Going Paperless

Holy cow. Has it really been five or six weeks since I posted anything here? Oh, the shame!

There are plenty of things in the pipeline, so don’t worry that this blog is going to blogfade. Somehow time just got away from me.

After a few weeks of distraction, you’d think that something really spectacular would make me post again, and you’d be right. I ran across an amazing, amazing book called Paperless, by David Sparks. David is a lawyer, and he co-hosts a great podcast called Mac Power Users. Paperless, as the name implies, is a guide to making your life paperless—getting rid of all the paper, scanning it to PDF, and filing it away.

Paperless is available on the iPad through the iBooks app store (launch iBooks and tap on the store button that appears above your library) or iTunes. David reports it will be available as a PDF, but not on the Kindle. His reason is simple: you can’t get the kind of experience on a Kindle as you can with the iPad. Having made it a good portion of the way through this book, he’s right.

The iPad’s ability to present text, images, and video make it into a magical (yes, magical) platform for delivering an electronic book. David has pounded away at his keyboard to produce 26,000 words, used his mouse to create numerous galleries of explanatory images, made 32 screencasts, and edited 4 movies. All of these are wrapped into a delicious package that will change the way you think about books forever. Not only that, it may inspire you to create your own using Apple’s iBook Author software application. (I’m already thinking that it may be time to resurrect the Wine For Newbies Wine Tasting Course and turn it into an iBook.)

Did I mention it’s gorgeous? 

Okay, enough about the technical side of the book, let’s get into the substance to convince you that it is worth the $4.99 (US). David walks you through three basic steps: capture, organize, and store. Each chapter is stuffed with details and how-to information. I’ve read enough articles about going paperless that I knew some of this stuff already (like which scanner to purchase to accomplish the tasks at hand), but David has offered me much more. I’ve gleaned more information about workflows than I thought possible. The ideas in this book extend well beyond just going paperless and the law practice.

I cannot recommend this ebook strongly enough. I’ve been trying to go paperless for two years, with varying degrees of progress. This book has filled in some of the gaps for me, and I am dying to get back to the office and start putting this information to good use. Whether you want to reduce your piles of paper at home (and who doesn’t, really?) or the office, whether you practice law or not, this book will make a huge difference in getting you to paperless nirvana. At five bucks, it’s an absolute steal—and will probably pay for itself a thousand times over quickly. That’s an amazing return on investment.

David promises that this book is the first of many to come. David’s writing style and high quality delivery of information makes me look forward to the next one. It’s too bad he has to practice law and take time away from his writing projects.

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