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Saturday, January 1, 2011

Ereader use.

Maybe you heard all the ruckus back in February 2011 when the publishers all decided that library ebooks should be limited. It was a BIG ruckus. Or, as Literary Sluts put it: Congratulations HarperCollins – you just guaranteed Amazon and Kindle will win the eBook & eReader war

That's a good precis.

I bring it up because I bought Dad a Nook, and my sister-in-law got my brother a Kindle Fire. I won't use the Kindle app on my Galaxy Tab 10.1. I've added the Nook app instead. (More on this anon.)

I like Amazon's convenience, I do. But their business practices are horrible; just consider last month. Despite a long-held belief that the market is always right, it's really not. Businesses are not built to be kind, they are built to seek profit. Playing well with others is a social concept devised by humans. Corporations are not people, they are constructs made by people for a purpose.

Monopolies make for bad business practices: On eating your seed corn.

Part of why it all makes me angry is that libraries -- libraries! -- are suffering.

The economy worldwide is doing poorly, and the people who buy the most books read like the dickens. Of course we use library books. If I bought one new book a week, I still wouldn't have enough to read. I read far more than one book a week! I'm reading 2 nonfiction books [I finished The Gift of Fear a week ago], along with several fiction novels; before Christmas I'd wrapped up six novels. I finished three more by 4am yesterday.

I read a LOT.

I know I'm not the only one, since I got the seed corn link from this blogger. Except... I don't remember libraries ever limiting me to a few books (except my elementary school). I remember bringing home at least 10 or 12 in high school, which was just enough for about a week if I took it slow.

Literate people need books desperately. Publishers need new readers even more desperately. Thrusting readers back into the 1800s is the worst possible idea. We want to reach the future, our future, not fall backward into the past.

So think carefully about ebooks, oh corporations. Never eat your seed corn! How ever will it grow then??

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