Before I begin this rant, allow me to confess that I own an iPad for the express purpose of storing ebooks and also so that I can purchase them from a variety of sources. I can buy Kindle books, Nook Books, Kobo Books as well as a number of free ebooks that anyone might have on offer.
Last week, I read that Borders Books and Music and their affiliated chain Waldenbooks will now be going completely out of business. I wasn’t fully aware that they were still having financial problems and just assumed that the closing of the stores a few months ago would be enough to keep them afloat. Apparently not. Their downfall was that they outsourced online sales to Amazon. Not the most intelligent thing to do considering Amazon is just a giant internet presence and Borders’ biggest competition.
Despite my inherent dislike of Barnes & Noble, I sincerely hope that they last a while. I think it’s a travesty that we are losing our bookstores. I prefer books. I also prefer to be able to walk around and if something catches my eye, I can pick it up and flip through the book. The only reason I have an iPad and have bought ebooks is because I lack the shelf space to buy all of the books I want. Someday I will have a place of my own and be able to put shelves all over the house and fill them. I will not be replacing my iPad. When it goes, it goes.
The biggest problem I have with ebooks, is possibly one that will be remedied in the future: getting rid of ebooks you don’t want. There should be a way to electronically transfer a book to someone else’s ownership. Although I have never tried it, Amazon claims you can share their Kindle books with friends. If that’s the case, I can’t imagine it being that much more difficult to allow a full transfer of ownership of the ebook. I bought a book a few weeks ago that I’ve finally gotten around to reading. It’s a slow read for me because it’s a genre I don’t really read that much. At the moment, finishing it is up for debate, but either way I really don’t want to keep it, yet I am forced to do so because there’s nothing I can do with the file other than delete it. Sharing a book – either giving it to a friend or donating it to the library – is preferable to throwing it away.
Call me old fashioned, but I want real books to stay around at least through my lifetime. When I’m dead and buried, I don’t care what happens to them. But I always want to have pages upon pages of books to flip through.