Friday, 30 August 2013

Physical Books vs. E-books - A Weighty Tome

Physical Books vs. E-books - A Weighty Tome

This morning I picked up my hardcover version of Stephen King’s “Under the Dome”.  Just looking at it always amazes me – It looks solid enough that you could build a house out of these books, if you had enough of them.  Veritable bricks they are.

So I measured it and found it to be about 9 inches by 6 inches by 2.5 inches.  A couple of minutes with a spreadsheet, and using  an estimated paper density of 800 grams per cubic centimeter gives a weight of about 4.5 pounds, for that book alone.

Estimating the length and number of all of the bookshelves in my house, I eventually came to the conclusion that my family’s book collection weighs in at about 1800 kilograms, or 4500 pounds.  Nowadays, those  books would probably all fit onto one kindle or kobo, that weighs about half a kilogram, or about a pound.  That would sure make moving a lot easier.  It would free up a lot of shelf space too.

I figure that’s about 2000 books, which means we bought  about a book a week over, let’s just say, several decades.  That’s seems like a pretty reasonable estimate for three fairly voracious readers.  In monetary terms, I suppose 2000 physical books would translate into about $40,000, at $20 per book.  Most e-books are under $10 now, independents are usually well under $5.  That represents quite a difference in overall expense, probably about $25,000.  You could  buy a new car with that much money.

So, anyway, I wonder if e-books will eventually supplant paper books?

No comments:

Post a Comment