Book Usage

I collect books. Once I bought the entire stock of the university library’s annual used book sale, which took two trips with a pickup truck to haul away to our house. OK, that wasn’t smart because we still had three or four moves ahead of us before we settled into our present house.

Now I mostly buy books from Softpro, a real, physical, local, independent computer bookstore. I still buy far too many of them, and keep having to give some away, and add new bookshelves to accommodate them all.

Here are two real problems with having so many books:

Problem One – There are some real gems that I never see, they’re lost among the thousands of books on my shelves. I need a way to remind me to consider the gems every once in a while.

Problem Two – Some books you just don’t need. Stuff like “Implementing SOA with J2EE”. Much better to use that space for an Erlang book or “Gödel, Escher, Bach”.

Both of these problems could be solved with some kind of coating on the books that registered touch and, after six, twelve or eighteen months of a book not being touched again, there would appear a bright yellow, orange or red dot on the spine. The dot would be a reminder to look at the book and either recycle itdonate it to the library, or rediscover it as a gem.

Of course, on a Kindle sorted by “most recent” you get the same effect, but come on, it’s just not the same as standing in front of a real live bookshelf.