The Sword and Laser discussion

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Keeping Physical Books in a Digital Age

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message 1: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments Ok I'm due to move soon with all the joys involved with such and endeavour. My new abode unfortunately will provide me with less space in which to keep my stuff. As such this has got me thinking about my personal library of books and what to do with them. Earlier this year I made the jump to an eReader and haven't bought a physical book since. Actually it has been rather liberating not adding to my physical shelves.

Whilst I'm rather fond of physical books I am starting to seriously consider how to proceed. Do I dump my physical library and consider repurchasing ebooks if and when I should want to read any of these books again? Do I need to hang onto these works some of which if I'm honest I've only read once... and what about my non-fiction, technical texts and such.. hmmm...


message 2: by Nick (new)

Nick (whyzen) | 1295 comments What is "Keping"?


message 3: by Brandon (new)

Brandon | 178 comments Personally I would consider keeping any technical and reference books that you find useful first. Most Ereaders are great for novels but fall short when used for technical or reference books.

From there it is a question of what are your must have books, favourite series, authors etc... to retain.


message 4: by Remington (new)

Remington | 38 comments I wish that books used the same business model that movies and even comic books are starting to use were a code is included inside the physical copy of the book that would allow you to download a free e-book version of that same book. This would totally keep me buying physical copies.


message 5: by Brandon (new)

Brandon | 178 comments I really want a way to convert my existing library of books to ebooks in an affordable and legal manner.

There are some series I absolutely love and want in ebook but I am not paying $7+ per book to do so especially when the cover price of the original book was less than that.

I see Warner Brothers is launching a program to allow customers to convert their DVD's to a digital watch anywhere service.

Warner has bigger ambitions for Flixster. In the coming months, Flixster will start offering a service called Disc to Digital that will allow people to pay a small fee per disc to convert their existing DVD collections into digital copies. The idea is to train consumers to manage their movie libraries online, much the way they do digital music or photos.

If the publishers did this I would happily spend hundreds of dollars converting my library over.

For those interested in the quote: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/12/bus...


message 6: by Tina (new)

Tina (javabird) | 675 comments I think Warner Bros. has the right idea here, but I would like to see something like this adapted though one site by all the studios. It doesn't make sense to convert your DVDs but still have to use different sites for different studios. That's one reason it's easier to rent right now.

As far as ebooks, I now have books on my iPad in a variety of apps -- iBooks, Nook, Kindle, Stanza and a few in Adobe DE. I never intended to buy very many, thinking I would mostly use free library downloads via Overdrive, but it sort of snowballed as I found so many ebooks on sale and free, and now I use both. I have a few dead tree books that I treasure and will keep, but it's really just easier to read on my iPad.

But it's hard for me to let go of the DTB's; I guess they represent something very special to me (unlike CD's or DVD's which I think of as replaceable). Maybe I can blame it on the early influence of Fahrenheit 451 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury


message 7: by Walter (last edited Nov 12, 2011 11:51AM) (new)

Walter (walterwoods) | 144 comments Brandon wrote: "I really want a way to convert my existing library of books to ebooks in an affordable and legal manner.

There are some series I absolutely love and want in ebook but I am not paying $7+ per book..."


Here's my problem with this. It sounds like they are doing you a favor, but they aren't. They are making you pay extra for a DRM encrypted copy of a movie you already own that is only available to stream (not download). If you want to backup your movies download Handbrake. It's free and very user friendly.

The books things is tricky because as far as I know, no ebook store sells without DRM of some kind.


message 8: by Aethelberga (new)

Aethelberga | 35 comments Since I bought my Kindle, I haven't bought a physical book. I too find it liberating. In fact that was my main reason to finally cave and get the Kindle, the fact that my physical books were crowding me out. But I will be damned if I am going to pay again to get any of my physical books in the Kindle edition. I went through it with LPs to CDs (I drew the line at purchasing digital audio and ripped the LPs and CDs myself) and with VHS to DVD. How many more times can the contest creation industry make be rebuy stuff I already own?


message 9: by Brandon (new)

Brandon | 178 comments @Aethelberga,
I agree with you to an extent which is why I will not pay full retail for ebooks of books I already own.

