I have a fair number of books. (I’ve met people with more, so I don’t say I have a lot of books–I think it’s still under two thousand.) Occasionally, I go through my books and either garage-sale or give away ones I’ve decided I don’t care to keep. It took a fairly long time to come to terms with being someone who would get rid of books (a digression for another time), but it feels good to have the clutter gone, and to know that the books are not being kept in a place where they are not being read.
I can’t do this with ebooks. Rather, I have not yet figured out how to do this with ebooks.
Overwhelmingly, the way I get ebooks is through a service–Kobo, Smashwords, Weightless Books, emagazine subscription, DriveThruRPG, what-have-you–which requires me to create an account. The ebooks I own are associated with that account; if my computer explodes or if my ereader is run over by a stampeding moose, I can log in to my account from another computer and get fresh copies of said ebooks.
This makes it fairly hard to get rid of them.
I don’t want to give them away when I still own copies. I sometimes don’t have the option of not owning copies; it’s actually fairly frustrating to try and figure out how or if I can move something into a “yes I own this, stop reminding me” category and then duplicate that in Calibre, when I need to juggle scripting permissions to even log in (Kobo, I am looking at you), although a lot of the services are getting better about that.
I appreciate that ebooks don’t take up physical space. I do. But they’re still potential clutter, and if I am looking at a pile of badly sorted, unclearly organized, occasionally unwanted books, then my situation is not actually substantially better because the pile exists on a screen.