One of the benefits of e-books is that they don’t take up any space. They reduce clutter and allow us to simplify our lives by reading more but not having what we read take up space. Though I doubt most of us go to the extreme of Joshua Fields Millburn.
Millburn was inspired by the passages in Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club about the tyranny of material possessions to sell or give away his entire 2,000-book physical library (save for four reference books he uses in a class he teaches) and do his subsequent reading via Kindle. The few books he can’t get electronically yet, he checks out of the library or buys and keeps for only long enough to read.
Now, I no longer own piles of books, but I read more than before. I enjoy each book, taking them in slowly, absorbing the knowledge, processing the information, contemplating their lessons. But I needn’t retain the physical book to get value from its words.
Looking at my own mess of an apartment, I’m somewhat tempted to follow his lead. But even without going that far, I can still look at the hundreds of e-books in my Calibre library and reflect on just how much more space I have than I would if I had them physically.