I’ve been boxing up my stacks of books, and thought it would be interesting to see just how many there were. For some time now I’ve been using an application called Delicious Library to keep track of my paper library, and it shows that I currently have 639 books. Since I bought my first Kindle in 2009, the overwhelming majority of my new book purchases have been e-books, with the exceptions being certain formats that don’t translate well into a Kindle title: photography books, certain computer books, and graphic novels. I looked at my e-book library for comparison.
I use an open-source application called Calibre to store my e-book library, and it shows that I currently have 713 e-books. This total has in less than four years passed the number of printed books I’ve accumulated in my life. Further, most of those titles were not actually purchased. I’ve bought 130 titles from Amazon, and perhaps a dozen or so from other online booksellers, but the overwhelming majority of my e-books were published free of charge–either original works or pre-Mickey Mouse titles released by organizations like Project Gutenberg. I’ve generally avoided buying e-books from the legacy New York publishing companies, which have adopted a policy of deliberately overpricing e-books in an attempt to discourage people from adopting the technology (understandably so, since e-books render them not just obsolete, but actually counterproductive).