Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Confession Time: I Can't Seem to Change!
I cannot seem to Kindle a desire to read a book without an actual book in my hands. I sit in my Nook and I turn pages instead of punching buttons. I smell fresh paper or old paper, not cold metal. In order to read tomorrow, I just have to put my book down and pick it up again when I wake up. I don’t have to search for an outlet and plug in a charger.
However…change is coming. Change is here.
I rarely feel old. I have a young heart and a disposition that looks for the bright side of life. But as I read about the bankruptcy of Borders and as I listen to friends debate Kindle vs. Nook, I feel old.
Not long ago, I watched a BBC show set in England in the early 1900s. The master of a huge mansion explains to his butler that they will have a telephone soon. The butler tells the rest of the servants. Many of them are aghast. Why? We are fine without a telephone! What about the noise of it? It will kill our nerves.
Change was huge news in those times. Resistance to change was a natural reaction. We live in a time where change is the norm. It’s constant. The folks who make the eReaders and eBooks are the Borgs of our society. “Resistance is futile.”
I hope not. But I am a writer and my second home is the library and my third home, the book stores. What’s next? Will libraries have e-readers to check out, complete with e-books?
I don’t think books will ever be extinct. They are too ingrained in who we are as a culture. But as someone told me last week, “I think in the future books will be like plays. We watch TV and movies constantly because they are at our fingertips. Easy access. To watch a play takes effort and a conscious choice. So in the future we’ll have eBooks at our fingertips, but if we want the pure enjoyment of a book, we will have to make a conscious choice.”
Yikes. Am I 70 yet? That’s how I feel.
This past Christmas, my mother-in-law gave my son a Nook. I sit here on my couch and I glance at it, sitting on an end table, hooked up for more power. To resent this doodad is silly, but it is honestly how I feel. Maybe because I am a writer, I see this device as an encroachment on the world I’ve loved so much. To sit in the middle of tall bookshelves, filled with adventure and mystery and romance, is an integral part of what I believe childhood should be. Noah wanted a couple of books last week. He could have ordered them on the Nook. Easily and less expensive than the book store. But I told him I’d go and get him the books. I did and felt as if I’d won a tiny battle against this black and white device that sits beside me.
I don’t feel badly about ITunes or Netflix. I welcome the convenience of getting music or a movie off the web. I enjoy it. But books? Books are magical. I know that in reality, the same stories show up on the e-reader. The same experience is conveyed. Yet I resist it. I resist the change that seems to be all around me.
This is a real battle for me. I am my mother when we got her a microwave oven. She stared at it for a while and used it only after months of owning it. I mean, can you really cook something without a good ole stove? Really?
Sigh. I am a work in progress. A rebel on a beach, standing against a tidal wave of change. I’m going to get wet. Maybe I’ll order an eBook soon and try out Noah’s Nook.