I finally got rid of my cheap, particle board bookcases and replaced them with solid pine. They smell fantastic. And yes, they cost more then an iPad, but these guys will still be around when an iPad is nothing more than a paperweight.
There was something enormously pleasing about going through all of my books. Half of them remain in the basement in boxes, so the process involved choosing what gets displayed and what gets boxed. That’s part of the appeal, limiting what I’ll look at regularly and leaving some space open for new books.
As a former bookseller, I must categorize. I have a half a shelf devoted to travel, half for yard work (okay, gardening, but it feels like work), a couple shelves of mass market paperbacks, a shelf of reference and (ahem) self help, a shelf of history and biography. I found a couple of strange notes tucked between the pages, such as “Polycrates: tyrant of Samos 535 – 515 B.C. killed his two brothers but eventually crucified” from Bertrand Russell’s History of Western Philosophy. I never did quite finish that book… one of these days.
Then there are the first editions and signed copies. Some real treasures, including one with a doodle from China Miéville. Going through these books, some recent arrivals and others that I’ve had for decades, is like reliving bits of my past. eBooks may have portability and instant gratification advantages, but there will always be something special about the physical book.
Oh, and if you’re in the Seattle area, I highly recommend Ballard Bookcase Company. They were super helpful and friendly. They do custom installations too. I’m happy to say seem pretty busy, even with all the ebook hoopla.