I have a bit of a teetering-on-the-fence opinion about ebooks. I cannot deny, as someone now trapped in a daily commute, that I look on enviously as people hold on with one hand while they gaily “turn pages” with the other on their e-reader (especially when we are both reading something like Reamde). The sheer portability of an entire library is the most blatant invitation to covetousness.
The reason I have hesitated in jumping on the electronic-reader bandwagon is that I really, really, really like physical books. I like having them. We designed our house to have one room with a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall bookcase, because it will just look fucking beautiful (once we finally get the damn thing installed). And unlike with music, I cannot have my cake and eat it too: there is no way to rip a book I own to digital format, though some make-do options exist for “burning” digital prose to a physical copy.
And now I have been informed of another fundamental problem with the whole concept of electronic libraries; as discovered in sad circumstances by Kate Griffin (an author whose brain is an unending delight to me), Amazon will not permit (or, more accurately, honour) the bequeathing of virtual libraries.