Monday, August 9, 2010

Recycling your books

Reports and predictions continue to flow out about the demise of the physical book (perhaps 'greatly' exaggerated, though it makes good copy).  Of course big, expensive hardcovers (not budget priced paperbacks - that's a debate for another day) can't compete with $5 ebooks that you can search, read comfortably in the dark without an itty bitty book light and carry around without hurting your shoulder.  But for sheer furniture appeal, those ebooks just don't cut it.  I tried stacking mine next to the condensed character rich Oxford English Dictionary I've had since my uni days but they didn't add anything to the decor.  So how do you make the most of the lumpy tomes that are on your shelf once you've got the sleek, nano-sized electronic version?  Well you can still read them you know.  I've tried it and it works.  You can also trade them, which is something that is a little tricky to do with ebooks, even if you discount the formidable digital rights issues.  My kids are voracious readers (genetics at work), and I've yet to spring for ebook readers for each one of them, so as a special low-cost treat, we will often toddle over to the local book exchange with a box of pre-loved books and trade them in for ones we haven't yet had a chance to love.  This doesn't always end up with the latest new releases, but it can result in some wonderful classics that deserve to come back in vogue (perhaps helped along by recent filmic revivals), such as Sherlock Holmes, the Hornblower series, books by Arthur Ransome, or anything by Enid Blyton (though it may have a strange impact on your children's vocabulary oh my golly gosh).  The Secret Seven can be a little tricky to find at Borders, but you can find shelves and shelves at the Book Exchange, for something like $2 each (or free if you get a good enough credit).  Even ebooks can't compete at that price.

You can also turn your books into neat things for your home, especially if you don't feel the need to read them.  For example, Inhabitat provides a very easy to follow video guide on how to make a book planter.  I'm afraid I'd still be tempted to try and read it (especially since their example is Best Known Works of Voltaire and it's about time I had another read of Candide).  Note - don't try doing this with an ebook. 

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