It has been a busy month. Graduation, visiting relatives, Fourth of July holiday and as I usually do, I read a book. Summer is reading season for me. This time my wife surprised me with a book from the local library. Snowball, the business life of Warren Buffet. Containing only 835 pages with an additional hundred or so of notes the tome weighed in at an astonishing poundage. This book was an easy read and one befitting a guy that accumulates so much wealth. It really takes that many pages to recount his various business deals and family travails. It is an easy and fast read and I would recommend it to anyone with a few days on their hands, weather at the beach or at home.
While I was reading I had an idea. Why not multiply the utility of local libraries with the application of technology. Let me explain. Local library systems are like lilly pads in their own borrowing/sharing pond. That is to say my local library has access to the whole Dallas County system-but not easily to say Pittsburgh, PA. So why not adopt the NetFlix model and allow local library systems to access requests through a NetFlix style of lending with the local branches minding the shipping (as they do now) and loss prevention. It isn’t hard to see how this would multiply utility of the locals and improve the information flow to everyone. I consider books important for one very special reason….
Digital delivery by it’s very nature makes no guarantees of information fidelity. For instance: with digital I will always question if this is the actual construction of sentences and paragraphs that the author actually intended me to see? 200 years from now I can be reasonably assured that with a book, what the author wrote I am really reading. However I have no such assurance with digital data. Digital data is transportable, editable and easily manipulated in ways book forgeries are not easily accomplished. Rewriting history, adding spin and changing facts after the fact have become the order of the day in news and information outlets. Call me old fashioned.
The NetFlix idea is a wonderful candidate for a foundation such as Carnegie or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation but alas, they only accept proposals form 503c Corporations or groups. I am neither so I am positive this idea will wither here in cyberspace. It may not have merit but I believe it does. Books and access to the written unedited words in the context of time is a concept important to me.
While considering the aforementioned idea I went through a thinking exercise about books and the inefficient and cumbersome nature of that delivery system. Much has been written about the books coming demise. Human nature what it is I think the end of the book is very far in the future. Besides I can get entertainment with no commercials. Drive book sales into an electronic medium and how long do you think it will be before the channel is completely clogged with commercial content? Call me selfish but I want a commercial free entertainment/learning medium.
Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W7MAP/5