17th Century Kindle
July 31, 2017 7:02 AM   Subscribe

Only four copies of this traveling library were made. And two are in the US: one in California and one in Ohio. It's amazing that this has been held together for so long. It must have been put on a shelf and forgotten. Lovely workmanship.
posted by MovableBookLady (21 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
What a treasure! As one who prefers paper books to electronic books, this makes me swoon a bit.
posted by Elly Vortex at 7:24 AM on July 31


Oh, that is so PRETTY! I may have to see how to put something together that would look like that and fill it with little books I find.
posted by xingcat at 7:29 AM on July 31


I was wondering if the Amazon web crawler really does pay out well for every online mention of Kindles....
posted by Samizdata at 7:32 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


Perhaps an amateur cabinetmaker with modern miniatures might be inspired to start their next project.
posted by fairmettle at 7:33 AM on July 31 [1 favorite]


What a treasure! As one who prefers paper books to electronic books, this makes me swoon a bit.

As a librarian, I hear this comment a lot. I'd be interested to hear though why you prefer print over electronic? Does the fact that, say, with a Kindle, you can have several thousand in your hand not tempt you a little?
posted by anothermug at 7:53 AM on July 31


I'm with EllyVortex in preferring print over e-books. The many-book option in electronics is tempting . . . but holding that flat hard thing is not. How am I supposed to hold it one-handed? A paperback actually fits in many of my pockets—will the hard thing? What about all the out-of-print genre books I like to read? And—and this is the big thing—I don't own the e-book; it can disappear at any time (as has actually happened fairly recently). If I buy a book, I can loan it to multiple people whether they have an e-device or not, I can keep it forever on my shelf, I can sell it on the used book market, I can donate it to an organization/library, I can throw it across the room or at someone, I can use it for kindling. The physical book doesn't need upgrading, but e-readers do. So I'll stick with paper, thanks.
posted by MovableBookLady at 8:05 AM on July 31 [4 favorites]


I love my Kobo ebook. It is so much lighter and easier to hold than a large hard cover or a thick paperback book.

Yes, you can hold ebooks one handed. Yes, they fit in pockets. Yes, you can get all sorts of out-of-print books. No, I have never had a book disappear. No, e-readers do not need updating, although they occasionally my have an update to install. I still use my first Kobo ereader from over 10 years ago, as well as a new touch version with a front-lit electronic paper screen.

I mean, I love paper books too and have shelves and shelves full of them, and still acquire more all the time, but nothing beats having a pile of books on an electronic paper ebook with a lit screen for reading at night. It was great camping and up at our un-electrified cottage. It runs for at least a month on a singe charge. And the convenience of borrowing ebooks from the library from home!
posted by fimbulvetr at 8:21 AM on July 31 [6 favorites]


I bought a cheap refurb Kindle to bring on a vacation where I would have limited access to power to recharge, and it's been a revelation.

I have a huge collection of paper books, I love them. But being able to hold hundreds of books, in a small light device that does in fact fit in any pocket a small paperback would fit into, is terrific. And I haven't paid a library fine in years.

I can purchase hard copies of books when I decide they need to be part of my permanent library. I've also purchased hard copies of books for other people and gotten a Kindle copy for myself as a bonus.

That said, I'd adore something like this little traveling library. I could probably spend years just figuring out what books are worthy of inclusion.
posted by padraigin at 10:09 AM on July 31 [3 favorites]


Huh, the index has 1, 2, ... numerals for all three shelves, but the actual books have A, B, ...; I, II, ...; and 1, 2, ... instead, which is better, as you immediately know which shelf to put them back on.
posted by clew at 10:32 AM on July 31


Links to information about and pictures of this that won't require you to click through to the Daily Mail: 1, 2, 3.
posted by howfar at 11:18 AM on July 31 [3 favorites]


I prefer paper because the EFF just stopped doing its eBook privacy ratings in, say, 2009... around the time the ever-increasing creepiness of internet tracking got all the attention. So I enjoy knowing that the fact that I read Backlash by Susan Faludi is not entered into my email-linked marketing dossier, and the fact that I read certain chapters four or five times is not used to sell me tic-tacs, and the fact that I don't finish such-and-such a book is not reported back to the publisher for them to tell authors "you have to fix the problems here", and if I highlight a certain passage it's not sold to psychographic marketers who want to get me to vote a certain way.
posted by Hypatia at 12:04 PM on July 31 [3 favorites]


I love my Kobo ebook. It is so much lighter and easier to hold than a large hard cover or a thick paperback book.

Yes, you can hold ebooks one handed. Yes, they fit in pockets. Yes, you can get all sorts of out-of-print books. No, I have never had a book disappear. No, e-readers do not need updating, although they occasionally my have an update to install. I still use my first Kobo ereader from over 10 years ago, as well as a new touch version with a front-lit electronic paper screen.

I mean, I love paper books too and have shelves and shelves full of them, and still acquire more all the time, but nothing beats having a pile of books on an electronic paper ebook with a lit screen for reading at night. It was great camping and up at our un-electrified cottage. It runs for at least a month on a singe charge. And the convenience of borrowing ebooks from the library from home!


Yeah, what THEY said!
posted by Samizdata at 12:35 PM on July 31


I prefer paper because the EFF just stopped doing its eBook privacy ratings in, say, 2009... around the time the ever-increasing creepiness of internet tracking got all the attention. So I enjoy knowing that the fact that I read Backlash by Susan Faludi is not entered into my email-linked marketing dossier, and the fact that I read certain chapters four or five times is not used to sell me tic-tacs, and the fact that I don't finish such-and-such a book is not reported back to the publisher for them to tell authors "you have to fix the problems here", and if I highlight a certain passage it's not sold to psychographic marketers who want to get me to vote a certain way.

