Saturday, February 19, 2011

You Can't Take The Text From Me

Borders’ management opened their books this week and turned to Chapter 11.

When Borders announced it was declaring bankruptcy, it was quick to assure its e-readers that their e-texts that were stored for their Cruz readers would still be available and not affected by the bankruptcy and the reorganization of the company.

There are some definite advantages to e-books: My Droid X is loaded with 20 books, and there is a lot of convenience of having them with me in a small package with an easy-to-read screen with a pleasing font. Thanks to the Baen Free Library, I’ve had the opportunity to read a number of authors I would not have otherwise known about or tried, leading to my purchasing many of their books after the generous free samples of the first few books in a series, and also the chance to load my Droid with books I already had in paper format, leading to convenient transportation of many a good read.

Of course, my eBooks are stored locally on the Droid or my computer, not at the mercies of an entity that instead of filing Chapter 11 could have filed Chapter 7 and disappeared, taking the eBooks with them. Paper books that you purchase offer some permanence – the store going out of business doesn’t result in your books being taken away or failing to work.

Having your data, in this case eBooks, stored with a entity that can go away, leaving you without a copy of the data is a problem, and one that more people will likely face and need to deal with as they begin to depend on applications and data stored in a “cloud” online. Sometimes that cloud is not going to have a silver lining but instead bring a perfect storm to the cloud users.

No comments: