I Bought a Book.

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It’s true.

I’ve purchased a brand new 2010 book.

It has a shiny cover and 244 pages.  Much to my disappointment, it has no pictures (or sadly pop-ups).

My intention with this new purchase is to do a little something I like to call “reading”.

I’m not sure how this adventure will turn out, but I’m optimistic (always the glass is half full kind of guy… or not).

You see, I don’t read unless it’s on my laptop or phone.

Consequently, I don’t buy books. 

That wasn’t always the case.  I used to read.

Of course, that was way back in the Pre-Technology Days.It's a Book.  I'm Going to Read It (in Theory).

Many of you probably don’t remember the good ole days.  The 80’s, 90’s and the whatever the 2000’s are called (back when I was youthful and vibrant… before life had beaten me down).

Back then, it wasn’t uncommon for me to read several newspapers a day.  On a good day, I might even crack open a magazine or a book.

Not now.

I’m way too busy.

Too busy searching the interweb.  On my email machines.

My time is spent on sports scores, the 10 day weather forecast, watching my investments tank, and looking for retirements spots (I WILL win the lottery… I NEED to win the lottery… and SOON).

I’m busy.  Really busy.

This is my way of saying  I “waste” a lot of time.

The world wide web is one part convenience, one part information, and 7 parts time sucker.

Something tells me this book may very well be the last one I ever buy.

I don’t own a Kindle or an iPad.  But I will.

We all will.

And probably sooner than we realize.

In fact, and I’m going out on a limb here, I think devices like these will be required by every Pre-K through college student in just a few short years.

This may sound crazy today, but it won’t in 5 years (if you don’t believe me reread this blog in 2015… like it will exist in 5 years, or 5 minutes…).

Presently, schools require students to provide their own pencils, paper, binders, folders, glue, Kleenex, and countless other school supplies.

Why not have each kid bring a machine on which they can read textbooks?

Your first reaction may be Kindles and iPads are way too expensive for the average family, but they won’t be in a few years (or months).

It just doesn’t make sense that schools continue to purchase expensive books when students can simply download them on their first day of class.

This sounds far-fetched, but I think it’s coming.

And soon.

Now while you contemplate my latest half-baked idea, I’m going to read a book.

Quite possibly, my last one.

Book report coming soon.  Unless I get busy checking the long-range forecast.

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10 Responses to “I Bought a Book.”

  1. Melanie
    on Apr 29th, 2010
    @ 7:01 pm

    I agree about the Kindle, especially since, with textbook updates, an e-reader would be so much cheaper in the long run, expensed out over four years or more. I teach English and I would love to own a Kindle, however, there is nothing better than a brand new book being cracked open, or the smell of a library full of wonder waiting to be explored. :D

  2. Dave
    on Apr 30th, 2010
    @ 6:49 am

    I think we will get there sooner than later (ebooks, etc.) Although I love technology and what it brings, I guess I am somewhat old fashioned too. Like the author David Bouchard says, you can fold, crease, dog ear or even lick a page and call a book your own. (Note: I saw him do this at a keynote, really.) I am worried about newspapers too. I read them online, but still like the personalization of folding a paper and reading at the table. Screens just make me “buggy eyed” after a while!

  3. Cracked Chalkboard
    on Apr 30th, 2010
    @ 8:08 am

    I read online a lot, too… but there’s just something about the feel, the smell, the experience of holding and reading a real printed book that I don’t think will ever be 100% replaced by e-readers. On the other hand, I agree that they will replace school textbooks, because those big bulky overpriced wastes of space are hardly utilized anyway. Why do we have kids carrying around 35 pounds of book, only to read a grand total of 50 out of 10,000 pages in a school year? Silly. On top of that, a lost set of textbooks probably costs more than a Kindle anyway.

    The real question is how to detach these devices from their retail storefronts so schools can actually get THEIR content onto them.

    The e-reader idea makes sense. But not just for textbooks, for virtually all class printed material! Paper is slow, inefficient and wasteful for most classroom instructional use.

    But… when I’m sitting on a beach chair in Cozumel reading for pleasure, or propping my feet up in a Starbucks sipping coffee, what I want is a paper and ink book. There’s something comforting about it… and when I get done with that $15 book, which is still $12 on Kindle, I can re-sell my hard copy for $6-8 on Amazon marketplace and pass it on to another reader… or if I put it in my shelf, I can pick it up again in 20 years… where wil that PDF file, or even worse, Amazon/Apple-chained book be? Vaporware… gone. Cyber-nothing… along with all the Facebook photos and unprinted digital pics and MP3 files that everyone will have lost decades ago.

