It was only a couple of months ago that I wrote about my lack of compulsion to own an eReader so I did feel a bit awkward posting about my backflip last week (though in my defence I never said I would never own one, just that I couldn’t think of a reason at that time).
I have to preface the rest of this part of my story by sharing two aspects of my personality:
- I don’t like stuff. I do not feel an overwhelming need to own or accumulate things. I am the opposite of a hoarder (which I assume is unusual because there is no word to describe people like me, unhoarder perhaps?) and the older I get the less stuff I want. I buy a lot of books because I want to read those particular books, if I could borrow everything I wanted to read from a library when I wanted to read it I would do so in a heartbeat
- I will donate, sell or re-purpose the stuff I no longer need or want but am unable to bring myself to throw away anything that I no longer want but is in perfectly good working order
And so to the garage
The top picture is my TBR bookcase.
In the picture below you can see the space remaining on my ‘read books’ shelves which all of those books will have to fit into once I have read them. And even if I only procure books at the pace I can read them (currently I’m at about double that rate) I would still need to find space on these shelves for 100+ books I actually read each year.
Because of the repetitive nature of this physics issue what I end up doing every couple of months is trawling through my ‘read’ books and seeing what ones I think I can find new homes for. Which is not as easy as it sounds. I use
- bookmooch (but being in Oz I am at a disadvantage as I pay a fortune to post books overseas and very few of those overseas members will send their books to me here)
- I have some places that I donate books to (but my regular charity shops and hospices have started to say “no thanks”)
- I give books to friends (but not everyone shares my tastes and several share my overcrowding problem).
My current strategy is to move the books I don’t want to the garage and hope like heck a burglar will come by one day and be so smitten my collection of slightly worn crime fiction that he will ignore my grandmother’s jewellery and my HD TV and be on his way.
It was during the last migration season of books from shelves in the house to boxes in the garage that I had my epiphany: if I switched to eBooks I wouldn’t have this problem.
The five-year dream
I really hadn’t thought of eReading as a replacement for the other kind before. The few people I know with eReaders seem to still have large piles of physical books and most people (even the slimy people who’ve been trying to sell me a device for the past 14 years) talk about eReaders as adjuncts to ‘normal’ reading rather than a replacement for it, so the idea of completely switching to eBooks had never occurred to me. But as I looked around my garage on that cold, wet Saturday wondering where I would find room for yet another container of unwanted books I started to dream of a world free of physical books.
My hope is that within five years I will be reading eBooks almost exclusively (I can see situations in which I wouldn’t want an eReader such as in the bath or at the beach but I hardly ever have baths and I despise the beach so these are not huge obstacles for me).
It’s early days yet
Of course owning the eReader is the easy bit. I still have to change my book buying behaviour (largely this involves learning patience as some titles are not released on eBook at the same time as their paper brethren) and wait for all publishers to realise we’re into the second decade of the 21st century already. I also have all those physical books on my TBR shelves that I want to read.
But you gotta start somewhere, right?