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 amazon.com 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.