Calling for back-up

I’m a rather voracious reader. But I’m also a bit of a tree-hugger. So way back in 2004, I decided to do something nice for the environment by purchasing fewer printed books.

Between 2004 and 2005, I’m sure I accounted for 50% of the sales at I listened to audio books during my commute, as I worked out, while I cooked dinner, and sometimes even long after I’d fallen asleep. (I never *did* manage to finish Angels and Demons …)

Anyway, over the years I amassed some 200 digital titles—all of which I dutifully backed up to CDs.

So imagine my disappointment today when I decided to sift through the stack and give Animals in Translation another listen. My back-up disc wouldn’t load. It simply sat in my computer’s belly making creepy clicking sounds.

As I randomly poked buttons in an attempt to eject the disc, it occurred to me that the title might still be available through

I was delighted to discover that—not only was the book still available—I could download any of my old purchases again. Needless to say, my poor laptop has spent the better part of its day retrieving ancient files that I may (perhaps, just maybe) want to revisit someday.

Although today’s events shattered my faith in CDs as a back-up medium, it was heartening to realize that somewhere out there is a huge digital bookshelf I can come back to again and again (or for as long as permits, anyway). As the commercials say, “priceless.”

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