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When there's no more physical media to play from? No physical media to read books from?

Reader Wim Moring of Japan wrote to me suggesting the question. It's a good one, I ponder it often.

Our chief engineer's kid's middle school has eliminated all textbooks, issuing iPads to every student instead.

I no longer read physical books, always a Kindle.

My friends in the recording industry tell me downloads are growing, albeit slowly.

Vinyl has a resurgence, yet in the big picture they are somewhat meaningless.

CD sales are down. Way down.

When's the last time you visited a DVD movie rental house?

Clearly the need for physical media is declining, the acceptance of stored and streamed media growing. It's not difficult to predict the near term future where there will be few physical copies of information and music. Yet, how do we feel about that?

I have very mixed emotions and I haven't explored them enough to understand them. I still play mostly CDs and DVDs, streaming only part of the time. But that's because, as I suggested yesterday, my streaming source is not as good as my physical source. But were the opposite true, what would I be doing? That's easy, I'd be streaming. The convenience of the digital library is intoxicating if you pay no sonic penalty for enjoying its pleasures.

And then again I wonder if I am being a dinosaur. For example, I mentioned I am writing a book. A thriller on what I consider to be a very important subject. One I hope people read, enjoy and benefit from its thoughts. And yes, of course, it will be an eBook. But would I feel complete if I didn't have a hardback copy for myself? For others? Maybe in a bookstore? And would that not be the mark of success?

And if I were a musician, how might I feel releasing my first album in the ether, no physical record I could share, touch, feel or fondle existing? Would I be a success in my own eyes? Even with a million downloads?

It's an interesting dialog, one I struggle with.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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