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Matthew Finlayson

New Englander in the Pacific Northwest. Father and Husband. Full time iOS developer.

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A while ago Rands posted about books and what they say about their owners.

What I’m learning during this stalking is my deal. The intricacies of my assessment aren’t the point. You are decidedly and blissfully not me, which is why I’m standing, wine glass in hand, totally and completely lost in your bookshelf. Dr. Seuss and Calvin and Hobbes… interspersed on single shelf. That… is fucking brilliant.

He posted it shortly after I had bought my kindle2 and sold nearly all my paper books. If Rands came over he’d see a handful of Calvin and Hobbes and a couple books I received as gifts. This bummed me out to an extent and has prompted me to start a graphic novel collection.

I haven’t come to a resting place on this set of thoughts yet. I know there are books that are worth owning, I have a few in my collection. However, there is a vast pile that I don’t need to lug with me every time I move, I don’t need to pay $200 sq/ft to house them in the city, and I don’t need to own. I haven’t found a good way to articulate these thoughts especially with bibliophiles like @wjhuie around. I think that Craigmod has done the best job yet of describing this.

As the publishing industry wobbles and Kindle sales jump, book romanticists cry themselves to sleep. But really, what are we shedding tears over?

We’re losing the throwaway paperback.

The airport paperback.

The beachside paperback.

We’re losing the dredge of the publishing world:disposable books. The book printed without consideration of form or sustainability or longevity. The book produced to be consumed once and then tossed. The book you bin when you’re moving and you need to clean out the closet.

These are the first books to go. And I say it again, good riddance.

I don’t have many problems with what he says except the dividing line he draws. That formless content goes digital and definite content goes print or iPad. Then again I don’t get paid the big bucks.