Happy Friday everyone! Casey here.
Last week on my website, I announced the start of my very first Goodreads Giveaway to celebrate Mystic Ink, now in paperback. I was inspired, in part, by Katy Lee’s giveaway back in December. And because, I realized that while the book has been in paperback since late November, no one knew about it!!
It’s still not too late to enter, the giveaway runs until January 31 (open to US residents only, see Goodreads for all contest rules & details).
It’s interesting to me that Goodreads only allows paper books in their giveaways. I’m not sure if that is because of the inherent concern about DRM issues (digital rights management). All I know is that the reader’s world today is vastly different from the one I grew up in.
As a kid, I got my books from two places: the library and the bookstore. That’s it. The format was paperback or occasionally hardcover depending on the type of book. If someone had told me that, in my lifetime, music, movies, and books would be condensed into a digital format accessible on a single device, I would have said, “Awesome. Sign me up!”
Maybe I would have shown a smidgen of disbelief, but not too much. Hey, my reading (and movie/TV watching) of choice has always been science fiction and fantasy. I was one of the kids who watched Star Trek re-runs every day after school and geeked out over Star Wars.
But, because I’m a sci-fi fan, I also know to ask this question: “What is the evil dark side to having everything digital?”
C’mon. We all know there has to be some tarnish on the silver lined cloud of convenience and easy access. As Rumpelstiltskin always says on Once Upon a Time, “Remember,dearie. There’s always a price!”
Here is what concerns me the most. Eventually, maybe not in my lifetime, if all physical copies of books, music and movies become obsolete, who really controls ownership of that content?
Already, courts are working to decide if customers who buy e-books are only leasing them or do they own them? With a physical book, you can give it away, sell it or keep it forever and pass it to your heirs.
Right now, if you buy a book from Amazon or B&N (or whoever), you are only licensing that content. It doesn’t really belong to you, the reader. And someday, if you don’t even have a physical copy of your digital content, that means you have to go through a gatekeeper to buy it, store it, and use it.
A gatekeeper could be a benevolent corporation or maybe a controlling, not so nice, company (or gack – the government!). Today, cloud storage is free, but will it be tomorrow?
Whoa! This all sounds so Orwellian, doesn’t it?
Now with all that said, I do own e-readers (Nook, Kindle), Kindle Fire,and an iPod Touch, in addition to hundreds of physical copies of books, CDs, DVDs/Blue Ray, etc. And, since I’m a writer, I like knowing that my books ultimately belong to me (and I have the control).
I am not advocating that digital content is bad. I love it. If it weren’t for the computer age, I wouldn’t have spent the last 23 years working from home and watching my sons grow to (almost) young men. And my books would probably still be languishing in some slush pile if it weren’t for small presses.
All I ask, dear Scribesters, is keep your eyes wide open and consider the future possibilities.
Hopefully, I haven’t scared you all away. Anyone else see the evil dark side? Or, conversely, the positives of digital content?