Dunno. I use a refurbed Asus ZenPad with Moon+ Reader, and if I am REALLY paranoid, I can use my install of Adguard Premium as an application firewall. Yeah, it takes a bit more work to get the ePubs and get them on the tablet, but I have the joy of picking a reader I like with the features I want and the eBook organization structure I want. So, there's that too.

(Can you tell I have been underwhelmed with my Kindle experience?)
posted by Samizdata at 12:39 PM on July 31


(The Kindle lives on my nightstand as a voice activated alarm clock, World Community Grid machine, white noise generator, and Bedflix terminal. The Kindle app annoys me in so many ways.)
posted by Samizdata at 12:40 PM on July 31


Dunno. I use a refurbed Asus ZenPad with Moon+ Reader, and if I am REALLY paranoid, I can use my install of Adguard Premium as an application firewall. Yeah, it takes a bit more work to get the ePubs and get them on the tablet, but I have the joy of picking a reader I like with the features I want and the eBook organization structure I want. So, there's that too.

That's true. I myself use e-books (generally public domain pdfs and epubs) though not on an e-reader. And as you said, there are certainly ways to increase privacy, but by that time the "convenience" of an e-reader is gone for me.

Especially for long amounts of text, I don't want to read it on a screen; for scholarly work, I like knowing how much is left in a chapter, "where I am" in the book, ease of flipping back and forth, etc.

But as another librarian, I am pissed off that librarians who go on and on about the importance of protecting patron privacy through borrowing records basically abdicated that "sacred trust" when it came to lending e-books.
posted by Hypatia at 12:58 PM on July 31


What a vapid little article that Daily Mail stuff. It could literally be summed up in two sentences. I'd really like to see the list of the books with some commentary instead.
howfar, thank you for the direct links.
posted by Laotic at 1:12 PM on July 31 [1 favorite]


A couple of the books are sitting sideways above the others. Is this the intended design or have the books swelled with the years making this the only way to fit them in the folio?

MovableBookLady: "and this is the big thing—I don't own the e-book; it can disappear at any time (as has actually happened fairly recently)"

Pirate the epub after you buy a book and it is yours forever.

Hypatia: "So I enjoy knowing that the fact that I read Backlash by Susan Faludi is not entered into my email-linked marketing dossier, and the fact that I read certain chapters four or five times is not used to sell me tic-tacs, and the fact that I don't finish such-and-such a book is not reported back to the publisher for them to tell authors "you have to fix the problems here", and if I highlight a certain passage it's not sold to psychographic marketers who want to get me to vote a certain way."

Side load via Calibre and you are safe from these intrusions, at least using something like a Kobo Glo.

The only thing I prefer dead trees for are reference texts where I might have several pages that I'm flipping back and forth between using my fingers as bookmarks. I've yet to see a software implementation that works as well as a bound book for this.
posted by Mitheral at 3:08 PM on July 31 [5 favorites]


I'd really like to see the list of the books with some commentary instead.

If you have access to JSTOR, then the article by Howard Nixon and William Jackson, English Seventeenth-Century Travelling Libraries (1979), should give you all the information you desire. It adds the delightful detail that the fabric ties on the bindings were colour-coded according to subject: blue for theology and philosophy, red for history, and green for poetry.
posted by verstegan at 4:20 PM on July 31 [5 favorites]


This is splendid!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:17 PM on July 31


Anothermug, I'm a librarian too! Sorry it took me so long to answer your question above.

The reasons I don't like ebooks...hmm. I've had two Kindles in my life - an early version that wasn't backlit, and a later "paperwhite" version. They just didn't click with me. I spend so much time looking at screens in my daily life that I didn't want to look at yet another screen, maybe. I didn't like the plastic of the cover. I didn't like having to buy a THING in order to read my books. I wound up donating one of my Kindles to my old Library, and gave the other to my sister.

When people come over to my house they're invariably shocked that my husband and I own practically no books. Maybe 100, tops? We were both big library users as kids, both worked in libraries as young adults, I became a librarian, and we're both frugal enough people to choose borrowing library books instead of buying books. I'm totally cool with the fact that, if I want a particular book, I might have to wait a little while to get it. I don't need to have a whole library of options immediately available to me at all times, which seems to be a real selling point of an e-reader. Then again, I also have the luxury of being in a library many days a week. Perhaps if I wasn't constantly surrounded by library books, I'd feel the need to curate my own collection? Also - I rarely read more than two books at a time (one fiction, one non-fiction) so I don't have the problem of dragging around tons of books with me.

I'm also pretty wabi-sabi in general about belongings so when I'm traveling I have a habit of picking up a book from a Little Free Library or free book exchange, reading it, and then leaving it behind at the next one. I've found some real treasures doing that!! I'll never forget 10 years ago, a road trip to Olympic National Park, when I came across a Little Free Library STUFFED with Sidney Sheldon books. I never would have picked up ONE S.S. book...let alone the 4 that I tore through on that trip. If I stuck to my Kindle and the collection that I curated myself, I'd miss out on those sorts of twists-of-fate that seem to bring random books into my life.
posted by Elly Vortex at 11:15 AM on August 1


I read on my Kindle almost exclusively (and I love this traveling library!). It is much lighter and easier to hold than most paperbacks, especially since I love loooong books. My eyes are older (like the rest of me) and I like choosing my font size. And I don't have space or the desire to store all the books I love.

The ownership question is a valid one. It is simple to download and use the Calibre book manager and find plugins to remove the DRM, so once you buy a book you remove Amazon's control over the book. It also works on many version of ePub.

If you feel strongly about being able to lend you books out, it may that buying a cheap used copy expressly for that purpose is a good choice. The author only gets the benefit of your first purchase anyway.
posted by lhauser at 7:16 PM on August 1


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