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To read or not to read

John K Jordan
Few seem to read these days but some of us do. I once had a supervisor who at 40 years old had NEVER read a single book all the way through. Amazing.

Based on my wife's current count, she estimates she will read around 75 books this year. I read every day. I read a lot of fiction on my Kindles but I prefer paper for books with information: woodturning, flatwood, tools, methods, wood ID, trees, mushrooms, beekeeping, machining, welding, electronics, computer graphics, livestock care, spinning wheels, vehicle maintenance, etc. I've bought three real books from Amazon in the last couple of weeks even though they are more expensive than ebooks.

I continue to build my library - fortunately I added an office in my new shop so most of the books are in bookcases there. Some, in particular several on woodturning, are so useful I have two copies so I can lend one to others.

To me a book is so much more useful than a DVD or a bunch of YouTube videos. The information contained in just one of Richard Raffan's woodturning books would probably fill 100 hours of video. Books can present the how and the why as well as alternatives, while even a good youtube video almost always just shows you the how and usually just one method.

I can't underline passages in a video or ebook, write notes in the margins, and mark the pages with real post-it notes so I can instantly flip to passages a year from now. I can't flip between two passages in the same or different DVDs or even ebooks. It is difficult to even scan the titles as you can easily do on a book shelf.

I love my Kindles (I have four) but can take a book anywhere and "access" it without an internet connection and charged batteries.

On-line content is amazing and wonderful, instant, inclusive. But it is indeed often shallow. Just digging through the mass of information can be a huge effort. As for youtube, it is often difficult to find useful information in the sea of videos by beginners and poor craftsmen. I very seldom view youtube videos any more unless one comes recommended by someone I trust.

Although I purchased them, I don't really own any of the ebooks on my Kindle. I can't easily lend them or give them to friends. When I'm gone I guess they are all gone too, a sort of digital book burning.


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