Only the Dog-eared Need Apply…

I have been working on my book very sporadically and I got to thinking about the lack of new metal detecting/treasure hunting books coming out, and I am NOT  talking about those only available via download. Yes I am old school but it bothers me that our stories, experiences and pastime’s history may someday only be in cyberspace, not in printed form and before you write me off as clueless and useless let me try to explain.

You and the greater majority of people throughout the world spend a big part of each day staring, and I mean staring, at smartphones, iPhones and iPads. Now I’m not sure where the “smart” label came from but the fact that you plan and run your life via these handheld devices pretty much cancels out that label.  Handy? Yes. Smart? Not in my opinion.

All the information that you are tuned to, all that data that controls your life, can disappear in a nanosecond.  Information that could also be in print form, as in pen, pencil, paper keyboard and what the hell happened to “Day Runners”.  I know, I know, archaic right…this idea of taking pen to paper, physically writing, typing, documenting. I mean who the hell does that anymore and that’s precisely my point. No one does and what happens if and when the internet, the worldwide web goes down or worse yet, disappears? You’re laughing right? That will never happen you say? Maybe not, but stranger things have happened and with all the cyber-warfare today why ignore the printed page for the sake of expediency?

Have you never experienced a moment when you opened a book and got lost in its pages? And please, I’m talking about one you can touch, smell and keep in your company without worrying about the loss of a signal, connectivity or breakage?  One that you can drop, step on, stain with food, drink and one that was so damn good you didn’t want to put it down or want it to end. A book that you wanted to keep on your bookshelves, forever?

When Charles Garrett, KVM, Glenn Carson or Roy Lagal wrote a book I had to have it. I read their books from cover to cover and often times reread them.  It seemed I could always go back and find something I missed first time around.  Something that often made me a wiser and smarter detectorist.

Today there are a few books that arrive on the scene that relate to our hobby but most are rehashes, repeats and redundant. Real meat and potatoes material has gone missing.  Then again maybe it has all been said?  Somehow I doubt that. Take a look sometime at the first edition of Charles Garrett’s “Successful Coin Hunting” or Bob Sickler’s “The Detectorist”. These were books you could get lost in and learn from.

I lost my TH’ing library when we lost our home and the shelves in the new man cave are pretty empty. There was always something fulfilling when I’d look at the books I had accumulated over the years. Seems I could always find an answer or a clue when I needed to and familiarity almost always made me pick out the right book the first time. I may see if I can replace a few of my favorites but I doubt many of them are still available and 43 years of collecting is just difficult to do again.

My old office was filled with good reading. and it all disappeared in a matter of seconds….

I know a lot of you will tell me that it’s all out there on the internet and to get with the times, but I reserve the right to still live in that era where you could see, touch and truly judge a book by its cover. You can stuff your Kindles and Nooks. They will never ever take the place of that well thought out, well written, dog-eared book and for the record I don’t like the way e-books smell!!



40 years ago all we had to worry about was how we could find the money for that $300 detector and how to keep the wife from finding out how much it cost.  Based on what I see today divorce attorneys must be thriving.




Filed under Metal Detecting

20 responses to “Only the Dog-eared Need Apply…

  1. groundviewmd

    Your right on the money about books Dick. That is why I decided to sit down and write a book myself. I’m just worried no one will buy it, oh I know a few will but writing my first book your hesitations. My book is Treasure Hunting Street & Sidewalk Tear Outs

  2. John Robert

    Yep!! know what you are saying. I too prefer the feel, smell weight of a book. Although I’ve started to download some Kindle books to read on my Ipad, mostly the free ones. I often go back through my REAL books to re-read one of my OLD books on one of the shelves. It honestly took me a while before I felt I could get lost again in a good read from a Kindle book. However, now I can read late at night in my bed without a light to disturb my wife.
    Also, I’ve found them handy when traveling. Much lighter.

    That having been said, I still prefer reading a REAL book. May have something to do with the memories of many, many years of enjoyable reading out of real books. Something the younger generation will never really understand and sadly never enjoy..Lucky us..

    • John I sold E-readers when I worked at Borders but never, ever gave a thought to buying one. I have an iPad and could download all day long but refuse to do it.

