Farewell, Paper Books

We've been doing some clearing out at Speirs Towers. Since Carolyn and I are now both Kindle owners, we worked out a few rules for whittling down our stock of books.

  • Rule 1: If it's a rare or very expensive book, keep it.
  • Rule 2: if it's available on Kindle, dispose of it - with the understanding that, if the book is ever wanted again, we'll re-buy electronically.
  • Rule 3: if the book has been superseded by the web or an iOS app, dispose of it.
  • Rule 4: If the book is still relevant, not available electronically and still interesting, keep it.

We only found two books that were sufficiently rare or expensive as to meet Rule 1. We disposed of more than half a bookshelf under Rules 2 and 3. The majority of the books that survived under Rule 4 were kids books that don't - yet - work well electronically (although the iBooks store is making big moves in that direction now).

I'm not much of one for making predictions. I usually suck at predicting in the short term because I underestimate how long it takes people to change their mind. I do better in the medium to long term and one prediction that see coming true is the idea that ebooks will eventually become the default form of accessing long-form prose. I don't think I can say exactly when but, if I can convince such an avid reader as my wife to go through a process like the above, I know the day is coming.