When I buy a physical album these days there’s always a code for a digital download. Most of the time the physical purchase is a symbolic one, to support the artist. Because in eleven out of ten times I’ll listen to the album digitally; so we get WAV, FLAC and mp320 alternatives which is great. When it comes to books the publishing market has not catched up, so you’ll pay the same amount for the physical as for the digital version, something a bit more and sometimes a bit less. The worst thing is that the formats are limited to kindle versions, so one doesn’t get the PDF version or other formats. There are even cases of the online shop having their own native apps which are ugly and useless.
Why is that? Why should I pay twice for the same book? When I buy a big fat book with 600+ pages and use it to look up passages and references I then need to carry that almost 1kg extra along. When one travels that’s way too much, considering there are more books to bring along. What to do then? Pay for extra luggage to bring along a bunch of heavy books on ones travels? Nope.
The only solution so far for this are pirated books that you download to get that digital copy of your physical book. There are sites that have pirated books – here are two sites that have over 2 500 000+ books (expect that number to grow). b-ok.org is great and looks good. If you can’t find what you’re looking for there, the other alternative is Library Genesis.
Is that a fair option as one has already payed for the books? How long will the publishing-industry keep behind compared to the music industry regarding physical and digital releases? Can we expect some sort of subscription libraries too in the future? A global library? It’s about time for that.