I’m such a book snob. When e-readers first appeared on the scene, I poo-pooed them:
No, no, not for me. Books will always reign supreme in my world.
But as the years went on and e-readers became more glitzy with cool features and online access, I thought:
And those stylish e-reader covers are so darn cute—-bright colors, lovely designs, monogrammed. I slowly began to change my opinion. It was an imperceptible shift but a shift nonetheless, and I thought:
I guess it doesn’t hurt to just try one.
Did I just say that out loud?
Serendipity struck when my husband won a Kindle Fire in a raffle. Not wanting to seem too covetous or overly eager, I said, “Huh, nice. Let me know how you like it.”
But it sat unused for months. I casually mentioned that maybe we should bring it on our summer vacation—-it’d be much easier than lugging books along, don’t you think? “Sure,” he agreed in his easy-going manner, knowing full well he’d never set a finger on it again. “Thanks,” I said as I shimmied it out of his hands and rushed off to gleefully “load it up”—-I was sounding so hip.
Oh my, these e-books are cheaper than actual books, and look, the library has ebooks too! Now I know what I’ve been missing all these years of being a close-minded book snob.
Finally, I settled in to read The Nightengale by Kristen Hannah. Page 1 of 7552. Yikes, how in the world does that translate into a “real” book? 400 pages? 326? 681? It’s always nice to have an inclination of how much time I’ll be investing…a few days, weeks, months? Apparently I’m uncomfortable with the unknown. Guess I’ll need to change the way I think about a “book”. No more thick or thin, fancy or cheap paper stock. Not a big deal, I’ll adjust.
At the bottom of the screen it says, “Learning reading speed”…what the heck? Wait, is this thing actually timing me? What if I don’t want to be timed? Alright, now it’s making me nervous. It says I have 11 hours and 26 minutes left. Seriously? I don’t literally want to know how long it will take to read the book.
Help! I need a real book.
I rifle through a bag of books I bought at the recent library book sale. I’ve never read Olive Kittridge. Let me just flip through the pages…I open to page one…ahhh…my heartbeat slows…I skip around, flutter the pages, check the back cover, feel the weight of it in my hands. Phew, I’m back in my book zone.
Ok, so maybe the e-reader experience wasn’t all that bad but still.
I feel like I need to apologize to all members of the generations below the baby boomers for not embracing the e-reader. I’m sorry. I just can’t ride the technology wave completely. This is where I draw the line. Not to mention, I’m getting panicky about where this trend will lead. Let’s play a little “what if”:
What if everyone born after 1998 uses an e-reader and never buys another book…
…then one-by-one, all the independent bookstores close,
…then eventually Barnes & Noble closes,
…and if Barnes & Noble closes, where would I go when I want a coffee, a warm cinnamon scone and lots of books? And where would I buy 90% of the birthday and Christmas gifts for my loved ones? More importantly, where would my loved ones buy my birthday and Christmas gifts? I may have to start some sort of crusade with bumper stickers, t-shirts, possibly even a Facebook page: BOOKS FOREVER!
Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself but really, think of the future. A world without books, to have and to hold, is a world in which I’d prefer not to live. Cue the violins.
So which camp are you in: the side with the beautifully designed and crafted books on creamy white paper or the side with the cold and drab e-readers made of industrial-grade plastic?