The shelf life of books

First, I apologize for the title. I really wasn’t intending to be punny.

I recently became an subscriber. At work, audio books save my sanity by making mundane tasks tolerable. As I was searching audible for information on social networks, the Internet, blogs, learning and intelligence, I was once again struck by my personal bias. When I search for non-fiction books, one of the first things I look for is the publication date. If the book was written before 2002 and it deals with any of the afore mentioned topics, I tend to skip over it and look for something a bit more fresh.

I’m starting to wonder, how prevalent is this phenomenon? Is my preference unusual or is it part of a growing norm. Personally, I suspect that this is part of an emerging trend fueled by almost effortless acquisition of up-to-date information. Knowledge seems to morph with increasing rapidity, especially as it pertains to the Internet and cyber culture.


  1. Shoot! I thought you had some scoop on what books do up there on the shelf when the lights go out.

    That asisde, I know what you mean about perishability of information. There’s an increasing number of areas where you have to add a fudge factor for developments in the last 12 months.

  2. Trish, I am guilty of this behaviour. At a (on- or offline) bookstore, I will check the publication date. But I was like this pre-web, too. I guess I like up-to-date examples in order to feel “informed”.

  3. Trish,

    Never apologize for a pun.-) They add value to writing and conversation. I look at publication dates as well. This is especially important with books about history and science.

    Maybe, like packaged food, they should come with expiration dates.-)

  4. Phew! I’m not alone.