  4. Alicia Kessler
    on Apr 30th, 2010
    @ 9:45 am

    I’m a long way from wearing some creepy Red Hat, but I’m not giving up on books that I can feel in my hands, highlight and book mark. Looking back over my book collection is a walk through time. My gardening books…..science text books from SIUC……..my Al Franken period…..self-help books for the round of bad boyfriends…uh never mind about that. I’m hanging on to paper pulp as long as I can.

  5. Diane
    on Apr 30th, 2010
    @ 10:01 am

    Ditto all the above. And don’t forget ink smudges on your nose from smelling books.

  6. Laura
    on Apr 30th, 2010
    @ 10:37 am

    Hmmmm. Now I’m working frantically on developing a Kindle type object that sprays “new book smell” from a cartridge, kind of like a car airfreshener. I’m also working on a more interactive interface that will allow buyers to purchase text that can be doodled on, highlighted, and visually mangled to their little hearts content. Then I’ll let my buyers to save these books thumbdrive for when they’re feeling sentimental and want to talk a walk back in time… Just kidding. I do like IRL books (that would be “in real life” for those of us who are vernacualarly challenged), but e-books do have some serious advantages.

    Personally, I love the e-book idea. I’m one of those geeky students who always brings the laptop to class and has to sit somewhere near an outlet, even if it means climbing over 10 people (and 12 empty seats) to get there. Yeah, that’s me. I would rather do away with the textbooks – $400 – $500 per semester… I could be using that on hoodies and t-shirts sold at the college bookstore! Then at the end when you go to sell them back, the book store wants to give you $5.00 for a book you paid $93.00 to purchase only a few weeks ago. E-books would be much less expensive because revisions could be made easily, so publishers do have to grab for the buck so frantically.

    Having said all that, I will say this. I’ve been in a technology savvy high school to observe. The whole life from a laptop thing was awesome but to get away with it you need two things. First, tech savvy teachers (an issue our constant writer has addressed before in this blog), and students who know the ins and outs of plagiarism (once it gets so easy to get ahold of material, they can’t help but use more of it).

  7. Olwyn Hughes
    on Apr 30th, 2010
    @ 8:50 pm

    I have thought for ages that it is a waste of money to buy textbooks only to have them be out of date almost immediately – kind of like driving your car off the lot. So, I agree that it would be a great idea to have downloadable texts and, you are probably right, kindle type devices for all students are probably not far behind.

    As to having bought a book for the first time in 2010….oh, Michael, that is one of the saddest things I have heard in ages. How do you survive without reading daily? I don’t know how anyone can get through a day without reading. I love technology and spend time online daily but I also read a lot. I go to the public library every Wednesday to pick up about 15 books. I have read 3 novels in the last 3 days so that gives you an idea of how much I love reading. I actually get up an hour early every day so that I can read!

    So, as much as I think that ebooks would be useful in the classroom, I really hope that books as we know them now don’t disappear anytime soon. There is nothing like the feeling of turning the page to find out what will happen next!

  8. Curt
    on May 1st, 2010
    @ 5:37 pm

    I still buy books, and I always want to read them, but usually they collect dust… so I’ve found a new, and … unique way. When I get a book, I cut the binding off, run it through the copy machine (which is also a scanner) to email it to myself, and then run it through a OCR, and then a text-to-voice program. It takes me about an hour, but then I can listen to the book on my phone. :)

    If I were in my office I would take a picture of my piles of books held together with binder clips for you. :)

    I agree, I think educational institutions need to be looking at digital media to replace the current over-priced textbooks. But I would prefer to see something open-sourced and teacher created rather than paying publishing companies for PDF version of their print books. :)

    Thanks for the blog!

  9. Warren Purdy
    on May 2nd, 2010
    @ 1:50 am

    Yeah I think you’re right re the availability of the Kindle in schools. BTW I read Seth’s Purple Cow book a while ago (yes – first names here Michael). There was an email address in the book for him so I checked it out and he replied. I had used one of his TED talks with the local Principals and they liked it so I wanted to tell him. Isn’t that great that via email you can actually reach these guys! I was thrilled.

  10. Cory
    on May 25th, 2010
    @ 7:42 pm

    Great post!

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.