I wouldn't trust my ebooks to Amazon, or any other individual cloud provider, either.
I would not consider an ebook to be one I own unless it's DRM-free, and stored redundantly on multiple devices, including once or twice in the cloud. It also needs to be on a futureproof technology -- PDFs, for example, might not be readable in 25 years.
Fortunately, all three of these goals are achievable. My ebook library is 100 volumes (woo-hoo!) and my library of print books is shrinking as fast as I can sort through them, put aside the few I want to keep, and give away the rest.
We seem to be "anchored" in the idea that to have access to something we have to own it; which is an idea that is changing. The old idea that to have access to technology you had to buy hardware/software has evolved to a system of access. No one owns the internet in order to use it, we access it and what we need. Now we are even further adjusted to becoming untethered from PC's and are accessing through tablets, smartphones, and mobile devices.
When we truly recognize how much we are consumed by managing the physical assets, we will begin to appreciate the freedoms that come from creating value; whether in personal or business settings. Look what Amazon accomplished with new models of distribution without the cumbersome inventory systems.
On personal consumption, when we are free to access what we need, we won't need to buy as many physical assets, with the maintenance requirements, but can more enjoy what we need and want. That could be a good thing!
We've talked about self-driving cars here, and some people expressed concern it would take away their freedom. For me, it's owning the car that reduces freedom; you have to maintain it and insure it and gas it up and worry about it being stolen or vandalized. Better to just rent a car, if you're one of the people who can swing that.
Really good Blog, Mitch! This certainly confirms the trends we are seeing!
I agree that we are valuing more access than material items, particularly the young people. I think the new technology values, plus the global recession, have framed a new set of priorities. Many people today value information and connectivity more than the physical assets.
The buying changes will continue to evolve, no doubt. But the days of viewing every thing from what we own are changing (just as Amazon changed the notion that book sales only could be produced through book stores with high cost inventories).
kq4ym - It may be a generational thing. Millennials may make do with less, while older folks feel the need for more. Certainly past generations made do with less. Was that because they had to, or they chose to?
Some people are coming to the realization that having more doesn't make them happy, and voluntarily choosing less.
And if the economy goes into the dumper, we may all find that we have to make do with less, whether we want to or not!
While I like to think I can push back from material goods, I'm not so sure I can really do it. And I'm not so sure society in general is going to do it either. The test might be to ask is your house more full of stuff today compared to five years ago.
I know my house is considerably less lacking in storage space and even walking space than just a few years ago, and that's even with a conscious decision to try to cut back on buying new gadgets and conveniences.
It's probably nature and nurture that make man want more 'toys' and find excuses to obtain (and store) them away like squirrels burying nuts in the ground for the winter.
Alison - I'm not a fan of people who disconnect permanently, or for a year. But disconnecting for a few days, or even a few hours, is salutary.
I don't believe it's practical for me. But I'm interested in ways to partly disconnect. On my recent vacation, I shut down my laptop for 10 days, relying solely on the tablet and smartphone for connectivity.
Part of me admires those who choose to disconnect. Part of me doesn't understand it (except on days when I have 400 emails in my work inbox and 3,000+ in my personal email. Then I get it very easily!).
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