What Happens When it Rains?


I’ve thought long and hard about this one. I keep the majority of my books in the Amazon cloud. You see, like many people, I have a Kindle, plus the Kindle App on all my devices. I’ll admit the platform has made reading more convenient; however, there are two key issues which have made me doubt the convenience of e-media and cloud storage.

I’ll start with the first issue. This is an issue with social status. Last week we had dinner at a friend’s house. He has a very nice home, large kitchen, and many, many rooms. What stood out for me were his bookcases. He probably has several hundred if not a few thousand books lining his walls. From what I know of the man, I am confident he has read them all.

Having e-media is great for saving space, but I feel it leaves a literary hole along the walls of our homes, offices, and schools. Am I just being old fashioned? I for one would love to have the space for a large bookcase, but the cost of inventory would impact my library size. For now we have a small case for my children along with one or two rows dedicated to my wife and I. I hope we don’t reach the point where our children reach for a tablet before a book.

Here’s the second issue. I’ve brought this up before to friends and co-workers. With everything going to “the cloud” what happens when it rains? I’m referring to a catastrophic network failure. Would someone know how to retrieve the data? I’m not so old fashioned that I don’t see the benefits of cloud computing. I love it, and use it. If it weren’t for Evernote I’d never remember what we discussed in meetings or why I’m at the store. The point I’m trying to make is, should we have a back-up plan? Is it worth killing a few trees for data redundancy. I use Amazon’s cloud music storage, but I also still prefer to have an MP3 file as back-up. If possible, I’ll even take a CD.

Overall, it’ll be a wait and see approach. It’ll be interesting to see if there is a paradigm shift in the next ten years. Who knows? Maybe there will be yet another digital reformation for additional redundancy. Let’s just hope it doesn’t include 3.5 inch floppy disks or clay tablets.

Your thoughts? Vote in my poll and let me know in the comments below.

  • When I first saw the tile of your post, I thought you might be investigating the hermetic moisture-resisting viability of the Kindle unit. Not so.
    However, it’s been a concern of mine for about a decade that we are increasing reliant on wireless connectivity. Remember the old days when a laptop had to be connected to the internet via a really long phone cable? 😀
    If there’s a glitch, nothing will get delivered, workers will not be able to find their offices and ablets will be reduced to coasters and chopping boards – or at worst, gaming devices.
    Ahhh…I love the smell of dystopia in the morning.

  • I have yet to dive into books from Amazon, but all of my electronic textbooks are downloaded to my local machine, then distributed to the cloud and the rest of my devices through box.com. for me to lose anything the storm would have to take out eight devices and the cloud. Can you not do this with Kindle books?

    • I’m thinking more in terms of apocalyptic failure. What good is “The cloud” when you can’t access it? There’s nothing tangible. Regarding creating Amazon back-ups, I haven’t put forth a lot of research into this. I think they use a combination of the .kf8 (Kindle Fire) and AZW file formats. Both of which are proprietary. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_e-book_formats#KF8_.28Amazon_Kindle.29

      • Justin W. Smith

        Well this means we need to define “apocalyptic failure”. Again, with the methods I use there would need to be a major issue at multiple locations spread throughout the region and U.S. In all likelihood if such as issue presented itself, say, nuclear war, it would be something that also takes me out.

        Let us say the issue simply takes out our electric and communications infrastructures permanently since we are calling it “apocalyptic”. As time progresses living in larger cities would be dangerous so moving to low population areas with access to water and natural food resources would be important. If I am going to walk my family to the cabin in Montana, I will carry few books in my travel supplies.

        I rely on the cloud as a method of duplication, not as my sole point of storage for anything. I am a data hoarder. This is why I have all of my data duplicated between several devices AND the cloud. However this same principle holds true for data services such as Amazon. Even if there was an interruption causing event that temporarily caused you lack of access, eventually service would be restored and your data loss would be rather minimal.

        Now, if we are truly talking “apocalyptic”, does any of this really matter. There is one book I would carry. And will I primarily view, note, and reference to and from it using electronic devices, I have a trusty hard copy just like the night stand of any hotel room.

  • I keep my Bible on my Kindle. I should probably find my hard copy. But point taken, and agreed on data duplication. I still prefer a backed-up MP3s in addition to the cloud.