The Advantage of Fiber-Based Analog Search Techniques

Books Can Beat Google For Many SearchesI once had a freelance job that required me to write three 500-word blogs a day for one client. The client was a major chain of furniture stores in Australia and two of those articles had to be on furniture or home decorating topics.

If you do the math, you’ll see that I had to produce 120 content pieces in one general subject area over the course of two months.

To say that I needed inspiration would be an understatement. Sometimes HGTV is on in the background in my home every waking hour of the day. But even that wasn’t enough to keep me going.

Still searching…

If you get good at anything in this business—other than writing—it’s searching the Internet. I squeezed everything I could get out of Google and also went to a couple of alternate Web search strategies that I really like: Quora and Addictomatic.

After a few weeks, I badly needed to freshen up my sources of inspiration, so I decided to hit the library. I knew that I could find materials, but until I started using the books I found, I didn’t realize what a natural advantage they have over Internet search results.

For example, if I searched Google for “decorating with mirrors,” I would get a great list of pages that covered that topic. I could:

  • Click on the first link and get good information on decorating with mirrors,
  • Click on the second link and get good information on decorating with mirrors, and
  • Continue this down the page of search results.

You get the idea.

Finding real breadth

With a big, fat book on interior decorating from the library, I could look up “mirrors” in the index, and find one or more pages that discussed using mirrors.

But here’s the important advantage: After checking out the mirror page, I could flip one more page and be on a completely different decorating topic. In fact, I would probably land on a topic of inspiration that hadn’t even occurred to me. Here’s the difference:

  • Do one Internet search and you get many pages on the same topic.
  • Grab one book and you get many pages on a wide variety of topics.

Frankly, when you need a breadth of inspiration, turning to a good book can be more efficient and fruitful than Internet searches. While a search on Google can deliver millions of results, it’s like the river that’s a mile across but only an inch deep.

Score one for ancient technology.

PS – The refresh rate of pages in books is blindingly fast.

Photo by Lin Kristensen from New Jersey, USA (Timeless Books) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.


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