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Old June 7 2012, 11:25 PM   #27
Fleet Captain
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Location: Berlin, Germany
Re: Star Trek Vanguard: In Tempest's wake by Dayton Ward

Mage wrote: View Post
Also, and this is my biggest point.... I'm paying for bytes, something I can't hold and only exists in a digital form. If I buy something, I want it to be real, something I actually physically own, not just digitally. Personal issue of mine, can't help it. But I don't spend money on something I don't actually own. One computercrash, and I have to buy it again.
This comes up so often, and it really bugs me: Computer memory of any variety is not metaphysical, it is very physical. If you buy a DRM-free ebook file and download it to your local computer, you have a physical manifestation of a book on your premises just as with a codex. What's more, "one good fire, and you have to buy it again" equally applies to codices, too (and for that matter, your example usually doesn't apply to ebooks - even vendors of DRM-free ebooks usually allow redownloads from the vendor's site).

Yes, you're talking a gut feeling. That's fine, but own up to it. Don't use and perpetuate notions that are simply factually false. Don't equate haptic and physical. You're a scifi fan; be kind to science. Calling an ebook file non-physical simply amounts to superstition and mystifying technology that is not mythical or magical in any way.

(Note that ATimson of course brings up very valid points in talking about DRM and licensing schemes, and I've been very critical of either on this very board. I've even recommended against going all-in on ebooks just yet in a recent thread, to avoid getting locked in just shy of the dawn of the DRM-free era. So it's not like I'm mindlessly cheerleading for ebooks here, it's just that the physicality argument as it tends to be framed is simply bogus, and if people could wrap their head around that they might have one bogus problem less with ebooks and could instead focus on the real issues the system still carries at this time.)
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