Paperless: A MacSparky Field Guide by David Sparks Reviewed

David Sparks’ new book, Paperless: A MacSparky Field Guide is not geared towards attorneys. It is also not geared towards PC users. To even read it you have to have an iPad. But it is still one of the most well put-together e-books I’m read to date. Not just for its content but also for its design.

What I Like About Paperless: A MacSparky Field Guide

David Sparks is an attorney, geek, and the author of iPad at Work in addition to Paperless. He has gone completely paperless with his business, and encourages others to do the same. His newest book is only available in the iTunes store, and you can only read it on an iPad with iBooks2. This is because, as I discuss below, the book is more than just text. It’s full of screenshots and videos embedded right in the book.

The Content

This is definitely an entry-level book for going paperless. Most of the things discussed in this book will be old hat to Lawyerist readers. But for someone just dipping their toes in the paperless landscape, it’s a great resource. I picked it up to see if it discussed a better way to organize files for my law firm. The book definitely touches on that, and it gave me some good tips for our organization.

This book also goes in depth into automating your paperless office and life. It explains how to set up Automator actions in order to keep your folders organized and avoid accidental misfilings. I haven’t quite figured out how to set these up for my law firm yet. He gives the example of any file name with the word “water” and “bill” in it goes right to his waterbill folder. That’s fine, but if my file is 2012-08-24 – Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment – Jones.pdf I don’t think I can make Automator read the file name, see that it goes with the Jones matter, and move it to the Jones folder accordingly.

In addition to the text, this book has numerous screenshots and video walkthroughs. Unlike some books I’ve read, the videos aren’t just links to Youtube. They’re embedded right in the book. Reading this was a whole new experience. It’s how books on the iPad should be. More than just text adapted for the screen, the “book” takes full advantage of the iPad’s capabilities.

The Price

This book is only ten dollars. So even the cash—strapped new solo can afford it.

What I Didn’t Like About Paperless: A MacSparky Field Guide

This book is entirely geared towards Mac owners. That’s great, since I own a Mac, but it doesn’t help my PC-toting partner at all. The book doesn’t even really discuss the fact that Windows exists. Also, this book is definitely geared towards beginners. It’s for the folks who are sitting around thinking about going paperless, and just need that little bit of motivation and guidance.

Who Should Buy Paperless: A MacSparky Field Guide

Mac and iPad owners who are just getting into the paperless arena. This book is not for experienced paperless office workers, or hardcore PC users.


Paperless: A MacSparky Field Guide

Reviewed by Josh Camson on .

Summary: Sparks’ new book is a great introduction to going paperless. It’s also a role model for other e-books on how to take advantage of the iPad for your book.


  • Price: 5
  • Content: 4
  • Multimedia: 4

Overall score: 4.5 (out of 5)


  1. Avatar Nancy says:

    I have not been able to open ” paperless” in my I BOOK. It just turns it to paused. Nor can I find I BOOKS 2 in the apps store. My apps say they are all updated. Any suggestions?

  2. Avatar Andy Mergendahl says:

    The fact that you even reply to comments like that makes you eligible for some sort of peculiar editorial sainthood.

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