Northern Exposure

Triumphs and failures on a window ledge.

Why Books? January 27, 2009

Filed under: Accessories,Info,Winter — northernwindowgardener @ 1:58 pm

book-gardenThere’s so much information on the web that it makes you wonder why anyone would buy books anymore. But while search engines are great, and following links from other trusted sources is helpful, there’s still a place for books.

With so much specialist help available for free on the net it seems a little surprising to spend money on books about window boxes. I think the main reason is that electronic advice consists of lots of fragments held across different websites and in a variety of places. Being able to sit down with a good book is, at times, much more satisfying and often gives quicker results. There’s also less opportunity to get distracted by minor points of difference between commentators opinions.

I say all this because I’ve surprised myself by starting a small gardening and window box book collection. I like books anyway so that part isn’t so strange, but I also use the web all the time and have found vast amounts of help online.

In part that may be why books are so attractive. The web is a free for all with seemingly limitless sources of advice. But a book is necessarily restricted. It has had to be planned, collected, written, layed-out, edited, printed, published and distributed. All so it can be there on the shelf when I’m casually browsing.

I should say at this point that I buy 90% of my books from a shop rather than online. Not out of any moral sentiment, just because I like the instant gratification. I’m also lucky to have easy access to some of the bigger book stores so casual browsing isn’t a problem. I also like the feeling of serendipity when I scan the book spines and pick one that is exactly what I was looking for, despite not knowing that I was looking for anything!

I can see that this method will have its limits with a minor interest subject. I don’t have a desire to build up a big library but there are a couple of books I’d quite like to have and they might require browsing online book retailers huge selection. It just seems too easy and a little dispassionate sometimes to simply find a book through three or four search criteria. More functional than browsing perhaps, but without the sense of emotional involvement you get from ‘finding’ just the right book.

Well, this went on for a bit longer than I expected. I didn’t realise I had so much to say on the subject! But over the next few weeks I’ll try to make time to review the limited selection of books I currently have.


4 Responses to “Why Books?”

  1. Flighty Says:

    I’m a lifelong book buff, and, until recently, worked part-time in a small bookshop so this good post made interesting reading!
    I much prefer browsing in a bookshop, read a lot but only keep a small collection of favourite books.
    There’s no doubt that books will continue to have a place in our lives for many years to come regardless of gadgets like e-books!
    I look forward to reading your book reviews in due course.

  2. northernwindowgardener Says:

    I do agree that having a browse is a pleasure in itself. No harm in picking up a few free tips on the way as well! At the moment pictures and simple instructions or advice attracts me more than in-depth discussions of different cultivars but I can see how the subjects draws people in.

  3. Autolycus Says:

    Why books? Because it’s inadvisable to surf the net in your bath….

  4. northernwindowgardener Says:

    … but not unheard of!

    Thanks for stopping by Autolycus.

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