Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Apocalypse Is Not Nigh


In spite of rather rigorous predictions to the contrary, the Apocalypse is not, in fact, nigh.

We’re fine. Yet some significant signs and omens have been afoot, not the least of which is my ultimate conversion from physical books.

Books made of paper, you know. They used to do that in ancient times.

But seriously, folks…

I was among the last to convert to ebooking and was among the most ardent protesters. I’d owned several readers, including a Slick, a Sony PRS, and the occasional borrowing of Ahmed’s Nook. I never liked reading on any of them. Then I got my Kindle and began buying more ebooks than print books. Within six months it was rare for me to purchase a paper book. At this point my physical book purchases are strictly “for my home library” sales.

Which is fine. I like having rows of colorful spines lined up along my built-in book shelves. I still prefer to use strictly-hardcover or heavy trade copies of research volumes. Flipping around and using a good index can’t seem to translate itself to digital for me.

But last weekend I was lonely for an old favorite. I wanted to re-read one of my all-time most-beloved re-reads. I realized I did not have that particular trilogy in digital. The large, soft-bound release of all three books together is ungainly, though I love having it in the house. I looked at that version on amazon.com.

Hmmm. Each novel was $7.99; the bundled trilogy was not yet available for Kindle.

Dammit. So I began re-reading the large, floppy, weighty compilation. I was willing to deal with the awkwardness. It was fine. Only about 1/4 of the way into the first book I found myself encountering a word in Italian and reaching for the translation via my cursor… oops, this is the paper copy. As the evening wore on and I needed bathroom breaks I realized I had to mark my place with a book mark. No big deal. Then I found myself tipping the actual, physical, paper book to find the little switch so I could slide it and shut down.

I’ve been re-trained. It’s all over but the crying.

Lovingly, reverently, I replaced that much-adored volume to its place on my shelf, the author’s name and pretty graphics along the spine looking over my shoulder from the lines of favorites by my bed…

…and got online to download the individual titles from amazon so I could read in peace. Best $23.97 I’ve ever spent!

1 comments ]:[ Add your comment:

Gwen Hayes said...

I totally get you.

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