Your ebook reader is great for convenience. But using it exclusively for your reading can be a career crippler. Get-It-Done Guy explains why.
My ebook reader is my friend. When traveling, it can hold a dozen books. By using a Kobo-branded reader, I can even make sure that a portion of the profits stays in my community with my independent bookstore, rather than leaving the community forever. It seemed like the perfect antidote to lugging around books. Because after all, why not turn books into a chip? They’re just information.
Books deepen existing relationships. A friend was recently at my house, browsing my bookshelf. He discovered several books on topics he hadn’t known were areas we had in common. In this case, having physical books on my bookshelf enabled me to communicate things about myself that I didn’t even know were worth communicating.
“But you can just list your books on your Facebook profile,” some people say. Yeah, but people don’t browse a Facebook profile the way they browse your bookshelf when they’re visiting. Physical books customize an environment in a way that ebooks don’t.
Most importantly, books create relationships. But even more importantly, paper books are an invitation to strangers. When I’m wearing my headphones, ignoring the world around me, no one talks to me. But when reading a paper book on a New York City subway, a nearby traveler recognized the cover and struck up a conversation. That led to an exchange of business cards and perhaps, soon, some real business.
In a world of increasing isolation and focus on devices rather than people, we can't forget that some functional things—books, clothes, backpacks—also send messages that can serve as entryways to relationships. Use an ebook when you travel, if you must, but keep a paperback around so the right people can come up and start conversations with you.