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Old 03-18-2007, 12:42 PM   #1
RWood
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Tipping Point

It finally happened. I was able to get rid of books without pangs of guilt. Hardbound classic works of enduring value for generations past and future.

Sure I’ve given boxes and boxes of random fiction paperbacks to nursing homes and schools and libraries before knowing that setting them free might enrich others’ lives. But never the classics, never a copy of Moby Dick.

I have had the Reader about four months – a third of a year and it has changed how I look at books and the space around me. We had planned to put new shelves in one of the spare bedrooms and add more storage shelves in the basement this summer. These plans have now been scrapped.

I am going through the books and assembling groups that I can part with because I have them in open source electronic form. A lot of them come from Gutenberg and ManyBooks. Those that remain will be more accessible and usable. I will keep some because of sentimental reasons -- some signed, some given by departed friends, some from my youth with bookplates lettered by my late Grandfather. Cookbooks of dishes I will never prepare but simply lust after will be culled as will the picture books where scanning would take far too long.

I feel the technology will evolve and I will be able to contain the physical collection to its current space. When we moved here 17 years ago the moving company estimated that over 50% of the weight of our possessions was books. We have added more books than furniture and other stuff since then. At last we have reached a tipping point with the books and that will now start to decline.
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Old 03-18-2007, 12:53 PM   #2
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Wow - bold move.

I'm now happily throwing out paperbacks - especially SF which I have in Baen on the Reader - but I have a core of "old favourites" which I now have in good quality hardback editions, such as "Lord of the Rings", "The Count of Monte Cristo", a complete works of Dickens, and a few others. Those I could never throw away - I still think there's nothing to beat the experience of sitting in a comfy chair and reading a good quality, properly bound book. It's the whole "sensual experience" of the smell of the leather, the feel of the pages as you turn them, the weight of the book, etc. The Reader can't replace that.
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Old 03-18-2007, 01:33 PM   #3
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True enough Harry. I have kept my 2 volume set of the Annotated Sherlock Holmes for just that reason. But this can now be upstairs, not in the stacks in the basements.

Likewise there are two cases of Baen books alone that will be going to happy readers, some who may experience SciFi for the first time.

Among those books from childhood that I am keeping is a copy of A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. Although a good copy, even the Gutenberg HTML version does not capture the beauty and simplicity of the original book. Some of the plates are in color and their b+w representations leave a lot to be desired.

Maybe I should offer the books in a section of MobileRead and just ask for shipping charges. Who knows.
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Old 03-18-2007, 03:03 PM   #4
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My precious!

I have the hardest time parting with books! I like being able to thumb through them -- I even like the musty smell they impart after being stored in the basement for several years.

There's also some magic involved in browsing shelves of books, and maybe discovering some old note or makeshift bookmark you might have used in years past.

Now, if the Reader could do *that*.....

-y
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Old 03-18-2007, 03:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT
...I still think there's nothing to beat the experience of sitting in a comfy chair and reading a good quality, properly bound book. It's the whole "sensual experience" of the smell of the leather, the feel of the pages as you turn them, the weight of the book, etc. The Reader can't replace that.
Not that I'm arguing with you, HarryT, but I am curious as to how many of those paper books you've actually read since you got your Reader.
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Old 03-18-2007, 03:26 PM   #6
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About 8 years ago, I had well over 1000 books but also started to give them away to libraries as I got them in electronic versions or realized I'd never re-read them. I'm now down to about 30 sitting in a box-- mostly kept for sentimental reasons.

I agree that browsing a bunch of electronic files is much harder and not as enjoyable as looking through shelves of books. I do get a sense of freedom from getting rid of possessions (maybe I'm working my way down to a shopping cart on a street corner).

I've always enjoyed books for the stories, not the "sensual experience". I've never understood when people said they enjoyed smelling their books, but I'm glad it makes you happy. I wonder, do you like the taste.
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Old 03-18-2007, 03:57 PM   #7
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I have a couple of thousand books. I am also weeding them down. First to go are paperbacks. Non-special edition hardcovers that I already have in the reader. I find that by reducing the number of books I enjoy what is left more. I also like having what I need ready to go on the reader. I will never get rid of certain books and I will always have to buy books that are not available on the reader. However, I think this will greatly reduce my dependence.

Now, if anyone can find electronic versions of the Loeb Classical Library I can finally clear out those red and green wonders.
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Old 03-18-2007, 04:22 PM   #8
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I always buy books at used books store. Then when I've read them I bring them back for half the price. It's a nice and cheap way of getting books, but now that I have got the reader I will not be doing that much longer.

Also, searching real books in boxes for me has never been fun. Maybe it's becuase I don't keep them in shelves . (Don't have that much storage space.) The books are yellow with age and you can see all sort of lifeforms on them, so eating while reading is out. I much prefer the reader...
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Old 03-19-2007, 03:30 AM   #9
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Strange :-) I just bought 10 used Baen hardbacks (Honor Harrington). Hard to get in Germany. Of course i read them on my Palm T3, but having the hardbacks is definitely a nice addition to my shelves.
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Old 03-19-2007, 05:05 AM   #10
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Guys, while you are phasing out your beloved hardcover books and converting them into electronic copies (either by repurchasing or ocr'ing them) - make sure to backup!!!! I cannot say this loud enough because I just lost my own main backup harddrive due to stupidity. Among many other things I lost all the e-books that weren't still stored on my reading device.
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Old 03-19-2007, 05:45 AM   #11
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Not that I'm arguing with you, HarryT, but I am curious as to how many of those paper books you've actually read since you got your Reader.
Quite a few, actually. I use my Reader and paper books in different circumstances. When I'm reading in bed, or "out and about", it's always the Reader. When I'm relaxing at home in the evening, though, there's nothing like a good read in a comfy chair with nice classical music playing softly in the background and a glass of good wine at my elbow - that's when I enjoy reading my paper books.
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Old 03-19-2007, 05:47 AM   #12
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Guys, while you are phasing out your beloved hardcover books and converting them into electronic copies (either by repurchasing or ocr'ing them) - make sure to backup!!!! I cannot say this loud enough because I just lost my own main backup harddrive due to stupidity. Among many other things I lost all the e-books that weren't still stored on my reading device.
Oh no - what a disaster!

I have my e-books on two separate external hard drives, and also backed on on DVD too. You just can't be too safe.
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Old 03-19-2007, 05:53 AM   #13
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I've always enjoyed books for the stories, not the "sensual experience". I've never understood when people said they enjoyed smelling their books, but I'm glad it makes you happy. I wonder, do you like the taste.
I admit it - I'm a pervert . The only reason I bought a leather cover for my Reader was for the pleasure of sniffing it .

I just love properly bound, good quality, books. Just enhances the reading experience, as far as I'm concerned. What I've been doing for several years now is gradually getting rid of all the books I don't regularly read, and replacing those that I do with nice hardback editions. Just something I enjoy.
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Old 03-19-2007, 07:24 AM   #14
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Of course you could just buy a leather housecoat and sniff yourself while reading the e-book but that could lead you into a whole other kind of trouble.


I agree with you. Get rid of the pulp and keep the quality. Sitting with a Yale Shakespeare or a complete Sherlock Holmes or a first edition Heinlein is never going to get replaced by any reader.
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Old 03-19-2007, 07:28 AM   #15
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2 weeks ago I took down to a local second hand charity book shop(oxfam) about 50 paperbacks. I think I am going to try to sell a few hardbacks on amazon marketplace. Most of hardback I am going to keep for myself though. I think I like to collect books that I like, even though I will not re-read most of them.
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