Thursday, October 22, 2009

Spines and Buttons

Barnes and Nobles (I pluralize all singular sounding businesses) have introduced their own version of an e-reader. It's called Nook (cute). Until now, the leader in the e-book arena was Amazon's Kindle. And up until now I had no (zero) interest in reading a book electronically.

But then I saw a picture (and video) of BN's Nook. And now my curiosity is piqued. For starters, it's a new, nifty piece of electronic joy. I love me some toys. Second, books can be purchased directly from the Nook wirelessly on a 3G network. Thirdly, books are only $9.99. Fourthly, this will save on shelf space in my house. Fifthly, I can potentially carry around my entire library in my bag.

Bad things:

First, what if I lose my entire library because someone steals my shiny piece of electronic joy? Are my "books" backed up somewhere? (Considering I don't have to use a computer to obtain said "books" I have to assume they are not.)

Second, Reading from a screen... I've never done it. At least not while sitting on the train or in my living room or in bed. Will I be as immersed in a "book" I'm reading from a screen? The act of reading words from a printed page seems more organic and ethereal. There's more interaction between reader and book when I'm physically turning a textured page.

Third, What of the book selection? Sure, Dan Brown's latest future Tom Hanks movie will be available. But what about some of the more obscure authors?

Fourth, What if there is suddenly a huge electronic book explosion similar to the likes of iPod usage in the early aughts and my dear friend Elizabeth loses her job slinging books? It's not an unreasonable prediction. Just look at any store's compact disc selection nowadays. Most music purchasers are buying their music online. And if I think about the people who sell books, what about the people who make them? How many people will be put out of work because some trendy hipster runs out and buys a Nook? (Maybe those people can go get jobs making Nooks. In China.)

BTW, have you heard? Walmarts is selling books for $9 now! Price war!

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