Once upon a time books and recordings were physical things you held in your hands. When you wanted to watch a movie at home, you took your copy of the film and slid it into a device that showed it to you.
Books were even easier. You picked them up and started reading.
Nowadays ebooks and streaming are all the rage. I have to admit they’re more convenient — shelves and shelves of storage space not required.
But recently we’ve all been seeing something I have always said and suspected might bite us someday: The stream giveth, and the stream can take away.
I’ve noticed something interesting the last couple of weeks. People are starting to buy the print copies of my books. Now, I am not going to get rich on book sales, so we’re not talking about a lot of books yet, but it’s an interesting phenomenon.
And although I’ve sold a decent handful of paperbacks since New Year’s, so far this month no one has bought an ebook from me.
Is it a side effect of people realizing their digital content can be cut off? Hard to say.
But here’s an interesting clue: My best seller is an edition of Henry David Thoreau’s classic, Resistance to Civil Government: On the Duty of Civil Disobedience. I recently revised the book by adding Ralph Waldo Emerson’s related essay “Politics” as bonus content, and it’s always had my own introduction “The definition of a peaceable revolution” (not that my work is comparable to Thoreau’s or Emerson’s), but the book’s theme is, well, rather timely, isn’t it?
It’s nice to know that some folks want to have my books in a more permanent form, in case of digital apocalypse. I would love for you to buy the ebooks, too, of course. It’s just nice. Thanks!