  3. Oddly enough, Dick, a group of us older guys were talking about that very thing a few days ago. It started with our observations that it is hard to find someone who is NOT staring into the screen of that little dependency- creating device. Museums I regularly visit are mostly deserted, the curator sadly says people visit museums “online” now and funding is slowly drying up. A few folks who regularly stare at that tiny screen while talking to you, say the reason books are not as popular as “online” venues is that it takes more “work” to read a book, than staring slack-jawed at a tiny color photo or video. And it’s true, it is easier, but not as fulfilling, at least for those of us hailing from the mid-20th Century.

    I have a library in my home office filled with books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, and many subjects ranging from ancient Egypt to treasure hunting to aerospace subjects. I am a bibliophile in the worst and best sense of the word…volumes scattered on shelves, books on my desk, bedroom dresser, in my wife’s closet, the breakfast nook in the kitchen, magazines all over the coffee table. I carry around an old obsolete SONY e-paper ebook reader with several hundred volumes on it, mostly old, out-of-print books.

    And we all are expecting the day, when our government, or the world government decides to shut down the internet and cell phones. We will be fishing in the creek, watching the internet-dependent on the far shore frantically texting “How to Survive” into their inoperative little plastic boxes. Just sayin’

  4. Y’know, Ricardo, sometimes you manage (somehow) to hit the nail on the head (only sometimes, mind you!) and this latest piece of yours was one such time. That said, I’m sure we both agree there’s nowt like sitting back in the ole reclining armchair, feet up, a bloody good treasure hunting tome, and two fingers (vertical!) of Talisker Single Malt.

    Maybe, today’s treasure hoikers (sorry, detectorists – gotta be PC here) don’t feel the need to assemble libraries made up of old maps, and/or, classic works by KVM, CG, Glen Carson, Roy Legal, et al, under the impression that Yootoob vids are the substitutes for in-field experience? Well, good luck to them I say.

    Perhaps for your next venture, you really ought to appeal to the lowest common denominators; don the ‘cammo’ gear, get out the Go-Pro, act like a complete *****le, and make a video?

    It’s called progress Brother, progress!


  5. Robert Moore

    Dick Stout, You are the Grandmaster of Truth. Books are Great. Magazines are Great. Electronic gizmos are CRAP. I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to get started. I thank I’ll just turn around and stare for a while at my book shelf full of books and be thankful that there is a GOD and a Grandmaster of Truth named Dick Stout. Long live the REAL BOOK. Robert Moore

    • Hey Robert would you have time call my wife and tell exactly that? Have to tell you too the word “Grandmaster” leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Goes all the way back to 1988….

      Thanks Robert for taking the time to share your thoughts. Don’t be a stranger here.

  6. Bob K

    Check wih your local libraries when they are having a Book sale, a day or so before the sale….as to what books there going to sale. I do and if it’s maps or research books on City or County or detecting books I ask what the price is and usually double it. Sometimes they are not on sale but let me buy at there price.

    • That’s a good idea Bob…need to look into that. I usually give one of my books to the libraries in the area but the last time I went into MY local library it was not on the shelf. Gal said if there wasn’t much interest in a book it was pulled and put on sale. Told her she really knew how to hurt a guy.

  7. Jack Myers

    Recently released the book Knights’ Gold. True story about two boys from Baltimore who, many decades ago, unearthed 5,000 gold coins in an old dirt cellar. Those coins have recently been linked to the Confederate underground group known as the Knights of the Golden Circle. John Wilkes Booth was reportedly a member of the Baltimore chapter.

    • Thanks Jack. Sounds like a good read. Just finished “Manhunt” by James Swanson (the hunt for Booth). It was excellent. Will check yours out when I finish the one I’m reading now.

  8. Bob Sickler

    That you would even mention me alone in the same paragraph with my late mentor Charles Garrett is indeed a very appreciated large compliment. Thank you for that! These days I’m trying to spend as much time outdoors enjoying metal detecting, but I still enjoy reading what everyone is finding (on paper of course)!

    • Hey Bob, good to hear from you. Your book is without a doubt one of the best ever. You need to reprint it my friend. While I have you….would you do one of the Q & A posts?

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