Sunday, 29 May 2011
When a new boss appeared in the late 1980s one of the first things he pronounced was that within 5 years there would be very little paper in the office and most things that we did would be computerised. He set out to achieve that end. By the time he left, an almost broken man, in the mid to late 1990s the office had more computers and more paper than ever before; I suspect that over 15 years later things have not changed.
I was reminded of this by the recent debates that have been taking place over traditional books v electronic books (which, for me, means Kindle).
Dawn Treader recently posted upon the subject of books and bookshelves from our houses disappearing as a result of changing ways of reading. As you have seen I still have plenty of books in my house: many seen but many more on boookshelves which line a wall in my loft. The number of books I have does not disgrace the Edwards name (Mum collected books and Niece Helen collects books just to name two) but is miniscule compared with the number my brother CJ (aka Scriptor Senex) has.
I have attempted to remove some of the paper from my Study by scanning many documents (eg insurance and similar documents) and doing away with Bank Statements and just reading them on line. I started doing the same with my diary and address books etc but have realised that as records (I have most of my diaries going back to 1967 and my address books from my schooldays) they are invaluable in paper form.
When it comes to books I have discovered that many of the books I use on a daily basis such as bird and insect books and many other reference books with illustrations are just not available electronically at the moment. On the other hand every recipeone could ever want is available on line.
So for me there are two issues when comparing the paper book with the Kindle: convenience and comfort. There is something undeniably comfortable about holding a book and reading it. On the other hand the Kindle allows me to travel with as many books as I am every likely to need when I am away from a home or, as with my music collection on my iPod, allows me to carry books from one home to another without any weight in my luggage (which is an important consideration these days with such weight restrictions on air travel luggage).
Another great advantage of Kindle is that I can read a book on the Kindle reader or my cellphone or my laptop and because they all sync I am always at the correct page in whichever book or books I am reading and I can comfortably read on the plane or in a surgery waiting room or if I'm caught somewhere unexpectedly.
So I expect that during my lifetime at least books will always be with us but that more and more books will be read on electronic readers. I, for one, shall embrace the new technology with open arms.
But here are a few more of my books many of which will probably not be 'Kindalised' in my time: