02A7B: The Idea of Books


Metro Manila Community Quarantine - Day 621

While I get the romanticism around physical books, I'm definitely at a point in my life where I'm over all that. Sure, I'm the kind of reader who knows that the only thing better than new book smell is old book smell and all that fun stuff. But I have also given into the march of time.

The first "adult" consideration was space. I've moved around enough to recognize the challenge of hauling a book collection around. There's nothing like figuring out how to secure a box sufficiently to hold a bunch of books to really make you question your life choices a bit. Thus in recent years, I've begun to be a lot more selective about which books I opt to own physical copies of while I've started to let go of others.

The real game-changer was me getting a Kindle, and I've remained firmly tethered to the Amazon ebook ecosystem for years now. Beyond the convenience and at times cheaper prices for digital titles, they're just so darn convenient. Having my Kindle with me at all times is the equivalent of carrying around my library anywhere I go. It has been a life-saver while traveling and whenever I find myself waiting in some ridiculous queue.

Then there's the technological edge of all the extra bells and whistles of readers. The ability to adjust the font size and line spacing of any book were totally game-changing, and I found that my reading pace actually increased ever since I switched over to predominantly ebook reading. Plus I never really lose my place in the book, so there's that added benefit as well.

I had long decided to give up on physical comics for space reasons, but digital comics seriously got me back into the hobby. Regular comiXoloy sales have helped balloon my virtual collection to a crazy level and I can't really complain. It shares some of the benefits of a Kindle in the sense that I have a huge geeky library with me at all times. But there are other fun enhancements like how Guided View takes me panel by panel, again making it easier to read and giving the reading experience a sense of movement. The only real challenge is when the creator gets very crazy with their paneling - the only way you can turn a device upside-down without triggering your accelerometer would be to lock your device orientation or lay it down on a table and read it that way. It's not a common situation, but I've run into this challenge more than once, especially with the sort of books I enjoy reading.

The few titles I do get physical copies of tend to be more collector pieces more than anything else. Heck, I tend to own the digital copies of many of my favorite physical titles since I actually read the digital version and just leave the physical ones safely shelved. This has me really considering letting go of more of these books, at least once I secure digital alternatives.

More than one person has raced the question of Digital Rights Management (DRM) and how I don't really "own" all these digital titles as the rights-owners (or mainly my dealer Amazon) can change things after the fact. I've literally had "cover" of my copy of Dune change to a movie-related one because that's just how things go. And in other cases, books have been removed from the ecosystem entirely and that can be a little weird. But I still don't overly mind because I figure that embracing a lifestyle like this - where we have access to things virtually instead of owning them permanently - feels a lot closer to a potential Federation-style future where all works of art and knowledge resources are freely shared and made widely available to everyone. We're obviously not there yet, but maybe we'll get there sooner rather than later.

So that's the state of my book collection, as it is. It's a lot more digital now, but I can't really complain given the crazy levels of access and the other benefits I get from embracing digital so much. 

But I'll still sniff books from time to time.