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Jeanneke Pis fountain in Brussels 

















 Jeanneke Pis fountain in Brussels 



Even as we sit down to write this, the world of book publishing is changing somewhere.  The renovations to the industry are coming so quickly, that it is hard for the rest of us to keep up.  This is the sad fate of the world of books, and it is one that we lament.  On one hand, we understand the need to cut back on waste and to streamline the publishing industry by going completely electronic.  We ourselves have gone this route after discovering that we cannot afford the printing bill.  However, the day when we can no longer hold a true book in our hands and smell the wonderful mix of paper, dust, and stories, is one that we hope never comes.

Another problem with the advance of the publishing industry’s technology is that the legal world has not had enough time to play catch up.  This has caused some issues to be caught in limbo while they are sorted out on a very public stage.

The problems that have been encountered by those using the Kindle are a perfect illustration of this fact.  Recently many people had bought the digital versions of George Orwell’s classic science fiction pieces, 1984 and Animal Farm.  This meant that they had purchased the “books” from and that they had been downloaded to their own person Kindles.  But, when the person holding the rights to the books declared that Amazon had sold them illegally Amazon automatically erased them from thousands of customers’ devices. 

To us, this is a very grey area.  With the act of accessing and erasing these files, it was as if Amazon had come into the people’s homes and destroyed copies of books.  Regardless of whether or not these were digital copies, they were still bought, and the people who owned them had the expectation of keeping them in their possession.  The ability for companies to go into the digital devices and check on the libraries of books kept there to see if there is any “illegal” content, is a scary proposition.  If they can do, later on, they might be able to access Kindles to make sure that what people are reading is “acceptable.” 

When you get into this world of questionable legal standards and questions of property rights and where personal space ends, it is a very tender subject.  And as books and publishers have always faced censorship in one form or another, it is also one that should be resolved quickly before things get too far out of hand.

 Matt & Kristi


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