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Book Love (Wednesday, March 3, 2010)

My friend, Amy, posted a note today, wondering about people's book acquisition habits. Wondering about Amazon, versus local shops, and dead tree books versus e-books.

I must say, I prefer paper books over e-books, because the paper books seem much more permanent. I have books that are over a hundred years old. While I'm totally obsessive, and have electronic records that are over ten years old, for most people, electronic data is completely transient. Also, I refuse to purchase anything that might stop working because the organization that sold it to me decides they need more money. When I buy something, I want to have it available at my leisure, without having to worry about making backups, or converting formats, or having fresh batteries, or paying extra licensing fees.

And books are so much easier to look at than all but the best (i.e. most expensive) e-paper. I would love to have a paperback-sized device with an e-paper display, that could store or download-on-demand my favorite books, the latest best sellers, and today's newspaper. But the pricing model for such devices just doesn't work for me yet, and even so, for any book that I truly loved, I would still have to have the dead tree version at home on a shelf.

That would probably explain why (with apologies to Gaston) I use books in all of my decorating! I typically only buy fiction books that I love, having already borrowed them from the library. I have bought plenty of non-fiction in order to learn specific topics, and have the reference available at any time. As much as I read, I am always finding new books to love.

In fact, our biggest problem is not so much which books to buy and when or where... it's finding shelf space for all of them! Personally, I am simply unable to get rid of a book. And if I find a book in want of a home, whether new or used, on a shelf, or left behind on a park bench, I have an irrepressible compulsion to provide one for it. Would you believe that through twelve years of college, I never once sold back a text book? I just can't do it! You know how Uncle Scrooge had a Money Bin in Duck Tales? I want that, but with books.

—Brian (3/3/2010 9:16 PM)
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