Although I’m fascinated with the escalating availability and versatility of electronic gadgets, I keep a pretty simple inventory. Recently I added an ereader to the stable, and it took me about 3 pages to realize I have a new addiction.
I took my little ereader on a date of sorts to a local bookstore. Its face lit up when I took it out of the case, and it realized it was among friends. Even though I plan to borrow most of my ebooks, I had to buy just one (well, two) to see what it felt like. I have to admit, it felt good, the ease of getting it, the lightness of holding it while I read, and knowing I won’t have to dust it on my shelf. I just can’t lend it to friends. I could lend them my entire ereader, but then I’d have to buy another, since I’m not sure I can be without it. Publishers of electronic books want to make sure that we can’t send their books willy-nilly through cyberspace, and I understand they are entitled to a sound economic model.
Digital rights management is a controversial debate, and libraries are part of it. Some publishers refuse to publish books electronically, even though I have yet to meet anyone who’s figured out how to share them illegally. I’m sure there’s someone out there, but there always have been those who pirated, and the publishing economy has survived. We may need to develop a new model to work with ebooks, and I applaud the publishers who are trying to make this happen. I applaud even louder for the SOPA protestors who demonstrated what happens when we overreact to online piracy.
In the meantime, enjoy those who do provide electronic access by using your local public libraries’ collections of downloadable ebooks. No snow, no traffic, and no searching the shelves. Directly from our e-stacks to your home, downloadable books are environmentally friendly, convenient, and fun.