Monday, November 21, 2011

Throwing Away Books

I admit that I have always had a very hard time throwing away books. I've always loved books as long as I can remember and working in the local public library in high school furthered that love. Undergraduate education and then graduate school led to the acquisition of more books that I still refer to on a regular basis. Considering how much the Gutenberg press changed the world, and how governments have burned books in order to keep power, a book has always been too valuable to just trash, and so I've always found someone else to take the ones I have no longer wanted, with libraries being a favorite option. Strangely the librarians that I've known have either felt exactly as I have or been of the extreme opposite, being able to toss one without a second thought. I didn't have a problem with the library throwing it out, as the blood was on their hands and not mine.

I discovered this weekend however, that those feelings are beginning to change in me. I had no problem with tossing out a couple of old dictionaries and a thesaurus. I hadn't used them in years, relying instead on online dictionaries, and I can't imagine a library taking them for pretty much the same reason. (I'm keeping the Scrabble dictionary however, as that is an integral part of the game as much as the board and tiles are.) I still can't imagine tossing other books just yet, but suspect that that too will change in the future for me.

I've haven't yet picked up a Kindle/Nook/electronic book reader, but I know that at some point in the future, I will own electronic books. At the same time however, I don't think the attachment will be there. I anticipate being able to easy delete those kind of books, maybe because of the whole easy-come/easy-go syndrome, and as those books become more ubiquitous, I think it will lessen my attachment to paper books, much like internet dictionaries have done so with paper dictionaries. I find it strange that easy access to information in one format cheapens the information in other formats.

1 comment:

zbeast said...

I use to have a massive physical library. but these day's I toss out books with rapid abandon.

Thing's like story books and art books I save.. things like out of date text books and programing language books I toss in the trash.
things like tech change to fast to keep old books.

most of the books I have these day's are digital.. some purchased while others I download via file trading.
While still othere's I pay a monthly sub to access via safari books online.

Life's too short to be hauling around alot of physical books.