book store, thumbing through the pages of books.
 

PraiseRao

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I just wanted to add to everyone concerned of losing their ebooks, is that you can make backups (or better yet a few backups) of your ebooks. They don't even take up that much space and you can use Calibre if you need to as well it's an excellent program.
 

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I just wanted to add to everyone concerned of losing their ebooks, is that you can make backups (or better yet a few backups) of your ebooks. They don't even take up that much space and you can use Calibre if you need to as well it's an excellent program.
This does absolutely no good in terms of books with DRM.

Amazon, Google, and Apple have all bricked books purchased by users, for various reasons, without refund or notice.

When you "buy" an ebook, you are not actually buying the file that contains the book. You do not own the ebook, any more than you own the software you buy. What you buy is a license, with very specific rights and limitations. A license that may be revoked.

With DRM if the encoding mechanism or key is non-functional for whatever reason, the book is unreadable. Some of us have been using and buying ebooks since the early 1990s. I lost hundreds of dollars of ebooks because they used an early Adobe DRM system, and Adobe discontinued the particular DRM, thereby making the books no longer readable once Adobe removed the server that authenticated the licenses.

This is not unique to Adobe.
 
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PraiseRao

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Interesting, in general I tend to strip drm. While I understand it is illegal, you can remove my post if you want to. It just does not seem right that they can do something like that.
 

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Yep I have saved all the ebooks I've purchased, but can't access most of them :(
 

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With DRM if the encoding mechanism or key is non-functional for whatever reason, the book is unreadable. Some of us have been using and buying ebooks since the early 1990s. I lost hundreds of dollars of ebooks because they used an early Adobe DRM system, and Adobe discontinued the particular DRM, thereby making the books no longer readable once Adobe removed the server that authenticated the licenses.

This is not unique to Adobe.

:oops:

That's absolutely insane. Is this still an ongoing issue with ebooks, or was just a problem earlier on? (Namely, could something like that happen with an ebook bought from Amazon today?)
 

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I bought a heap of books from one vendor, but when they went bust I can't access any of them :(
 
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:oops:

That's absolutely insane. Is this still an ongoing issue with ebooks, or was just a problem earlier on? (Namely, could something like that happen with an ebook bought from Amazon today?)
It still happens. The first widely publicized incident was in 2010.

It's perfectly legal, and all the other ebook vendors can and have done the same thing. This also applies to digital music or video.

We license; we don't own the ebooks or movies or music. They can be removed from devices or they can simply remove the ability to access the file on your device via DRM.

The books I really care about I also buy in hard copy. I also buy physical media of music or video that I find important.
 

Maryn

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I've also heard horror stories about erotic fiction being reported to Amazon, which apparently errs on the side of caution rather than investigate. They have removed access to sold copies and eliminated it from the search function (unless the potential buyer knows full title and author name) or no longer sell it at all, depending on the nature of the complaint. So people who bought erotica in ebook form and paid for it no longer have it.

The first time it happened to me, I thought I'd done something to my Kindle app, but no... At least it was at a time when I wasn't spending a lot on books.

Maryn, who can't read erotica while writing her own
 
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lizmonster

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I've had it happen with non-erotica, and not on Amazon - Apple's pulled books that have been removed from their stores for whatever reason. I've also had it happen with music.

Digital is hugely convenient, and better (for me) in a lot of ways. But it is a rental model, at least as currently implemented.
 
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ChaseJxyz

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Google constantly "sunsets" products. Apple changes file types or connectors without regard to what everyone else is doing. Your account can be banned for whatever reason, justified or no. eBooks also generally have protections that keep you from copy/pasting from them or printing them (to paper, PDF or otherwise)...digital files are in no way permanent, which sucks.

But there's also physical books that were printed once several decades ago and are very popular in certain communities but, whenever a copy DOES go up for sale, it's $300-500...so I may or may not have PDF versions of these books saved on my hard drive, because there is no legal way for me to get ahold of them. These are ~100 page full-color books, so printing them would be incredibly expensive, so there's little chance they'll ever be re-printed.

Piracy is not a price issue, it is an access issue. DRM creates pirates, censorship creates pirates, region-locking creates pirates. Game of Thrones was the most pirated show because many people didn't have the ability to get the stupid expensive cable package that had HBO. But once they launched HBO Go Now Max+, it was only the most pirated show in countries like India, China and Australia....aka countries that don't have HBO Go Now Max+ or they release it later than everyone else because it needs to be reviewed/censored. Books are no different.
 
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Cassiopeia

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I was into ordering digital copies for a couple years but I have stopped. I buy the hardcover books again as I want to keep them. While I know Amazon will most likely be around for a very long time I still don't want to rely on my digital purchases always being available. Besides, part of reading for me is the paper and ink that I smell as I read. :)
 

Maryn

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I think the board's mods are inclined to let a remark made in 2013 go by...
 
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Roxxsmom

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I love that this thread is eight years old. I want to be staggering back in and having it read to me in 2050. :granny:
:e2hammer:

You'd think I'd know to check the date of the original post when replying to a thread by now...

