A consequence of avoiding paper – when I moved to Switzerland I had 3,793 books (I had to have an audit list). Used Kindle for many years and Evernote (for PDF books). Now, I have done a major clear out of old books and have less than a hundred. Just keeping those I cannot get electronically. Saves loads of space – even if my iPad is now a little heavier with the 3000+ books on it.
I decided to ask David more about his project and how having his books in digital form has been going:
1. What made you decide to clear out your old books?
Realised I had rarely used many paper books after reading with e-books. Redecorated the study and then thought about the space needed for the books on restoring the book cases. Also noticed that many books had not been used for over a year or many more in some cases.
2. Are they mainly fiction books or non-fiction?
Mixture of both. My main focus has been on non-fiction. Probably half of the books I brought with me to Switzerland were fiction. These I have not replaced. Now have just over 2,000 on Kindle
3. Did you chop and scan the books, send them for scanning, or just re-purchase them in electronic format?
I did scan a few short books not available as e-books using a ScanSnap iX500. Mostly I repurchased or searched for PDF copies. One important thing for me was using only one service – Kindle and not mixing with iBooks or other options.
4. What has been the biggest benefit of making your books digital?
Fast search. Also, central storing of notes and easy access to these. Access to all the books while travelling or doing lectures as been very helpful. In Kindle I use the categories to sort all my e-books.
5. What do you primarily use to read your books electronically?
Kindle app on iPad (95% of time) and a Kindle Paperwhite. Also, have a Kindle Fire and use the Kindle web reading app occasionally.
6. Is there anything you miss about reading on paper?
Not for fiction. For non-fiction I sometimes miss the ability to move very fast between sections.
7. Any final thoughts or tips about going digital with your books?
I’m watching the research on retention from using e-books with interest. My own view is there is a small reduction compared to paper.
As a speed reader I find the physical act of swiping on e-books more effective than turning a page which can slow a speed reader.
Thanks so much David! For me (not surprisingly) there has been a trend to more digital books. How about you? Are you a paperless book reader, or or do you still like that paper in your hand?