Sunday, October 23, 2011

On Abandoning Books

I lugged virtually every book I'd ever bought around with me from move to move until a dozen years ago, when my family moved to Florida. At that point, I got rid of hundreds of books, including all of my old college text books which I saved for reasons I can't remember. After we moved here, I continued to do most of my reading from the library, but over the years I did fill a large double closet with newly purchased books, mostly from used bookstores.  When I moved out of the family home and into an apartment, I brought only two boxes of my most treasured texts with me. That was hard, but necessary at the time.

In the last year, even though I was on an austerity budget, I managed to add a whole banker's box of new books to my collection. (Books, you know, are right up there with food, clothing and shelter. Even austerity budgets must make room for them.)

Having decided to downsize further after my daughter graduates from college, I realized that I did not want to saddle myself with more boxes of books to haul around for the rest of my life. I'm keeping the two boxes of "treasure" books, to which I added one or two new loves, but I'm switching to digital going forward.

Today at work someone asked me if I thought that a lifelong bibliophile like me could switch entirely to digital, and I said yes, immediately without thinking twice.  For one thing, I will be much more mobile and will need less space to store books; that will help immensely with the downsizing plans. For another, I will be able to keep with me at all times up to 3500 books in my Kindle.... and by the time I fill it up with 3500 titles, I'll probably have the Gen 8 Kindle that will house 10,000 or more e-books. Keeping with me at all times so many beloved books will more than outweigh the lack of p-book smells and page turning.  Having all my books in my purse at all times is a bonus I never imagined, but one that makes me incredibly happy.

Can I do away with p-books going forward?  Absolutely!

What am I going to do with those two boxes of dog-eared and heavily annotated cherished treasures? I'm keeping them for now, but I can almost envision the day when I might replace them by electronic copies. Someday.

But not just yet.

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