Monday, May 28, 2012

Are dust bunnies an argument for e-books?

Every two to ten years, whether it's needed or not, I thoroughly dust my books and bookshelves, unloading the shelves and pulling them away from the wall to vacuum the mess of cat hair, mold, sloughed skin, and whatever the breeze blows in that accretes behind the furniture. Every two to ten years, yup. I'm just that kind of clean freak.

These last couple of weeks my partner has been away (return flight: yesterday! hooray!), and it's when I'm home alone that I tend to I grit my teeth, roll up my sleeves, bust out the duster, the vacuum cleaner, the torn-up T-shirt rags, and the Murphy's Oil Soap (tm), and do what needs to be done. Hence the before and after photos, below, of the shelves on the south wall of our living room.

Before dusting:

After dusting:

Do you see the difference? Did you click to enlarge?

I assure you that when I look at the shelves from my writing table across the room, the titles on the book spines look cleaner, clearer, sharper, and shinier than before I tore these shelves apart and wiped clean each one of our innumerable and, in the aggregate, unconscionably heavy books.

You don't see any difference? Let's try something more graphic then. How about a peek behind the bookshelves?

Before vacuuming:

After vacuuming:

Have I made my point yet?

Fact #1: books and bookshelves accumulate a disgusting accretion of dust: on, over, all-around, behind.

Fact #2: it takes thankless, tedious, back-wrenching labor to rid one's home of the stuff.

Those are the facts. And here are the questions:

  1. Are these facts an argument for e-books?
  2. Are these facts, alternatively, an argument for my friend Bill's strategy of keeping exactly one (small) bookcase in his home, and allowing himself to accumulate only as many volumes as fit on it -- to add one more, another has to go?
  3. Or are these facts, in actual fact, an argument for the value of robotic automagical nano-vacuum-cleaners, a technology that, to the best of my knowledge, has not yet been invented?

Enquiring minds wonder as they ice their lower backs.

Related posts on One Finger Typing:
It's the culture, stupid: blindered blather on Amazon, Apple, and the agency model
Six things about e-books

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