I get the issues behind eBooks and the fact that we don’t own the eBooks we “buy.” If I purchase an eBook through Amazon, with the flip of a switch Amazon could, theoretically, revoke my right to read it and I could do nothing to prevent it from being removed on all my Kindle devices.
Perhaps the solution is to keep a spare iPad around which has all my books synced but with WiFi off, disconnected from the matrix, so that when the rapture comes my non-atheist books cannot be retrieved by God (nee Jeff Bezos) into the clouds (S3)? I’m sorry, there is just too much cross over imagery today to resist those bad puns.
But, I really like eBooks. I love not having to carry books with me when I travel. I love reading something on my iPad, and then switching to my Android phone and reading from the spot I left off on my iPad. I was a skeptic, but I am born again into the cult of eBooks and tablet devices.
And, now that I am engaged and moving to Savannah from Portland, the thought of getting rid of all these books lining my bookshelves is terrifying. I have read probably only 25% of them. I’m sure I’ll read them someday soon! Yet, packing them and taking them with me is ridiculous. How much easier if they were all eBooks and came with me whenever I pack my laptop into my chrome bicycle bag. I think I would give up the right to own a physical copy even with the risk that my right to read them could theoretically be revoked simply for the sake of convenience and reducing clutter. I doubt that revocation will ever happen; bad news travels faster and this would really freak out Amazon customers.
It seems like either way, we are in a renters paradox. Either I am renting the books from Amazon, or my books are screwing me out of rent by occupying space in my house. As a Buddhist who tries to get my brain (and my environment) to nothingness as much as possible, I prefer the rent from Amazon option, honestly.
Lastly, lets stop pretending spirituality is not relevant to technical topics. Technology is, after all, just another belief system to make sense of the world. Remember our guru’s Tim O’Reilly’s roots.