My biggest fear about digitizing is it makes it too easy to revise history. If an administrator for this site wanted to, he/she could revise this article, or delete any comment they didn't like. If all our books are digitized, what's to stop a government or a corporation from whitewashing history in their favor? Books, for all their hassle, makes this a lot harder. blackartist
"We are at war with Eastasia. We have always been at war with Eastasia." Orwell's memory hole wasn't very practical at the time, but with e-books, it is a real possibility. The power to rewrite books became vastly more real. One digital copy looks much like the others. But an old paper copy is actual evidence. So when someone tells me we have always been at war with Eastasia, if I have a paper book, I can prove them wrong. Just push an "updated" copy to people's e-readers as a service.
I'm not saying that e-books are evil things. I read both e-books and paper books. They both have their place. But I don't worship Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
I think the easy editability of ebooks cuts both ways. And both ways is in favor of "them". If "they" alter the text and declare it the original, there will of course be people who haven't enabled syncing on their readers or who have digital copies stored on non-connected hard drives. So they will step forward, saying: "They altered history, see I have the original!". But since digital copies are so easy to alter, "they" will just denounce the original as some conspiracy theorist's fake. It's hard to argue that conspiracy theorists faked and printed a hundred old manuscripts. It's easy to argue that someone made a really good digital fake and spread it around.
The point is, when there are several digital versions of a text, it becomes hard to identify the original, so most people will just go with what the media tells them.
I'm not saying there is an evil, world-dominating conspiracy just waiting for things to go completely digital so they can alter world history (that would probably just end in an embarrassing fuck-up for them); I'm just saying it's an advantage of physical copies that they can't be altered as easily. Simski
E-books are awesome and actually do a fantastic job of preventing what you're talking about, much better than physical copies -- tracking down and destroying every physical copy of a book would be hard, but doing the same with digital copies is just ridiculously impossible and you're never even going to put a dent in it.
Then you add DRM that allows the publisher to control your copy of the E-book and it undoes everything awesome about them and makes them worse than, well, anything.