Ooooh, I can't wait to start my collection of rare, first-edition, out-of-print, signed e-books! ("Does a Kindle have soul?" May 5)
Truth be told, just as the creators and promoters of mp3s are NOT audiophiles, the creators and promoters of e-books are NOT bibliophiles.
It is amusing to imagine a group of right-wing religionists burning a pile of Kindles, iPads, Nooks, Xooms, Kobos, Cybooks and PocketBooks.
Hopefully I will never have to read an e-book before I die.
Rick Siegfried, Eureka
A misconception about e-books was repeated in "Does a Kindle have soul?" It was subtle and easy to miss, when statistics on the "sales of e-books" were cited. People don't buy e-books. They buy limited usage rights to something they don't own. E-books usually cannot be resold, donated to a thrift store or regifted to a friend. If you have the correct e-reader, the company that owns your e-book may grant you the ability to lend its e-book to one of your friends for a limited time period. They are so generous!
Every e-book leased is one less printed book that could have eventually entered the used-book market. This is a personal concern for me as a volunteer at Morris Elementary Language Immersion School in McKinleyville where students are set to earn 3,000 printed books each school year from our free bookstore. It's dependent on our ability to obtain donations and buy good quality used books at far less than the cost of today's e-books. And don't expect e-book prices to stay artificially low. Printing and distribution of paper books is only 12 percent of a publisher's costs. It doesn't include marketing, merchandising, copy editing, etc. When e-book prices normalize, you'll be told, "You're paying for the convenience."
My books will last 50 years if cared for and enjoy many future owners. Under today's model, your e-book usage rights will remain only yours and exist at the whim of a digital rights management server on the Internet staying in service and the managing company staying afloat. How many of today's Internet companies will be here in 50 years? E-books are indeed convenient, but consumers should understand what they are sacrificing for that convenience. I, for one, will avoid e-books until they come with the same consumer rights as printed books.
Andrew I. Jones, McKinleyville