Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Weight of Ideas

When we moved from NJ to Florida we boxed up all our books, weighed them, and mailed them so we could just throw the rest of our stuff in the car and drive.  I learned that a box of books averages 25 to 40 pounds.

That was the first of 6 moves over the following seven years.

Subsequent moves averaged 10 boxes of books for me and approximately 30 boxes for Jaru.  That's over half a ton of books.  And that's not including the bookcases.  Each move involves schlepping that half-ton of books twice -- once into the truck, and once up to the apartment.

And it's not just during moves.  You end up with a wall piled with boxes of books that every two months or so need to be re-arranged when you have to get to an outlet or adjust some furniture.

Then just last week I had to drag a 50 pound boxed bookcase up to our apartment and spend four hours punching little plastic bits through holes in cheap press-board to assemble it.

I am fucking ready to see the book as technology vanish into my personal rear-view mirror.

I'll miss the cotton gin more than I'll miss books.  At least the cotton gin hasn't personally tried to kill me.


Jaime_sama said...

Ha! I feel your pain Steve. When we moved (and moved... and moved... though not as many times as you guys!!) I felt like 50% of the mass of our belongings must be books. Then there were the small apartments we lived in where all the wall space was taken up with bookcases, leaving no place for our Star Wars and X-Files posters.

I'm watching the development of e-book readers with interest but so far am not really interested in dropping enough money to get a nice one like a Kindle (and then get trapped into buying all books from Amazon). You can repurpose a mobile device to read e-books in many different formats (and I have) but you don't get a pretty, glare-free, e-ink screen. In either case, there are still a lot of books that aren't available in electronic versions.

Jaime_sama said...

ooh, I posted that before noticing your earlier entry that you are considering a Kindle or an iPad. I'll be really interested in your review of whichever you pick. Be sure to let us know which one you get and how it works out for you!

Steve Peterson said...

I wouldn't be surprised if we were at 50% of our moving weight being books and bookshelves. We don't have a couch and most of our chairs are light and we pared back down to just having a mattress on the floor.

A big reason I want a Kindle DX or iPad is because of all those game book PDFs I have. And both of those will read PDFs and have a larger screen.

I actually did some little test runs on similar technology and I'll post my thoughts about them in a day or two.