I have a rather large library that I’ve been dragging around for almost four decades. It grew by leaps and bounds in my younger days, but the growth rate has slowed in the last decade or so. (Slowed, but not stopped!) One of the bigger parts of moving has been getting enough boxes to pack the books, packing the books, unpacking the books, and deciding what to do about book shelves.
The damn shelves are a topic of their own. Book cases never seem to quite do what I want. I like the technique of mounting bracket rails on the wall and hanging shelves in interesting patterns. But that raises the topic of whether to leave the rails mounted or take them down and patch the holes. And the shelves themselves are an issue; the inexpensive pressed particle board ones tend to sag, but the nice strong pine boards are more expensive and require sanding and staining.
It’s a great deal of work for the simple pleasure of curling up with a book!
The digital age offers a new take on the whole book library thing. Video has gone from VHS to DVD to Blu-Ray to streaming. Music has gone from vinyl to eight-track to cassette to CD to iTunes and streaming. In both those cases, I’ve now purchased the same damn thing multiple times. (A favorite movie line of mine is Tommy Lee Jones in Men in Black, “Now I have to buy the White Album again!”)
I’m still on the first generation of book technology, and it’s looking like it’s time to buy the White Album with regard to reading material. With that in mind, along with a life-long love of books, here’s a piece that’s been taking up bits on various hard drives for a long, long time (author unknown, and much edited by m’self):
Introducing the new Bio-Optic Organized Knowledge device (BOOK™)!
Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere—at the beach, on a bus, or even sitting in an armchair by a fire. Even small children are able to operate one with almost no training. Yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc. Here’s how it works:
BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. The pages are locked together with a custom-fitted device called a cover, which keeps the pages in their correct sequence. Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet of paper, doubling the information and cutting costs. BOOK sheets can store images as readily as they store text, and no special software is required.
Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now, a BOOK with more information simply uses more pages. Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into the user’s brain. A flick of the finger takes the user to the next page.
BOOK may be taken up at any time and used merely by opening it. BOOK never crashes or requires rebooting. Like other devices the data can become corrupted if coffee or soda is spilled on it, and generally BOOKs will not survive immersion in water. Severe misuse can also cause permanent damage rendering the BOOK unreadable.
BOOK is random access: the “browse” feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet and move forward or backward as quickly as you wish. Many BOOKs come with an “index” feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.
An optional “BOOKmark” accessory allows the user to open BOOK to the exact place last used in a previous session, even if BOOK has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs of various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous BOOKmarks can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store numerous views at once; the number is limited only by the number of pages in the BOOK.
The user can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with an optional programming tool, the Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Inter-communication Language Stylus (PENCILS). A Portable non-Erasable Nib Stylus (PENS) may also be used to store permanent notation.
Portable, durable and affordable, BOOK is being hailed as the precursor of a new entertainment wave. The appeal of BOOK seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform and investors are reportedly flocking to invest.
Look for a flood of new titles soon!