But would I pay $1-2 to get a Kindle version that is stored on Amazon servers and that I could read anywhere on almost any device... Personally I certainly would be happy to.


message 10: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Xu (kxu65) | 1081 comments I would never get a ereader. I just love how physical books feel, plus I would like to know what others are reading. The major reason is because I am a collector of books.


message 11: by Aethelberga (new)

Aethelberga | 35 comments Brandon wrote:
But would I pay $1-2 to get a Kindle version that is stored on Amazon se..."

Until it is no longer stored on Amazon servers, or you have a three read limit, or a two year limit or something else they have yet to come up with that tells you that you have only 'rented' material you thought you had purchased.


message 12: by Walter (new)

Walter (walterwoods) | 144 comments "Until it is no longer stored on Amazon servers, or you have a three read limit, or a two year limit or something else they have yet to come up with that tells you that you have only 'rented' material you thought you had purchased."

Yep. Until you can buy an ebook and download it in an open format, they still have complete control.


message 13: by Andrew (last edited Nov 12, 2011 03:31PM) (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments Nick wrote: "What is "Keping"?"

:) (fixed)

I will admit that my eBooks tend to become liberated so I'm less worried about my ability to read them down the track, but I do wish there was a universal, drm-free format. It's tricky because I'm like many of you above in that there are aesthetic qualities about having physical books that I enjoy. However if I'm honest many books are on my shelves proclaiming nothing more than I did read this at one point, because with so many other things to read it is only a few books that I go back to, and I do wonder if I wouldn't now read these as an ebook anyway.

The technical texts are tricky too as some are partially out of date as these things go, and again many I haven't looked at in years, but most were expensive purchases and have some content value still.

Anyway the short is I can keep my entire library/collection if I wish, though most would be in boxes in storage. I guess I'm just trying to have an honest reflection and decide if I should? I mean if they are sitting in a box for a couple of years then what is the point, and reflecting on my last move many of these books went from one shelf to another via a lot of effort with little function beyond looking pretty.

Also like others if I could convert a decent chunck of my collection to ebooks I would be more than happy to. Even for a nominal $1-2 fee.


message 14: by Tracy (new)

Tracy (tberggie) I read over 75% of my books on my Nook now, but there are still books that I either want to have the physical copy of, or in the case of some older books, I can get them either at the used book store, or new in store cheaper than the Nook copy. And it seems the days of the $10 new digital release are behind us, as there is often only a few dollars difference between digital and physical. At that point I guess it's down to storage space to decide it for you. I would like to see the format be similar to that of music, all cd's are the same format, all MP3'3 are the same and can be used cross device. Then it will be down to what else the E-readers can do that decides which you buy.


message 15: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4111 comments I've been a long-time user of e-books, even before I got my Kindle. Now that I have my Kindle, though (I got it in March, 2009), I find that most of my book purchases are electronic--either Kindle format or audiobook (been an Audible member since 2005).

I still get a few in dead-tree format, though. Those include:
cookbooks
long series that I love (A Song of Ice and Fire, Wheel of Time, Baroque Cycle, for example)
photography books (or any books with pictures)

Moving...and moving my books was a large part of the reason I ended up getting a Kindle. I still need to buy another bookshelf, though since most of my purchases are electronic, I don't mind waiting.


message 16: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments @Tracy: It's interesting that you bring up MP3/CD's. I'd say that many people I know don't buy CD's anymore, or if they do they tend to rip them and then chuck them in a draw, it will be interesting to see the progression, particularly of timing for books.

@terpkristin: how many bookshelves did you end up with post move? and did you cull at that point in time or did the Kindle just curb any future growth.

