This is something I've thought about a lot, too. Until extremely recently, I bought hardcover books just to have them on the shelf in the long term.
Moving across the state made me realize that while having a flashy hard cover on my shelf is nifty, it's a pain in the rear to move. Further, it's harder to just bring those along to read whenever. Lastly, while it's nice to show 'em off, it also means you're paying to store your stuff, a concept I'm no longer so keen on.
So I am working on the transition to ebooks, and yeah, I'd like to be able to keep them effectively forever, since I can do that with a paper book. HOWEVER, I don't expect the same out of any of my other electronic content.
I replaced my cassettes, I replaced my VHS tapes, and I figure I'll be changing DVDs to digital hard drives in five years or so.
So I guess the thing is, having agreed to go digital with my content, I've also had to accept that books are no longer permanent, and to see my book collection, you need to hop online (eventually). I've more or less made peace with that, even if I still struggle with the idea just a bit.
Love to hear what others think.
what happens the day that Barnes and Noble ceases to exist, my Nook dies, I can't find one on Ebay to take its place and the PC/iPad/Mac/Linux eReader doesn't support the DRM on a book I purchased 10 years ago?
In the near- and mid-term, I expect that Adobe EPUB will be usable on a wide variety of reader hardware and software. In the mid-term, the B&N DRM is finally beginning to spread out into other devices as they incorporate the latest Adobe Reader Mobile release.
But your 10-year figure is when I think the crystal ball does start to get hazy.Harv2000 wrote:
I have made the choice to go electronic with my books, the question of longevity of that electronic file has been and continues to be a red flag for me.
I'm going to agree with Trebro: you have to look at e-books like you do music and DVDs, not like you do print books. Vinyl records got replaced by CDs. CDs got replaced by MP3s. I've got a box full of vinyl LPs, but haven't had a turntable in a decade. Anything I really want to listen to, I rebought on CD. And now I don't even buy the CDs any more.
VHS tapes got replaced by DVDs, so if you had a VHS movie you really liked, you had to go buy it in DVD. If you replaced your DVDs with HD-DVD, you got stung big-time. Now DVDs are being replaced by Blu-Ray, so if you have a DVD you really like you might want to get it in Blu-Ray (fortunately, Blu-Ray players can play DVDs).
Unlike print books, there's no particular reason that an e-book would ever "go out of print". It'll probably be available for repurchase in the latest most wonderfullest format for a very long time.
It's the "content distribution" model of the 21st Century: the same content can be resold to the same consumer a number of times as formats change.
Another possibility is if sometime between now and whenever our e-books become unreadable, either Congress amends the DMCA to permit consumer circumvention of DRM when necessary to continue to read an e-book, or the Librarian of Congress makes it an exemption.
Yeah, like that's going to happen.