Lispian Random meanderings on whatever catches my fancy

Lispian
Kindling

I’ve been looking at the Kindle. I installed the Kindle app on my iPad and must say I’m impressed. But maybe not in the way a lot of people see it. Instead of something that allows me to lug lots of books around instead I see it as the means to an end. At the moment my house has thousands of books in it. They’re everywhere. My biggest problem is I love books and read 50 – 100 per year. Problem is, more than that many interesting books are published per year.

Take into account yesterday. I wandered through Chapters here in town and immediately saw 4 books I wanted to buy. I had to restrain myself, but in the end bought 2 anyway. Sigh.

The problem I have is one of space. At the moment I still have some room for books, but that will end. And I doubt I can convince my wife to allow me to have yet another room filled with bookcases. So, I have to come up with a solution and the Kindle is a major part of that solution.

Instead of always buying physical books I have decided to separate my reading into three types of books: pleasure, work, and interest. The first can be purchased via the Kindle and read at leisure. The second can also be purchased via the Kindle, but at times I may want a physical copy but it will stay at the office should I do so. The third are those books I figure I will re-read in future, and primarily are history, cultural, biographical, economic, etc. style books. For a taste of the types of books I mean for that third category I include such tomes as God’s War, Guns, Germs and Steel, Hitler 1889 to 1936: Hubris and its companion Hitler 1937 to 1945: Nemesis, Fire in the Valley, Rise of the West, Augustine, God’s Battalions, The Victory of Reason, Fumbling the Future, Why Mexicans Don’t Drink Molson, The Black Swan, Lost to the West, etc. All of which I strongly recommend as fantastic reads.

But for the myriad other books, like mysteries, SF novels, general interest, etc. I find the Kindle will save me a lot of space. How much? I don’t know since I’m stuck with my current collection unless I opt to repurchase them, something I loathe to do.

In fact, I’d love to be able to replace a slew of the books I currently own with digital copies. Perhaps selling them used and then buying a digital copy might be in order. Some people with similar problems have opted for drastic measures. I don’t know if I can bring myself to go to such extremes. It just rings too much of Books on Fire, the thoughts of which sicken me even if I do know there’s no comparison to what transpired in the past by nearsighted and stupid people.

I am a bit irritated that there’s no easy way to swap a book for a digital version. CDs were wonderful in that you could rip them onto your hard disk, but books are an altogether other matter. I’m sure I could scour the Internet for PDFs but I just don’t have the time nor inclination. I want convenience, and spending hours looking isn’t in my current makeup.

So I’ll do this going forward and I’ll see what happens. Part of my decision has resulted in my giving away to libraries, hospitals and friends hundreds of books already. And in that way they find a good home. And should I desire to read one of those books again, I can always borrow it from the library or get a digital version via the Kindle or iBook stores.

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October 2010
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