I am actually something of a traditionalist in many ways. I don't like the designated hitter rule, I prefer to see movies in a theatre, I like the sound of a needle on vinyl. I especially like books. Hard bounds, paperback, I love my books. I appreciate the physical qualities of books. The leather bounds, the first editions, the dust jackets. The messages on the the front cover signifying whom it was a gift from and when.Many times I purchased a book originally in paperback, and later came across a hardbound edition and acquired that as well. And as I almost always reread my books (many of them repeatedly) I seldom get rid of them That is part of the problem. Any one who has seen my house can attest to the fact that I love books nearly to excess. And then there are my husband's books, and the kid's books and on and on. I have slowly been trying to winnow things down lately (remember all those paperbacks I also own in hardback?) But I am a junkie for my local libraries resale store: Hardbacks 1.00, paperbacks .50. (Borrow from the library? Maybe in a pinch, but the problem is the book doesn't belong to me. I cant highlight or write in the margins.)
All of this is to explain why I wasn't initially interested in an e-reader. You lose that physical connection I said to myself. Its just not the same thing. Since I seldom buy books new, I wouldn't be able to afford books for the device. Then a friend who had upgraded to another device offered me her Nook first edition. As it happened I had to make an emergency bus trip out of town to attend a funeral, and the Nook was the perfect companion. As I shopped for free and low priced books I made the great discovery...all the out of print books that I paid small fortunes for online are available for free. Sure they are scanned. Sure the transcriptions aren't perfect. But I quickly acquired a collection of books that I had either searched endlessly for and never found, or never purchased due to cost.
The effect on my ravenously book loving 13yr old was even greater. A devoted Twi-hard, soon discovered that one could type "Vampires-teen--free" and come up with all kinds of books that were in fact free, often posted by new authors trying to get their work noticed, but still quite entertaining. Many others were available for nominal amounts in the .99 or 1.99 range. Since she can easily zoom through several books on a non school day, the nook has kept her in new literature without breaking the bank. The only problem was she kept hijacking my Nook to read her stories. So I bought her one as well.
Recently I made the decision to upgrade to a Nook pad. My computer has been on the fritz, and for awhile I was doing the blog either at the library computer or from the email program on my cell phone. Neither are conducive to creativity. The Nook Color would accomplish several goals at once, allowing me better Internet access, a writing program, and a replacement for the by now dysfunctional original Nook. It arrived several months ago, and has opened a whole new world. The very idea of being able to carry a functional computer and a 1000 books in a device that will fit in my purse seems like a miracle. I usually travel with a carry on bag of 1/2 a dozen books or so, cause just never knows what one will be in the mood for. Now I carry a single paperback, or a magazine in case the batteries run down, and my portable digital library. Travelling to Saint Louis earlier this month, I lucked into one of the new Greyhounds that have wireless and outlets at every seat. I had a full battery, Pandora radio, Internet and reading material the whole way.
Don't get me wrong, I still love my books. I will never give them up completely. But for affordability and portability, e readers are an amazing tool. I am so grateful one landed in my life.