Tuesday, September 8, 2015

libraries

It seems like everywhere I turn people are downsizing. Many people because of the economy, others because they want to simplify their lives. Still others because they're pursing a dream, or different life goal. For whatever reason, I know many people who are giving away their books. 

I know, it makes me want to cry.

But, I can also understand it. Even before the move I had boxes of books I didn't have bookshelf room for.

I know these people, they like books, they still buy books, but they're downsizing their libraries. How does that work?

I came up with only one answer.

Ebooks.


Now, I love ebooks. I also love book books. They give me different reading experiences and they both help in different situations. But, I have to ask, are ebooks contributing to the  downsizing of personal physical libraries?

The answer I come up with is, yes.

My move would have been a lot harder if I didn't have a kindle. I don't have room for all, or even many, of my books in our interim apartment. I miss them, but I can deal. Mostly because I have a few hundred books on my kindle. Without those, this would have been a lot harder. A lot.

Ebooks are wonderful.

Except I still see a problem.

With books, when a person dies, their libraries can be shared, passed on to future generations. With ebooks, you're only buying a license to have a book. When you die that license expires and your books are gone. You could spend a fortune building an ebook library only to have it electronically disappear on your death, leaving the other readers in your life inheritance-less. So in a way, you're still downsizing.

Nothing is ever perfect, I guess people will do what adjust their library needs to their own situation. I'm still working on my situation but I expect it will be a mix of the two different formats. 

12 comments:

  1. I think nothing is ever perfect. I have been getting rid of a lot of old books we collected on meditation and other things that I know I won't read again. I'm really moving to simplify my life and possessions so I don't want to hang onto things I don't need or books I won't have time to read again. But I still love print books.

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    1. I have recently decided that after 16 years, I can finally get rid of some of the books I had at university.

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  2. The internet doesn't know when you've died. ;) I will pass my kindle on to future readers, if they want it.

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  3. My Kindle is filling up to replace my library. Yes, downsizing my library is sad and brings multiple tears to my eyes. My love of printed books hasn't died though. It doesn't help that my knitting group meets in BAM either. :(

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    1. I don't think love of books ever dies, but there are times when different formats fit our lives better.

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  4. I didn't know you forfeit your e-library when you die. I still prefer physical books, but I am running out of room and considering an ereader once I finish the current series I'm collecting. It's a lot like streaming, I see less of a need to buy DVDs when I can store it digitally.

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    1. I definitely think an ereader is worth it. It gives you different reading options, it saves room in your house and it makes it so much easier to travel. You can take your whole library with you! So no more arguing, I mean, discussing how many books you can take while traveling and 'forgetting' to pack things so you have more room for books. But they'll never replace books.

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    2. I feel the same way about digital movies. They are so convenient but there are things you have to be aware of. I don't know if digital movies have the same things with ebooks where you're buying a license to watch it, rather than buying the movie. And what happens to the account if you die? Also, we've run into a problem where some digital movies only allow you to download them onto 1 or 2 devices. Considering the lifetime of devices and how sometime it might be nice to have it available on a phone and sometimes on a laptop it could become a problem.

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  5. I fought reading e-books for the longest time. The main reason is that I stare at a computer screen for long enough during the day for work. I don't need to do that when I'm supposed to be "pleasure reading." Just in this past year though, I read a few books on Kindle, and it was quite a smooth reading experience. There is something comforting about having a home library, so I don't think I'd ever convert fully to e-books, even if I may buy them from time to time.

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  6. Interesting.. I never knew one loses the rights to an ebooks upon one's death (not that one would personally care :)

    Don't tell anyone, but I will always embrace ebooks for my business side, but I'll never own an ebook reader... only because I would miss the feel, smell and the story of a book (I'm a firm believer in battered-looking books :)

    Don't know if this helps, but I recycle the bottom 10 percent of my books once or twice a year... sometimes it's hard, but I know by donating my books, I'm giving someone else the chance to find a great read...

    Then I go nuts and buy some new books... my shelves are full again, and I'm a happy camper :)

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  7. Wow, I didn't know that I about death and ebooks. But I guess I never gave it any thought either way. It would just be one less thing for my family to deal with since there are no physical books to give away.

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  8. That's one more argument against DRM -- if they didn't have that, an ebook library could also be passed on.
    I think about my in-storage books every day. Especially here in the new place, I'm trying to figure out how we could place them all without looking too cluttered...But first we have to see if we can afford the shipping!

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