Thursday, September 2, 2010

From Papyrus to WiFi

Never, I thought, never would I give up an actual hardcover or paperback book for a digital reader. I like holding a book in my hands, turning paper pages, writing notes in the margins and flipping back to past chapters.

But excitement can be contagious. It began in Saratoga last month. My daughter Trish and my grandchildren were visiting my niece Kathie and her family when we got into a discussion of reading and the pros and cons of a digital reader. The conversation turned to the convenience of a Kindle or a Nook and the accessibility of downloading current books and the classics. As Trish and Kathie discussed the options, I began to wonder if it was just habit that kept me from taking the next step in this digital age.

Then I remembered what someone said recently: it certainly doesn’t have to be an “either or” decision. You don’t have to give up the traditional book just because you have a Nook or a Kindle. I could still use my neighborhood library or purchase a book in paper form from or a bookstore.

That afternoon, Kathie, Trish and I went to the Barnes and Noble in Saratoga where Kathie bought the Nook. When the salesperson said there would be an information session that evening, the three of us decided we’d attend.

A group gathered in the Barnes and Noble cafĂ© and as the Nook’s features were being explained I turned around to see who else was there. I saw three men and five women and all of them were over the age of sixty, each with a Nook in hand. When the session was over and I asked for their opinions, they said they once felt the same way I do about "actual" books. But they're happy converts now to the e-reader.

My daughter bought her Nook that evening and she likes it too. I haven’t succumbed yet, but I’m not averse to it. In fact, I’ll be taking a trip next month that involves almost a 10-hour flight. Instead of cramming books into my bag, I might opt for the convenience of a Nook. Stay tuned.


  1. That's an interesting point you make about it not being an 'either/or' situation. It could probably be applied to all sorts of things that we may have doubts about. Telephone calls vs Email vs Letters, buying online or in the shops...each has its place. As long as the kindle doesn't make things so difficult for the 'real' book publishers that they stop printing them!

  2. You're right. It's not an either/or. My daughter-in-law loves books and the library, but she has a kindle which she loaded up and brought to Norway this summer. The books in the suitcase were for the kids - they are not allowed to have a kindle yet. For traveling, they are excellent. Between the new airline restrictions (50 lbs, not an ounce more) and lugging your carry-on backpack, they're a good option. Have a wonderful time on your trip.