Are Old Books Bad For Your Health? Comment on Mold Spores and Dust Mice in the Lungs

The other day, I was in a used bookstore which was going out of business in our local area. The whole thought of that completely bothered me, nevertheless, everything was on sale so I wanted to see if there was anything that I needed. They had a section with some very old books in one of the corners. I pulled out a book I wished to buy, but the pages had turned brownish, and the acid paper was decaying. I opened up the book and I sneezed. Apparently it had dust mice.

I thought to myself “that’s unfortunate, and I don’t need dust mice in my own home or my own personal library,” and that portion of the used bookstore did smell musty, perhaps there were mold spores in the walls. Nevertheless, that got me thinking about how so many wealthy individuals in past periods have had emphysema, and other lung problems who had also had large libraries in their own mansions or homes. Could it be that all these old books over time as they decay caused dust particles and mold spores to get into people’s lungs?

If that’s the case then old libraries not kept at the proper temperatures could be dangerous for your health. Maybe we don’t have to worry about this, because the age of electronic books is now upon us. I often feel as if my home library is becoming more like a museum of artifacts. I’ve always thought that owning a personal library was of supreme value to one’s quest for a lifetime of learning, constantly improving one’s intellect and understanding of the life experience of the world we live in, however perhaps it is unsafe, health wise.

There are tiny organisms that feed off of wood, and therefore probably paper as well, that’s what books are made at of, and just as some hotels have bedbugs, it may not take long for one book in one’s library filled with tiny organisms to multiply, and advance to similar ecosystems along that bookshelf. You see my point? That’s a scary thought isn’t it?

There is not a lot of information on this as a look through the Internet, but there is a good chance that having too many old books might actually be bad for your health. And if you die early from some type of lung problem, you do realize you can’t take that knowledge with you. That’s all I’m saying here, but then again it may not matter because in the near future there won’t be any physical books.

Everything our next generation has to read will be an e-book, and you won’t have hundreds or thousands of titles in your personal library, you could easily have hundreds of thousands, and be connected to the Internet and trillions of pages of information all the same time. Please consider all this and think on it.

Top Ten Tips: Where to Get the Best Business Books Now!

There are many places you can get books, and I don’t pretend to know them all. I’ve listed a few of my favorites below. I hope they’ll inspire you to make a way to read a new book or 5!

Readers make leaders!

My first recommendation is to borrow the books from the library, and purchase the ones that make a difference in your life. The ones that are listed above are ones that have made a difference in MY life, so they might not be the ones you buy. In case you want to purchase them, I’ve listed a few places you can buy them near you or online.

For those of us that are “too busy” to read books, my second recommendation will make it easier for you. Listen to the books, instead of reading them. As Zig Ziglar says, “Your car is your university.” Insert bus/train/plane and you get the picture. That time you spend commuting you could be learning. If you listen to 30 minutes of books per day, just think of how much better versed you’ll be than the person who listens to the local talking heads talk about the TV show you didn’t watch last night!

Audible.com

To listen to the books, the easiest thing I’ve found (besides getting CDs or tapes from the library) is Audible.com – If you don’t have time to actually READ books get a subscription from Audible.com. Get the newest books, and the most interesting books here.

Simply Audio Books.com

I just found out about this from a good friend of mine, and it looks phenomenal: Rent as many audio books as you want for $19.95 a month. It’s like a personal leadership library that you can get what you want, and then send it back. Netflix for audio books. What a great idea, especially if you’re lacking a nearby library or bookseller.

800CEOREAD.com – A bookstore with an attitude, based here in good old Milwaukee. The “Keen Thinker” selections are worth their weight in gold, the “Jack Covert Selects” books are almost always a solid pick in my eyes.

Half Price Books – Not sure if these are in your area, but we have 4 or 5 here in Milwaukee, and often I find the books I want in perfect shape, for, you guessed it, half price! I’ve even found autographed copies of books here (still only half price). And if you sign up for their newsletter (they won’t spam you), you’ll get extra special discounts not available to the general public.

Half.com

Buy used books at Half.com for less. You might even find some for a dollar, or even ONE PENNY (plus shipping and handling, of course). I strongly encourage you look for other people’s used books here, because it’s simple, easy, and affordable, even with $2.49 for shipping. A bonus: link directly to eBay for the latest business book auctions.

Barnes & Noble

Why do I recommend Barnes & Noble, instead of Borders or any other chain? Because they have a preferred customer plan, where for $15 or so a year, I can get a discount on everything I buy at the store. Also, I L-O-V-E their listening stations for new music (I never buy any music from them, but that’s because they think $15.98 is a fair price for a CD).

Amazon.com

Yes, I have to include Amazon.com because not only can you get new books from them, you can also buy used books, and often I find the book I couldn’t find at my local library for only a dollar or two.

Your local thrift store

You can pick up some old classics at your local thrift store for just a few bucks or less if you’re lucky. Befriend the people who work there, and they’ll tell you what days they put new stuff out and maybe pull some of the best aside for you.

Researching Your Proposal? Don’t Just Google It, Surf The Stacks At Your Local Library

I’ve always loved libraries. I guess the reason is as much serendipitous as it is practical. Yes, there was information I needed to find. Equally exciting was information that was going to find me. I’d wander through stacks, checking newspapers from around the globe, the huge variety of magazines, and reference books on every subject imaginable. There was always something new and fascinating to learn. Then along came Google.

Google is the first place to which I now turn for information. The search engine often allows me to find what I need in a matter of moments. Or, it gives me hints as to where to look. Why is this so special? One major reason is that in an era where we need things fast, Google is fast. Barring the ‘Net being down, Google gives us so much, so quickly. But not always.

When I’m looking for information, I want to scan the material, whether it’s a book, a magazine, a report. I like to physically have the material in my hand, able to identify pertinent facts with self-stick notes of all colors, or take pages to photocopy. You can’t thumb through a book, magazine or newspaper on line. But you can at the library.

I’m just doing some research for a chapter on immigration. I want to find out how Canada’s aboriginal peoples view bringing immigrants to this country to take up jobs when aboriginal unemployment is as high as it is. I tried Google and didn’t come up with much. A visit to the Edmonton Public Library was far more successful. By scanning several issues of magazines by the aboriginal community, I found just what I was looking for. I also found unrelated information I can use for other work I’m currently doing.

So this brings me to an important point. What is the easiest, most practical and productive way to find what you’re looking for? I make the case that your local library may be your best bet. Consider their databases alone; they have access to industry and employment databases that you can’t access easily or at all on the search engines. Libraries have a wealth of information about local conditions that can be invaluable for any entrepreneur or small business that markets to and serves the local community.

And libraries have people. I count reference librarians among the most valuable and friendly resources I know. They usually know where to find the information you need, how to access it, and even suggest sources or resources that you would not have considered. You get all of this for a modest annual fee or even for free.

And then there’s that serendipity I mentioned earlier. Just checking the magazine racks reminds me of how much I don’t know and how much more I’d like to know. Then something catches my eye and it’s another piece of fascinating information to be added to my own personal databank. Once again I’m surprised how such things show up. Call it surfing the stacks if you like.

So next time you need information, by all means start with Google. But remember your local library – it may have a lot to offer in helping you to research then write an effective proposal.