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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

ConvertingYour Library to Digital

I love books!

I love all kinds of books.  Paperbacks, hard covers, the thin card stock cover children’s books.  I love the old serial books of Doc Savage, The Shadow, and at one point I owned every one of Don Pendleton’s The Executioner Series from one through seventy something.  I love old musty, dusty books that have long been forgotten by other book lovers from ages ago.  I enjoy reading books of all types and the most precious moments with my two young boys are when they bring me a book as say, “Read this?”  Especially in a day in age in which most kids would rather play with toys, watch mindless television, or play video games, my boys will both sit on my lap while I very animatedly read various books, passing on the magic and wonderment that is reading and enjoying a good story to my children.

I knew when I first a Kindle’s for the first time that someday I would own one.  I have one of the original first models and I treat it like it were a fragile relic.  I have grown to love my kindle as much as I do books.  I honestly didn’t think I would get that attached to it.  I split my time between it reading to me while I work on other things, folding clothes, and driving to and from work.  It dawned on me that I really don’t need my six book cases which have moved twice with me over the years and are in dire need of repair.  Like many book lovers my book cases are over flowing with many shelves containing two rows of books with one row in front of another.  My wife of nine years went to move one of them this year and freaked out when she realized many of the shelves were double stacked.

From time to time I run across a book I cannot get on my Kindle so I am forced to buy a traditional bound copy of it.  It was then then I realized I had forgotten that books are heavier than my kindle, much bulkier, I have to mark my place when I stop, I have to hold it open, and I have to continually turn the page.  The Kindles text-to-speech feature can be used with the sound turned down and it reads and turns the page automatically, the trick is finding the font size which controls the speed at which it reads that most closely matches the speed at which you read.  How lazy is that, that if I actually have to read the book it turns the pages for me.  Most books I just listen to, it is much faster and I can work on something else while enjoying a good book.  When I have to read real books I realize how much more convenient my Kindle actually is.

Then it dawned on me that this new literary travel companion of mine could (a newer model) hold my entire library except for the books you can’t get on Kindle and the few rare books that are very near and dear to my heart.  I took my lap top downstairs one evening and sat in front of my book shelf and added books that I have read to my collection on Goodreads dot com.  It was then that I realized the special books would barely take up part of one book shelf.  The rest I could get rid of.  I am not the only person doing this either.  I ran across a discussion board on Goodreads where they were discussing what everyone is doing with their old books to get rid of them.

Thankfully book lovers are not the kind of people to throw away or burn books.  People are taking them to second hand book stores and selling them to use the money to repurchase the digital copies to put on their e-readers.  Some people are just giving the books to friends.  They have an entire area devoted to book swapping on Goodreads.  Doesn’t help create space but gets rid of your old books in place of new books to read.  Some people are donating them to library’s, schools, and even prisons.  I know one person who gave her books to a battered woman’s home.

The amazing thing is that you can have your entire library backed up on your computer, and available to read on your computer, phone or e-reader.  The Kindle app keeps track of where you were when you left off reading one device and picked up again on another device.  As far as research for projects or in my case writing, it is so handy to be able to pull up a book and consult a piece of reference material and never get up from my computer.  I can have my notes up, my story I am working on, spread sheets and several reference books all at the same time.  I recently was given a monitor that a friend of mine didn’t need any more and bought a USB cable to plug the monitor into my lap top so I can have multiple screens up at once.

Writers!!  This is so handy when editing, because you can have the corrected work from your editor on one screen while the work your correcting is on the other screen and just look back and forth.  Before I had to shrink everything down and split my regular screen in order to keep from toggling back and forth.

  The e-book market is out of it’s infancy stage and tottling around in it’s rug rat stage.  It is about to enter the grade school phase and grow and change in ways we can’t even imagine right now.  I see many and exciting new trends and variations of books and reading related opportunities coming soon to your e-reader, pads, phones and computers.  In the immortal words of Jolson and Mae West, “You ain’t seen nothin yet!”

For those that are curious I see in my crystal ball children’s books that have animated art work or pictures instead of just illustrated.  Interactive children’s books for teaching that’s fun.  Story books with multiple endings where the decisions you make while reading changes the story. (They have these now, I just see them being much more involved, multiple authors and artists working in collaborative groups to turn out whole series of books with multiple plot lines and endings with art work or small video clips embedded through out the books.)

I see informational books encyclopedias, dictionaries, and references books being interactive with video, sound, intermixed with the reference material.  A book on Kennedy or Martin Luther King would have picture and film bytes with sound embedded in the books.

I see video games and books being intermixed to get kids to play the games but they will have to read bits in between to help get through or to the higher levels slowly and without their knowledge getting them to read.  I see adult novels with moving pictures, interactive elements mixed through the books, possibly video clips to show certain elements described in the novel.

Don’t get me started on the advertising ideas for the future.

2 comments:

Sandra's Fiberworks said...

I just got my first kindle, the cheapest, $79 one and I do love it! I love that it is so simple ans is black and white like paper. Though i I suppose I have a love hate relationship with it, as I miss thumbing through pages. But a whole lot weasier to read my newspapers on it which I now actually get read! Thanks for eing in out weds blog hop. Hope to see you next week.

Sally K Witt said...

Very nice post. I love books, and I love the internet on my laptop. I am not interested in reading a book on a device. The thought just doesn't warm my heart. When I lay in bed with my flashlight poised above my head towards my paperback, I am happy reading for an hour or two before going to sleep. That is the way I like it. Check with me in 10 years! LOL

 
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