My local Barnes and Noble, my home away from home because (a) the B&N Café serves amazing chai latttes (b) wonderful, talented people work in that store and (c) the atmosphere can be perfect for writing. When I’m hit broadside with a mega case of cabin fever and need to get out of my office because I’m about to suffocate or implode, I often trot off to my fave B&N (okay, I don’t trot, but you get the idea).
Today “my” Barnes and Noble is putting Nook demos on display. This going to be very dangerous. Hello temptation. If you don’t know what a Nook is, it’s an e-book reader. A new competitor up against the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader. I don’t own a Nook or Kindle or Sony Reader. I’m still carrying around mauled paperbacks, boxy hardcovers, and magazines permanently curled into periscope-like shapes. I buy books at any and all bookstores (not just “my” B&N), I borrow books from libraries and I swap novels with friends.
These days, though, the temptation to drop many greenbacks on an e-reader, each with it’s own bells and whistles, is growing. How cool would it be to download a book the moment you felt inclined to read it? How convenient to be able to slide an ultra thin e-book into a bag or case and tote it everywhere, stealing moments here and there to read. As I said: temptation.
I’ve also been told that manuscripts can be downloaded on these e-reader puppies. Whoa. Imagine being able to write and revise without papers flying in every direction. How much work could get done while in a waiting room, in a line, or on a bus? The possibilities of places to bust out the e-book seem endless. As if this isn’t fabulous enough, apparently most e-book readers can read a story to you, say while you are cooking or driving. Maybe in upgraded versions, the e-books will read aloud while actually doing the cooking or the driving or whatever. Imagine.
But I wonder if I’d miss the feel of a real book in my hands. And what about the joy of overcrowded bookshelves? The comfort of titles on spines of old, middle-aged, and new books staring out, calling to be read or read again. The delight of passing along books to others? And would I have to give up my routine of going to bookstores to peruse titles and book jackets? Or, would I still eyeball them, only to download titles on my e-book reader? So many questions.
Tell me, what are your thoughts on the e-book readers? I’m curious.