Or, should I say, a NOOK.
I didn’t think I’d ever be interested in an e-reader. I’m new wave about a lot of things, but I’m old-school about a lot of things, too. Books, for one. I love books. I love the way they look, the way they smell, the way they feel. I’m not ashamed to admit I dog-ear all of mine, and it actually causes me great pleasure when I’m re-reading a book to see where I took breaks the first time around (and it’s interesting to note that I often break in exactly the same spots every time thereafter).
I like being surrounded by books. I like the way they look on my shelves – the different sizes, the colors, the different fonts of the titles that adorn the spines. Books are wonderful. They fill me with happiness, because I know within each one lies an interesting world where interesting things happen. (I’m pretty sure Steve feels the same way about his DVD collection.)
So I never thought I’d be interested in an e-reader. It’s just not the same. As much as I appreciate technology (I can’t live without my laptop, BlackBerry, or iPod), books have always been in a separate category.
But then again, let’s think about the iPod for a minute. There was a time, a few years back, when they first came out and nothing about them was appealing to me. After all, I could burn my own mix CDs and they played just fine in my car and in my portable CD player. And blank CDs were cheap, like a buck a piece. What kind of person would drop $150 (or more) on some tiny little music-playing gizmo?
But then Steve got an iPod for the gym, and suddenly I found myself crazed with jealousy, because in a couple of hours he had a thousand songs all in this one little device… which also played just fine in the car. If anything, the sound quality’s better.
Within two weeks, you bet your ass I had my own iPod, and we’ve been inseparable ever since. The iPod has travelled everywhere with me, and since I can’t stand radio commercials, it’s all I listen to in the car. Frankly, I can hardly remember what life was like before the iPod, and I’m pretty sure that most people who have one feel exactly the same. And now I buy almost all my music from iTunes – mostly single songs, but occasionally whole albums if I really like the artist. I don’t really miss CDs.
But is it the same as owning an e-reader? After all, I’m a writer. I dream of seeing my work in print someday, in a book I can actually hold and touch and feel and smell. I don’t want Barnes & Noble or Chapters to go out of business. I don’t want to ever walk into a bookstore and not see books lining the shelves. Some things are sacred, dude. But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the convenience of having a thousand books all in one little reading gizmo.
I think if there was the option to buy a regular book and get the e-book for free along with it (or add the e-book to my purchase for an extra couple of bucks), I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a Nook. Because the thought of only owning a book in digital format is weird to me… traitorous, somehow.
What got me really thinking about the e-reader is Stephen King’s latest bestseller, Under The Dome, which has been out in hardcover for a couple of months now. Before we went to Cabo in December, I was in B&N shopping for vacation reading. I was thrilled to see that King’s new book was out… until I picked it up and realized the damn thing weighed, like, five pounds. It’s over a thousand pages long. Did I want to pack that in my suitcase? Did I want to tote that around in my beach bag? And even if I didn’t bring it on vacation, did I want a doorstop sitting on my lap during my nightly reading sessions?
Not to mention, because the book’s in hardcover, it’s $20, and that’s with my B&N membership discount. That’s expensive for a girl who likes to buy about four books a month! Better to wait till the paperback’s at Coscto, right?
But man, I hate waiting. If I had a Nook, I could buy the e-book right now – and when I say right now, I mean instantly – for ten bucks… and the Nook only weighs 11.2 ounces, so King can be as wordy as he likes.
Clearly you can see this is an agonizing decision. So, weigh in.
What do you think?