Book Packing

I’ve been packing. Our lease (actually, the 1-month extension) runs out at the end of the month, so we’re moving. I expect to know where we’re moving no later than the 24th or 25th, so we can give the moving company a “to:” address.

Anyway, I’ve been packing books. I hope to mail some of them to their final destination. (Oddly enough, the USPS media mail rate is cheaper than certain national relocation specialists. Which is why a stamp costs $0.39, I suppose.)

With the first couple of boxes I did a little study. I figured out that a 1.5 cubic-foot box of my old computer books averages 39 books and 55 lbs, while same size box of seminary books has 51 books but only weighs 45 lbs. These samples aren’t perfectly representative. The computer book sample represents almost half of the computer books I still have. (I used to have a whole bunch more, but my wife spent the last three years unloading them them on half.com.) The sample of seminary books, on the other hand, was only about 5-10% of that category, and even then, it skewed light, since it included a bunch of C.S. Lewis paperbacks.

But from these (flawed but not hopelessly so) data can be determined the following facts:

  • My average computer book weighs 1 lb 6.5 oz., while the average book from seminary weighs 14.1 oz.
  • The average computer book in this sample occupies 66.5 cubic inches while the average seminary book occupies only 50.8 cubic inches. (Typically, books aren’t cubical, but if they were, these would be cubes 4.0 and 3.7 inches on each side, respectively.)
  • Thus, the density of a computer book is about 5.6 ounces per cubic inch, while a seminary book is about 3.8 ounces per cubic inch.

(These numbers again in SI, for the world readership: computer books average 0.64 kg mass, 1.089 litres in volume, and 0.59 g/cm^3 density. Seminary books average 0.40 kg mass, only about 0.83 litres volume, and about 0.48 g/cm^3 density.)

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