Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Too Many Books and a Kindle

I have been very inactive on my blog for many reason to include buying a house, moving into said house, welcoming a new family addition, increased workload, etc. All of which are immaterial to a book blog except for one thing...moving. During my move I came to the conclusion that I simply have too many books. I have thousands of books. More accurately somewhere between 2200 and 2500. So, barely thousands but thousands none the less. I purchased a home simply because my growing family needed space. Yet, I ran out of room for my books. I have shelves of books in nearly ever room in the house. I have a creeping suspicion that I may be showing early signs of hoarding.

This made me critically analyze my book collection, not its contents, but why do I collect books. Why do I have them? When organizing the moving activities, I asked myself the same question for a lot of my belongings. For most things, I used the simple rule: "If I haven't touched it in two years, I don't need it." So, I got rid of it. Movies, music and games I was able to easily sell. Magazines and other periodicals I recycled. But, when it came to my books...I didn't know what to do. I love books. I am a bibliophile. I buy books simply to own them. I have multiple copies of many volumes of books. I collect first editions. I am very proud of my first edition collection of Conan books in particular.

It is that sense of collecting that finally crystallized a plan. I will simply become a book collector with one caveat. I will only plan on buying books that I want to read and are worth collecting. This immediately axes mass market paperbacks off the list. I will no longer purchase these books. They are poorly made and will likely be unreadable in twenty years due to acidification from poor materials.

What does this leave? It leaves ebooks & limited/collector's edition books such as Subterranean Press's Perfect Shadow by Brent Weeks or Black Library's Aurelian by Aaron Dembski-Bowden. In a marginal area are trade backs and hard covers. Marginal because I have increasingly grown dissatisfied with the quality of hard covers in particular. Tor and DAW have released some awful quality books in the last year. Trade paperbacks, my favorite book format, are marginal simply because they are generally not designed as a premium product. Both formats are marginal not only because of the dip in physical quality but because many books releases artificially delay the availability of an ebook version.

As you will notice, I said that ebooks are now a focus, hence the Kindle in the post title. I purchased a Kindle a few months ago and have been experimenting with it. I have been extremely pleased with the device. My impressions on the Kindle will be a later post. But, I came to a few conclusions while using my Kindle and thinking about ebooks. First, they take up a lot less space. Second, and maybe more importantly, is that ebooks are more permanent than a mass market paperbacks. I like collecting. My mass market collection is slowly rotting on the shelves. My ebooks will stay forever pristine. I can archive them and back them up. I can alter the formats as needed to suit new devices and format standards. Ebooks satisfying my collecting and organizing itch.

In summary, I joined the ebook bandwagon. Ebooks will become the format I look for first. If I purchase a physical book, it will be a tome worth purchasing. It will be high quality and worth displaying. This is a tectonic shift in my buying habits and it is one that I believe will start to permeate the book industry as ebooks continue to erode print sales. It is also a topic I will revisit with additional posts.

Image Source: The Black Library

No comments:

Post a Comment