Sci-Fi, New Tech & the Modern Book Collector
Speculation on Speculative Fiction
As of now, how the collector will deal with the possible changes in the publication of reading material is mostly a case for speculation. But it is a valid subject for readers and book dealers to consider because the change is coming, and in small ways, is already here. I can't imagine how dealers (myself included) will come to some sort of equitable solution to the digitization dilemma - should we be stocking up on hard drive space to download and store digital material which could then be resold by request in ten, twenty, thirty years time? Would we have a legal right to do so? Does the publisher keep copies of this sort of material for a certain length of time then sell the data to a remainder company? Will the content be stored in a format that will adapt to the inevitable changes in hardware? Who knows?
The subject and its permutations are a wide open area for all involved: the authors, the publishers, the customers, and the book dealers. For the time being dealers really don't have many options for dealing with the possibilities of digital book collecting. Dealers must continue to focus on the physical; be it bound books, manuscripts, ephemeral paper items, etc, as it is matter that can be held, touched, examined, passed on. The time will come, however, when the question of collecting and changing technology will have to be addressed, and I predict that dealers, just like science fiction authors, will evolve some symbiotic relationship with the material, in whatever form it takes.