"A home without books is like a body without a soul"
-Marcus Tullius Cicero

One of the silliest arguments on the net is ebooks vs physical books, when the obvious and irrefutable answer is: both.

There is something about the simple pleasure of being curled up on the sofa. or in bed, turning the pages of a physical book. En-masse on shelves, they are part of what makes a home a home. I have a pretty minimalist home but still find room for well over a thousand of them.

But being able to carry hundreds of books with me wherever I happen to find myself? Who would want to sacrifice that?

I was keen enough on the concept to start reading ebooks back in the PDA days. That gave way to a phone, then a Kindle. However, once I got an iPad, it seemed a bit silly to carry two tablet-style devices, so I sold the Kindle and now read ebooks on my iPad. It's heavier, and not good in sunlight, but most of my reading is on trains, planes and in bed.

The format wars is rather tiresome, but fortunately the superb Calibre ebook conversion software takes care of all that nonsense.

You may have noticed the Brittanica se in the photo abovet. My father had an elderly set when I was a child, and I think I invented hyperlinking: whatever I went to look up anything, I'd invariably see a reference to something else that caught my attention, so then I'd look that up and ...

I think I had to be physically extracted from it at times.

So there I was at a local car boot sale, and I spy two trestle tables with a complete set of absolutely mint Brittanica 1987. Now, this is something that cost £5500 when new, and they had the complete set priced at ... £40!

I was standing there trying to figure out whether it would fit in the boot of my car and they must have thought I was musing about the price, so they said "£30." I said I was wondering whether it would fit in my car, and they said "We'll deliver it." They were apparently about to move to a retirement flat and didn't have room for it. So I got a complete Brittanica, delivered, for £30! It was actually twice as many books as you see here as it included all the extras, which I donated to a local school.

Lest anyone think my complete library is this worthy, I estimate that of the 1400-ish books (there is a second row behind the one you can see), around 750 of them are SF. There is also, of course, a fair proportion of technothrillers.