walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Format War!

Sorry. I felt compelled to add that exclamation mark. Probably because of what's going on with Cramer v. Stewart on the Daily Show. It'll be pretty funny if Cramer fails to show tonight. Of course, it'll be funnier if he does show tonight. We'll see. If Cramer doesn't show, it'll be a good indication that the CNBC punditry have collectively even fewer balls than Republicans when it comes to the Comedy Channel talk shows.

But that's all off topic.

I'm in the process of packing books and putting location ids in LibraryThing in case I don't get to unpack the library for a while (that's what happened last time). It's an activity that strongly encourages weeding, and I had already marked a couple hundred books in LibraryThing to weed. All my Pratchetts, for example, are marked weed, on the premise that should I want to reread them, I can acquire them quickly and cheaply via the kindle. But when the time came to actually put these books out to swap, I hesitated.

Unfortunately, I've been through format changes a few times now. I cleverly noticed that CDs were coming fairly early on in the process and I had not accumulated many LPs yet -- so I didn't. I bought cassettes for stuff I was going to listen to again and again in the car, and otherwise waited for CDs to come down a little and for a player to be affordable. I never bought a lot of movies on VHS (altho I did buy a lot of UFC vid). I actually had a portable 8 track player for a while, and a bunch of 8 tracks (all garage sale items, so no tears when they went away again). (About the only thing I miss from VHS are the episodes of Probe I had saved; I was only missing the Halloween episode.)

So I do recognize that when you have a format, you have to think carefully about how you commit to it, how you maintain it, what you transfer to it, and what you say good bye to. I'm perfectly happy getting rid of every used paperback "classic" I have lying around; those are available in non-DRM'ed form that can follow me anywhere, should I choose to acquire one at some point (the Palliser and Barset bundles, for example. . .). The problem lies in those Pratchetts. I own the Pratchetts. If I want to reread them (I've reread most of them at least once), doing so is "free" (cost of space, hassle of moving them, etc.). If I get rid of them and decide to reread them, it'll cost me -- but I save the space and the hassle factor. It was _easy_ to get rid of the Honor Harrington books (again, I reread them occasionally) when I realized I had free e-copies. I forked over for the Hemry bundle, partly because I still don't have the second and third in the Stark series -- buying kindle copies (or e-copies, or whatever) forward is easy to do.

But should I get rid of _Getting Rid of Bradley_ and three other Crusies that I own (and those are four Crusies I haven't been tempted to reread, but you never know), figuring I can pick up the bundle for $10? Or possibly less some day? Unfortunately, I'm noticing already that there are kindle books that appear to have once been available that no longer are. While the trend is to stay and get cheaper over time, what if I go to buy _Pyramids_ and it costs full paperback?

I talked to R. about the decision making process. He agreed with the strategy (buy new stuff in the new format, switch over everything that is "free" to switch over), and noted that he only bought a few dozen albums that he owned in vinyl on CD. And he never ripped the vinyl, either, altho he still owns it. He has been much more persistent in ripping the CDs to his iPod, but he's happy to accept a significant downgrade in audio quality as a tradeoff for having a massive chunk of his music library on shuffle. He says he's listened to a lot more that way than he ever did when the library was in cases in the living room (it has since mostly migrated to plastic bins in the basement, due to toddler depredations).

I doubt I'll be unable to buy _Pyramids_ when I want it. Even if I were, I doubt I would cry. And yet it is still hard to part with those Pratchetts, so they will almost certainly travel to Acton with us. I'll just get rid of something else instead.
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