Cook books I tend to mentally separate from our main collection, these obviously will come along.


message 17: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4111 comments When I moved, I culled my collection down to about 3 full-size bookshelves plus 2 half-size bookshelves. I ended up donating a bunch of books I knew I wouldn't read again to the local library.

I kept books I thought I'd read again and books with sentimental value (such as a book that my English teacher got me for high school graduation), among others.

I don't think I'll ever completely give up all of my physical books, but I think when/if I move again, I'll do another cull.


message 18: by Michael (new)

Michael (kovaelin) | 30 comments I don't have enough space in my current room to keep every book I obtain, therefore I do end up getting rid of books once in a while to free up space, but I would really like to have a personal library some day. So, I can't really picture myself dedicating myself to solely ebooks anytime soon.


message 19: by Andrew (last edited Nov 13, 2011 04:37PM) (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments terpkristin wrote: "When I moved, I culled my collection down to about 3 full-size bookshelves plus 2 half-size bookshelves. I ended up donating a bunch of books I knew I wouldn't read again to the local library.

I ..."


I have 3 full size and one half height, though two of them are double stacked (books in front of books, and some even lying on top of those). I've already culled a little and have some obvious books I can loose (eg. multiple copies of Lotr). Still as I said I'm still torn. Even things like WoT etc. I suspect I will read on eBook when I next do, and considering I listened, rather than read the last time I went through the series it has been awhile since I've even touched the books.

I will maybe have space for one bookshelf at my new abode.

It's funny talking about collections, I was in contact with a mate who has a massive DVD collection (I'm talking 10's of thousands of dollars worth). I contacted him to return some DVD's I found when cleaning up, but upon letting him know he said keep them as he's dumped his DVD collection as he's moved onto Blurays/HD. The time, effort, cost, he put into his collection all for naught. Oh well.


message 20: by terpkristin (new)

terpkristin | 4111 comments Andrew wrote: "Still as I said I'm still torn. Even things like WoT etc. I suspect I will read on eBook when I next do, and considering I listened, rather than read the last time I went through the series it has been awhile since I've even touched the books."

These books I keep as much for myself as others. I like getting people interested in SFF, so for stuff like ASOIAF and WoT, I loan out my copies fairly regularly.


message 21: by Poly (new)

Poly (xenphilos) Fot those concerned about the DRM, there is software available that decrypts the book. I currently de-DRM every Kindle book I get, convert it to epub and put it in a folder. This way, I get both the benefits of the Kindle service and a backup that's cross-platform/application compatible.


message 22: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments terpkristin wrote: "Andrew wrote: "Still as I said I'm still torn. Even things like WoT etc. I suspect I will read on eBook when I next do, and considering I listened, rather than read the last time I went through the..."

Fair enough. My problem is that the books I'd want to keep are the ones I'd be reluctant to lend out. Already have lost a few books in the past lending them out, and then the editions change ruining my nice series :(

@xenphi: People probably should be aware of the legal considerations for their country which vary, but yes most ebook formats can currently be de-DRM'd. It will be interesting to see how Kindles new format KF8 works out in this area.


message 23: by Tom, Supreme Laser (new)

Tom Merritt (tommerritt) | 1140 comments Mod
I love having shelves full of books, but what's interesting is when I look at my shelves of history and science books, I feel warm and proud like I'm building some kind of awesome library.

When I look at my shelves of fiction I think, I need to weed some out and sell them at the used bookstore.


message 24: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2440 comments @Remington: Check out books published by BAEN. A lot of them include a CD that has the book, or books in 5 or six different eBook formats. I purchased Mission of Honor and the CD contains ALL the Honor Harrington books, plus a few more.

