Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Books in the Internet Age

Physical books have several advantages.

1.  Books don’t have to be recharged
2.  You don’t have to turn books off for takeoffs and landings
3.  If you lose a book, you don’t have to change all of your passwords
4.  You can fold the page corners to mark the best parts
5.  You can underline passages and write in the margins
6.  You can loan a book to a friend legally
7.  Books make great office decor

However, paper and binding is not the point of this post.  Let’s consider the content of books rather than their form factor.  With the immediacy of information available on the web through new sites, blogs and social media, are books still relevant for learning or entertainment?

The advantage of a well written book, is the depth that it can bring to a subject. The longer form gives the author space to present their subject with more research, more examples and more nuance than is possible in a news story or blog post. In addition, the process of writing and editing a book gives authors more opportunity to refine their thoughts and presentation.

As readers we also approach books with a different mindset.  Typically we read a book from beginning to end over a period of a few days and most of us read books in larger chunks of time than we would dedicate to a 140 character tweet or a one page blog post.  This allows us to absorb, consider and remember the information more thoroughly.

Most readers overlook the bibliography in the back of non-fiction books.  Don’t!  In the same way a friend’s Facebook postings can lead you to new sources of information, the bibliography is a list of books and articles to take you deeper into the subject.

Whether you prefer hardbacks, paperbacks, a Kindle or an iPad, find time to read more books.


This photo of books is from: http://www.persistenceunlimited.com/2007/12/the-26-major-advantages-to-reading-more-books-and-why-3-in-4-people-are-being-shut-out-of-success/ . Check out their 26 reasons to read more books.