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Books: Digital to Analog and Back Again

This is a story of how the digital and print worlds interact with each other. I share it in the hopes of creating another piece of evidence that we don’t need to think about the future in terms of paper OR digital, but rather paper AND digital.

Awhile back, fellow librarian Bobbi Newman posted a blog entry titled Why I love Kindle Desktop for eBooks. She talked about how she downloaded Amazon’s Kindle software to her netbook so she could read Kindle books without having to buy the proprietary reader. She also talked about how the Kindle Store provides samples of many different books and how she’ll sample books before deciding to purchase them. The post also mentioned books she was currently reading on Kindle Desktop, including Drive by Daniel Pink. A few days before the Kindle Desktop post, Bobbi posted a link to a animated version of a talk that Daniel Pink gave about his book.

The video made me want to know more about Drive. Bobbi’s post about Kindle Desktop gave me a way to immediately sample Drive rather than buy or place an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) for a book I may or may not have wanted to read through. So I downloaded Kindle for iPhone and downloaded the sample chapter of Drive. I was very impressed. I almost went ahead and bought the digital version of the book, but my wife convinced me to do an ILL instead. So that’s what I did.

I read through the book, remained impressed. I hope to have a full review out later, but I would liked to see this book read by managers and politicians everywhere. For now, I’ll just give you the author’s Twitter summary as given by the author on page 203: “Carrots & sticks are so last century. Drive says for 21st century work, we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery & purpose.”

Daniel Pink supplies a reading list on pages 185-194 he calls the Type I Reading List. His selections seemed interesting and I thought others would be interested in his selections too. So I went to WorldCat and put his 15 selections, plus Drive itself onto a WorldCat list at http://www.worldcat.org/profiles/dcornwall/lists/1834257.

So there you have it, a blogger recommends a digital book. I sample a chapter of the eBook which leads me to get the paper book. The paper book has a bibliography I like enough to create a digital version. Digital to Analog and back again.

But it doesn’t stop there. I’m probably going to run at least some of the books on the list through Kindle to see if I can find e-versions with sample chapters. I may buy a few or do more ILLs.  So there may be more iterations of this cycle. More examples of how it’s not digital vs paper, but digital enabling paper and paper enabling digital.

It’s a complex and interesting world we live in, for which I’m grateful. I’m also grateful to Bobbi and other librarian bloggers who have so many interesting ideas to try. Thanks!


4 Responses

  1. Thank you for making the list! I’ve only read one of them, guess I know what I’ll be reading this summer 🙂

  2. Hi Bobbi, Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you liked the list. I know WorldCat isn’t every librarian’s cup of tea, but I’m bullish on the opportunities for tying popular and interesting content to libraries and library services.

  3. I love books. I love the smell of them, the feel of them. I love to hold them and turn the pages as I read. Oh yes, I do love the information and stories that I read inside of books, but digital is information only. Digital appeals only to sight. I enjoy employing the other senses as I devour books. I guess that makes me old.

  4. Hi WakeUpAmerica – Love of books does not make you old.

    Aside from their sensory value you describe, there are a number of reasons to hang on to books:

    • They do not require power to read, making them great in disasters, camping, and developing countries.
    • Books printed on the proper paper can last centuries. Digital files can start to fail after 10 years unless people intervene.
    • Which would you rather have fall from a 20ft height while hiking – a paperback hiking guide or your Kindle?
    • For most people, reading words on paper is faster than reading on a screen. See http://www.pcworld.com/article/200491/reading_on_paper_is_faster_than_ibooks_on_the_ipad.html for one recent (tho small study)

    I value e-books mostly for ease of access, the ability to search within them, and for those times where I don’t expect to read a particular book again, such as Origin of the Species, which I’m currently reading on my iPhone.

    In terms of the preservation of knowledge for future generations and for ease of use when electricity isn’t available, I fully stand by paper and microfilm.

    Thanks for commenting on a library/book themed post.

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