This week I’ve been thinking about and discussing copyright a lot, because of #ACTA (see my previous post). This, and an article about Jonathan Franzen’s attitude to e-books, has made me think more about how much I love books. How having them around me – preferably a lot of them – gives me a profound sense of belonging, of happy expectations and a thrill of all that wisdom and knowledge waiting for me to discover it.
Today I saw a review of a book called Unpacking my Library where people’s book collections are photographed and they are asked questions about how they buy, read and sort their books. So inspiring.
However, I’m the very happy owner of a Kindle and I certainly also get a thrill from browsing the millions of books that are there to acquire, for free or for money, at one little click.
But Jonathan Franzen’s words (link above) resounded in me and I’ve been contemplating what would happen if our civil rights continue on the slippery slope they’re on at the moment and suddenly one day we can’t be sure that a new edition of a controversial book is an exact replica of what the author wrote! That is a very scary thought and I don’t have a solution to it, because I neither think that e-books should be banned, nor do I think that the concept of paper books should prevail unaltered. Far too many books are published, printed and never sold.
But you will neither find me joining the chorus of whining authors and publishers who believe that their earnings will disappear and that the value of reading will devalue because it takes place on a “plastic device”, nor among the tech evangelists who can see no charm in the way it was.
Where I stand exactly, I honestly don’t know yet!