The difference between having and getting

I was handed a portable hard drive this week. You know the kind – filled with all kinds of illicit goodies. This particular drive was filled with books. All the cool sci-fi and fantasy books you could dream to get your hands on. On one drive. I have been handed these before and for some reason, once I have this unimagined literary loot in my grubby little paws, the excitement fades.

The thing is, part of the joy of books for me is in the discovery of them. Finding a new author through careful searching (this includes trawling second-hand bookstores), reading reviews or simply being handed a worn, well-loved copy of a book by a friend accompanied by the phrase “You’ll love this”. I know for a fact that I may never look at any of the books on that drive simply because I didn’t discover them. And there’s a part of me that believes that if you’ve enjoyed the story, you should recompense the author.

Yet, I hate the idea of DRM on my electronic books. Once I have discovered a book and paid for it, I want the option to share it, just like I do with my paperbacks. To me the joy of books is in the sharing of them. When sharing a book you are sharing more than a story, you are sharing ideas and memories. Books are viral and I believe authors benefit from this.

Some of my favourite authors became favourites because somebody lent me their favourite book. The Magician by Raymond E. Feist was given to me by a school pal. Frank Herbert’s Dune was a loan from an ex-boyfriend. Each book has it’s own memories tied to it. Both of these are still in my bookshelf along with everything else I could get hold of from each author. I now have them in electronic format too because it’s easier to have all your books with you at the same time when they’re on one device. *rubs hands gleefully*

Will I refuse the next hard drive that is handed to me? Probably not. Will I repeat the process of disappointment at not having found all those books myself? Definitely. This is the difference between having and getting. Getting is so much more fun.

 

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