Why buy books?

Why buy books? I’ve had people ask that question, rhetorically, of course. They can do their reading electronically on a hand-held device like Kindle. It’s cheaper. If you’re living in a dinky little apartment, in one of the cities where rents are headed up to orbit around Saturn, you can use the storage space for something other than printed books.

Except that when you “purchase” a digital book, you don’t own it. You’re renting it, and your right to read it can be terminated at any time. In  2009, Amazon deleted a couple of books, and readers found that they were staring at a blank screen. Amazon said it was because the publisher had copyright issues. By strange and perhaps significant coincidence, the deleted items were George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm. After some kerfluffle, Amazon reimbursed the price to readers, and said they wouldn’t take back a book once it had been purchased. However, the NY Times article of July 18, 2009:

Retailers of physical goods cannot, of course, force their way into a customer’s home to take back a purchase…Yet Amazon appears to maintain a unique tether to the digital content it sells for the Kindle.

Bruce Schneier, chief security technology officer for British Telecom and an expert on computer security and commerce [said], “As a Kindle owner, I’m frustrated. I can’t lend people books and I can’t sell books that I’ve already read, and now it turns out that I can’t even count on still having my books tomorrow.”

Now think what that is likely to mean during the reign of a dictator who wants to jail his political opponents, advocates torture, wants to register all members of a religion he doesn’t like, has a significant following of neo-Nazis/white supremacists, and is in control of the most advanced domestic spying network in the history of the world. How long do you think you’ll be able to download anything he doesn’t approve of?

So buy books. Physical books. And, of course, buy mine–take a break from the  political news of the present with a visit to the 9th Century BCE. 25% off if you order before the end of the year. To get the discount ($11.25 per book), send a check to Ebisu Publications, 9026 N. Syracuse St., Portland OR 97203. Below is a review by Paulette Gino, a happy reader:

Biblical narratives rewritten in an intelligent and creative way can open the reader’s eyes to new possibilities and cause the reader to re-examine these events in a way never imagined before. Such was the case for me with The Throne in the Heart of the Sea and The Stars in Their Courses.

I was drawn in quite quickly, as the author set up characters and places that were woven with detail. I could imagine seeing each character and view the sights and even the smells around them. It made clear the distinctions among the classes, as well as the varied cultural differences in each province. With the addition of key fictional characters surrounding the main characters of Jezebel and Elijah, it brought both of them into a light that made us care about their feelings and an understanding of the thought processes that went into the decisions that affected not only themselves, but countless of others in their own time-line and those long after them.

Where The Throne in the Heart of the Sea set up the political climate of the time and the intentions of each character, The Stars in Their Courses continues on this foundation, building on it by fleshing out the characters even more in a way that we get to know them better and we observe how they put their plans into action. If one had no knowledge of biblical history, both of these books read like engrossing fictional stories.

The component that I enjoyed most was the attention to detail and research the author incorporated into her stories. There are maps, glossaries of terminology, and historical poetry references included at the end of each book. This inspired me to do some of my own research into the subject matter and learn more about this period of time.

I highly recommend both of these books and am looking forward to the third book, completing the trilogy.


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