@Tina: Sounds like you have not upgraded your iPad to iOS 5 yet. This breaks Stanza permanently and the App will no longer run. It also messed up a lot of the content in my Kindle and iBook Apps. Make sure you have a backup before you do it, but that is no guarantee. It took me half a day to get my books all back to how they were before the upgrade.


message 25: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments Andrew wrote: "@Tina: Sounds like you have not upgraded your iPad to iOS 5 yet. This breaks Stanza permanently and the App will no longer run. It also messed up a lot of the content in my Kindle and iBook Apps. Make sure you have a backup before you do it, but that is no guarantee. It took me half a day to get my books all back to how they were before the upgrade."

There has been a recent release for Stanza that fixes the io5 issues. I must say I was a little surprised as I was under the impression Amazon now owned Stanza and thus may have been willing to let it fade.


message 26: by Remington (new)

Remington | 38 comments @Andrew Awesome. Thanks for the heads up. I didn't think anyone currently did something like that.


message 27: by AndrewP (last edited Nov 14, 2011 04:38PM) (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2440 comments Thanks for the update on Stanza. I looked it up and apparently Amazon issued this update but have said the product will now be discontinued. Then I read a thread that claimed the iOS 5.01 (iPhone Update) killed it again. Oh well, I uninstalled it some time ago and will not be going back.


message 28: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments Ah bugger about there being issues with ios 5.01. I haven't applied said update yet.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2827 comments I've never been much of a book collector, but a very avid library user. Since I work as a librarian I have access to a very good interlibrary loan department - the last book I borrowed came from the Netherlands! But in preparation for this Around the World challenge I'm doing in 2012, I've started collecting used copies of the 52 books I want to read for it. They're in a room we don't use for anything else, that I want to turn into a reading room. Sometimes I peek in just because the books make me smile. I guess the reading room is my version of a nursery, haha!

The only reason I buy books in electronic form is if they are a good deal, like $2.99 or under. If I want to own something I want to SEE it and TOUCH it and FEEL it, but that said I don't feel the need to own much.

I've become hooked on paperbackswap.com, and that kind of system will never work with eBooks because of all the DRM issues. Tangible books are much easier to share, and I'm a big swapper/sharer/trader/used book store ninja. eBooks seem private, and I like to read in community.

/end random thoughts too early in the morning


message 30: by Anne (new)

Anne Schüßler (anneschuessler) | 828 comments Richardya wrote: "You will be able to walk into a book store and buy a book for (ie) 18.99 and for an extra 2.99 you can get the kindle version as an add on and for an extra 4.99 you can get the audio book add-on for an extra .99 the iPad add on. Or single editions of the various formats."

I know of at least two IT publishing houses where you can get the e-book with a dead tree version for a small upgrade cost. Sometimes you can even upgrade later and download the e-book. Makes perfect sense for me to have the physical book at work or in the office and being able to carry about a library of digital books.

It's a very good idea and I would love it if it would become more common.


message 31: by Andrew (last edited Nov 15, 2011 10:23PM) (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments @Anne: books in the IT area are great as electronic editions as at the rate the technology moves they are out of date in no time, plus copying code snippets etc. is nice, not to mention they tend to be large shelf hogging tombs at times. Personally I used to be a fan of safari books online back in the day.

@Jenny: Interesting. I don't know why, but I imagined you with shelf upon shelf of books at home :)


message 32: by Louise (new)

Louise Kevin wrote: "I would never get a ereader. I just love how physical books feel, plus I would like to know what others are reading. The major reason is because I am a collector of books."

Me too :-)
I can see the attraction of having your movies, books and music on an e-reader/wireless network music player etc, but for me the art, cd's, dvd's and books are the stuff in your home that shows the most about who you are.

If I visit someone I'll always spend time looking at their bookshelves, the different editions of books, music and so on, and me and my friends love browsing through each other's bookpiles. It's just not the same with a printed out list of which titles you have on your e-reader...

@Jenny - how do you decide which books to read for your around the world challenge? Sounds fun!


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2827 comments @Andrew- I also don't have cats....

