Books have always been an important part of my life. I read them. I often read several at a time in parallel, looking for the insights that sit within them and in the spaces between them.
I think though, that technology means I can abuse them, treat them as disposable, buried within my Kindle, or as cheap paperbacks. So, I’m conducting a thought (and probably action) experiment. At the moment, I buy around one hundred and fifty books a year, and because of technology, pay around a thousand pounds for them. What if they cost fifty pounds each, so I could only buy twenty? How would that change things? Technology means it would not restrict the amount of information available to me, but how would it change my relationship with books? How different would my bookshelf look? How would I decide which to buy?
I suspect scale and cost reduction carries a heavy external cost - it feeds our consumption habits, and our propensity to throw things away (and I don’t think that matters whether its a physical, or a digital discard - it’s still something of an insult to the author)
As of books, so for much of what we buy.
How long will what we create today live to do its work, and respect the effort you have put into creating it?
As Artisans, might our focus might be more on a notion of value over time, and how the work we create lives in the world as it ages?
Being a visual person, the visuals of the printed text on paper is important to me. I don't read digitally. I buy fewer books, but probably spent about the same as you. I see my books as my contact with the authors. We are having a conversation. I also remember selections based on where they were placed on the page. Twice during my life I have purged my collection. It is one of my few regrets. I also have this notion that some day, the internet will go away. So, my physical collection may have value as the seed bed for the recovery of civilization if ever the apocalypse comes.