I have trouble finding threads or comments I posted a few weeks back and want to revisit for specific reasons, so I never cease to be amazed at the search skills of people who find old, buried threads that are years old!

I suppose everything is impermanent, unless it's carved in stone, and even stone melts. Even those gorgeous cave wall paintings they used to write books when I was a kid (oh wait, I'm not THAT old, am I) are fading.

It's a matter of how quickly they are lost, I guess. I have a bunch of those old Daw mass market paperbacks (and other imprints too), some going back to the 70s or 80s. A number of them are falling apart now, due to brittle glue, and the font is too darn small for me to comfortably read anyway. I keep the ones that are of great sentimental value (from my dad's old PB collection) or aren't available as ebooks, but it's definitely easier to read the e copies. I still do buy new hard cover or trade PBs from favorite authors, though, and of course books where the art or photos are important work best as larger hardcovers.

If we do blow ourselves to smithareens, or even if modern civilization collapses more gently, future anthropologists may have to content themselves with reconstructing our history and culture from epitaphs on monuments and gravestones. Probably just as well, because a more detailed account would be rather embarrassing, wouldn't it?
 
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mccardey

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:e2hammer:

You'd think I'd know to check the date of the original post when replying to a thread by now...

I have trouble finding threads or comments I posted a few weeks back and want to revisit for specific reasons, so I never cease to be amazed at the search skills of people who find old, buried threads that are years old!
Oh it's not a zombie thread. It bubbles away quite happily. It's one of my favourite ones, because I have a terror of books becoming obsolete and I didn't think anyone else worried about it enough. (I actually have rooms full of books I've collected that I'm keeping for posterity - yanno - just in case books do become obsolete. Girls Own Annual 1946 - that sort of thing.)

When I was a very little person, an unusually kind nun saw me getting teased by playground kids because I used to hide behind a wall and read books at playtime. The kids thought I'd be punished, but the old nun was very sweet and just said "Books are good friends, aren't they? Better than some people are."

I really took that to heart in the way passionate five-year-olds do and it became a very big part of my security.(I've always been glad that it was books I loved and not something more useful in the playground and yet harder to explain, like, say weapons and explosives...)
 
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I bought a heap of books from one vendor, but when they went bust I can't access any of them :(
Fictionwise bought Peanut Press via buying eReader. B & N bought Fictionwise. Not all purchases actually transferred to B & N, so lots of customers lost books. I bought books from a small ebook re-publisher for the Palm PDA; they went under, and their ebooks went with them. They mostly published SF/F and the books eventually were available for Kindle and in ePUB format, and I bought them again.
 
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Ed_in_Bed

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There's something wholesome about shelves full of books though, don't you think? Even if it is a bit old fashioned and impractical. I've moved house 17 times in the last 25 yrs and never felt at home until I'd unpacked my books (even though I've read less than half of them, being an adept proponent of tsundoku.)
 

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I like being able to enlarge/adjust the font on Kindle to suit my declining eyesight. I like the search function and the ability to store many books on it.

When researching for a book I absolutely worship google and all of the readily available digital content out there from a wide variety of digital content providers.

Having said that, I still love bookstores and libraries. I don't use the Kindle as much as I used to, and am back in a library book-reading phase.

I tend towards insomnia at times. I've found that physical books outfitted with one of those little LED lights mounted on a flexible arm, clipped to the book are a good elixir for my bedtime routine.
 
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I was a hardcore physical book copy only fan for a long time. I always figured that, if I started reading books on Kindle, they would start to feel disposable to me, like so much streaming content does. Read once, never remembered.

Then...I ran out of bookshelf space. My shelves are full of everything I still love and reread often, some going back to my childhood. So, until I can afford a bigger house, Kindle became my only option for buying anything new. And what do you know...I was right. I've bought more books in the last 2 years than I have in the previous 5. And I dont think I've read more than a handful more than once, I couldn't even recall the titles of most if pressed. A waste of money.

Saying that, I've bought numerous paperbacks over the years, that I've also only read once, only mildly enjoyed, and have since donated following ruthless shelf pruning. So...that was a waste too, both of space and money.

I also only tend to buy paperbacks over hardback, because they take up less physical space and resources. But I hate when a new release comes out I'm excited for and I have to wait up to a year sometimes for the paperback copy.

So I've reached a compromise with myself. I buy on Kindle first. Then, if I truly wholeheartedly and devotedly and love the story and I definitely see me reading it multiple times again, I commit to buying the paperback a year later.
 

Catriona Grace

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I'm fairly new so hadn't read this thread. Over the last ten years, I have hauled thousands of books out of our house in an effort to make estate matters easier for our children when my husband and I go to the big library reading room in the sky. That's all well and good, but in that time dozens, if not hundreds, of other books have somehow made their way into the house. I don't buy fiction much unless I know I'll reread the book many times, but I am a sucker for books on mythology, folklore, costuming, and Gustav Klimt.
 

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