@Louise - Making the list is the fun part! I started with books on my to-read list that would qualify, and then used other group members' suggestions of books and places to find other lists. One group member had extensive country-based GR bookshelves, which inspired me to start creating too. Come join us if you're interested!


message 34: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments Jenny wrote: "@Andrew- I also don't have cats...."

Goldfish? :)


message 35: by Louise (new)

Louise So do the books have to take place in foreign countries or be written by foreign authors?


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2827 comments Louise wrote: "So do the books have to take place in foreign countries or be written by foreign authors?"

Each person makes their own rules for their list. Some are doing purely by setting, so if Neil Gaiman wrote a book set in Argentina it would count as Argentina. I'm being a bit stricter with myself, because I wanted to read authors I hadn't read before - so I'm choosing a book set in a country written by an author from that country, not allowing myself to read books by authors I've already read, and so on. Of course I've made my own exceptions already, haha. The group originator is reading his as if he traveled from one to the other, so the countries are consecutive geographically. Cool idea, but way more than I was willing to attempt! I'm trying to throw some SF/F authors in there, but most books in the genre aren't exactly set in a country. Those that are, I'm trying to include.


message 37: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2440 comments Andrew wrote: "Ah bugger about there being issues with ios 5.01. I haven't applied said update yet."

As I actually get paid to do stuff like this I did some testing. Here's what I found.

An original first generation iPad was used here.

iOS5.0 and old Stanza Version - app would not even run.

After upgrading Stanza to the new version (3.2) from the App Store - worked fine but did seem to have a problem identifying some PDF files that worked fine before. I could rename them to fix this however.

Then I upgraded to iOS 5.01. Stanza still works just fine so the report of it not working appear to be false in my case. It might be something specific that causes it to fail, but I could not find anything.

@Jenny: So if I read Around the World in Eighty Days I will be well ahead of the game.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2827 comments Andrew wrote: "@Jenny: So if I read Around the World in Eighty Days I will be well ahead of the game. "
uhuh... :)


message 39: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments @Andrew: Thanks. Good to know it might still be ok. I was somewhat excited when it was updated. It's not like I was not going to be able to avoid updating iOS forever, not with apples model of lumping bug and security fixes with feature changes.


message 40: by Don (new)

Don McDonald (dmmacs) | 114 comments Brandon wrote: "Personally I would consider keeping any technical and reference books that you find useful first. Most Ereaders are great for novels but fall short when used for technical or reference books.

Fr..."


Brandon wrote: "Personally I would consider keeping any technical and reference books that you find useful first. Most Ereaders are great for novels but fall short when used for technical or reference books.

Fr..."

I find electronic technical manuals are even better than novels because they are searchable. I can't remember the last time I referenced something in a physical books when I can google it or search in the pdf.

I'm not very sentimental and I don't usually re-read books, so I just donated all my books to my local library. I plan to downsize my home in the next couple of years and this will be one less thing I have to worry about at that time.


message 41: by Leah (new)

Leah | 8 comments I've kept books that are picture intensive or books (or authors) series that I'm very fond of and collecting. I have several books signed by authors and those I will keep. Many of my paper books can go away, however.


message 42: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2440 comments I keep most of the books that I enjoyed enough to consider rereading. Anything else I usually sell or trade away at a second hand books store. The only e-books I have are ones I either got for free or discounted down to 99c or less. Other than the joy while reading them, the ROI on e-books is almost zero, so that's what I will pay for them.


message 43: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments @Andrew: by RIO do you mean you capacity for resale (or trade in)? Otherwise I don't follow, eBooks have the same RIO as the physical (i.e.. you get to read the book).


message 44: by AndrewP (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2440 comments @Andrew: Yes, ROI = Return On Investment.. i.e. what a book is actually worth if I decide to get rid of it. At the current time e-books do not really have a resale value. I am sure this will change in the future and I hope there will soon be some way of transferring ownership of DRM E-books. If this doesn't happen, then I foresee a proliferation of peer-to-peer book 'sharing' sites for DRM stripped books.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2827 comments Dear both Andrews, this definitely figures into my print vs eBook thinking too. I've even turned down a copy of a book I'd been hunting for at a used bookstore if it was an uncorrected proof, just knowing I couldn't resell it.

Alternately, I've regretted buying books I loved as eBooks. I wish i had The Dervish House on my shelf instead of just on my iPad, because nobody will ever see it but me. same with Ulysses, which I bought from Audible. And now I'm considering buying print copies of both. Oh the redundancies....


message 46: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (adrew) | 426 comments I hear what you are both saying, but the resale value of most mass paperbacks that I've seen is nickels and dimes (so much so that I normally give to charity), and whilst hardbacks do have more of a collectors quality even these seem to have pretty average resale value in the short horizon and cost a lot more than an ebook such that the differential means no gain in real terms. It only really seems to be the limited run or unique prints that hold much value, or those were enough time has past that they have some allure.

I think the two things that get me with ebooks is no standard format, and the lending situation which is kludgy and restricted if it exists at all.

@Jenny: don't buy again, donate the money to someone like http://www.roomtoread.org/ and feel better about the fact that your helping someone in a impoverished situation get a book to read. You'll feel better for it :)


message 47: by Quasar (new)

Quasar | 35 comments I don't really know how to answer the original question. I mean for myself I really have no interest in ebooks. For me its either print or audio. The one exception is I.T. reference books, which I tend to prefer as electronic. Though my preference is either pdf or HTML.

Part of it is that I simply want to get away from screens when I read for fun. Part of it is my tactile love for the feel and smell of books. Part of it is simply my dislike of the existing non pdf formats and the limitations of the existing devices. And then there is the whole sharing aspect and growing up in the whole library culture.

In terms of the book collection goes, well I dont think I've ever discarded any of my books and so doing away with my whole collection is well counter to my worldview.


message 48: by AndrewP (last edited Nov 22, 2011 08:25AM) (new)

AndrewP (andrewca) | 2440 comments @Andrew: Golden rule here is NEVER pay full price for anything, especially hardback books. I'm lucky in that there are many second hand, charity or discount stores around where I live so I have a lot of chances to pick up bargains.
A lot of e-books now cost more that $10 and I would never pay more than $10 for even the flashiest hardback :)

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to make money buying and selling books. But I would rather BUY a book rather than just the license to read it.

Jenny hit's the nail on the head with "on my iPad, because nobody will ever see it but me".

Edit: Just came across this pricing fiasco on Amazon. Brandon Sanderson latest book. http://www.amazon.com/Alloy-Law-Mistb...
It's $8.56 for the hardback and $11.99 for the Kindle edition. Am I the only one who thinks that's crazy?


message 49: by L.S. (new)

L.S. Burton (lsburton337) I'm looking forward to the day when I can own my own permanent home, rent a UHaul, drive the eight hours to my parent's house, load up all my old books, and have myself a huge library in my house.

Nothing makes a room look more comfortable, classy, and lived in, than a great bookshelf.


message 50: by Andrew (new)

Andrew (frontline) | 129 comments I feel like there aren't enough people named Andrew commenting in this thread so I'm gonna through my $.02 in.

I have a problem. A big one. I love having my books and displaying them. Anything from my mass market Michael Crichton paperbacks from 6th grade to my signed GRRM and Stephenson hardbacks. My problem is so big that I own everything I ever bought on Kindle, physically. (it prevents unsightly creases in the spine if you don't ever open it. That is a whole other issue) I have given up on CDs, most DVDs (maybe if I really love it), but books are different. I just want my books.


You should keep them. Just pile them up along walls. The trick is not to go more than 3 feet high. That way when the people from Hoarders knock on the door and you slip on the box of important butterfinger wrappers next to the old newpapers the collapsing pile won't be heavy enough to trap you. That was, er... would be, embarassing.


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