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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Take a Good, Long Nook...

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There is just something that I love about going to the bookstore; there’s that smell of new books which permeates the air, bringing with them a feeling of excitement in knowing that there are adventures to be had, unbelievable stories to be told, and new, fun characters to meet.

About a week ago, a friend and I ventured off to a nearby city in order to test-drive an automobile or two—well, I test-drove whereas my friend had merely come along for the ride. As we passed by a Barnes & Noble, we both felt the distinctive urge to go inside. Pulling into the lot, we found a space and shuffled toward the entrance.

Upon entering the building, the smell of hot chocolate, cappuccino, and baked goods blended in a potpourri of familiarity. The instrumental music playing from overhead lent itself to the overall feeling of coziness as we both moved to our favorite section.

As we passed by the magazines we were hailed by a woman, Shaylee, who was working for the Nook Company. Such a clever word, really…nook, as in ‘nook and cranny’: the definition of a small place for storage.

As it turns out, Shaylee had an earful ready for us in regard to her company’s newest little toy. As we stood, we listened to the spiel for this new-fangled and amazing gadget, which, as it turns out, is to be the futuristic replacement for paperbound books.

I was intrigued.

Shaylee told us all about the storage space, the ability to download your favorite titles instantly, and just how many ‘books’ you could carry along with you. As she spoke, my mind left temporarily and reverted to my fourth grade classroom.

My friends and I all sat in the upper-grade room of the two-roomed schoolhouse, while Mrs. Hopkins waved her arm in a flourish.

“One day there’ll be a reader,” she proclaimed. “Everybody will have them. We won’t even need books anymore!”

The class gasped in astonishment. Really, this couldn’t be true, could it?

“There will come a time when you’ll just get your books on little cards and slide them into your reader. No more trees will need to be cut down either. Even your textbooks will be on your slate.”

Having just read James and the Giant Peach, this most certainly sounded like magic to me—the type of which even James and his insect friends hadn’t even begun to dream of.

“How will they do it?” I asked tentatively.

“Technology,” Mrs. Hopkins said solemnly. “Thorough the advances in technology.”

I snapped back to the present as Shaylee pressed the display model into my hands and encouraged me to, “Check it out and see what this little baby can do!”

Check it out, I did.

As I scrolled down the page, I found myself amazed at just how closely the display resembled a real piece of paper. The screen’s ‘ink’ looked just like it were printed there. In reality, this thing was amazing.

It figured that the model’s displayed book would have had to be something by Jane Austin.

After nearly a ten-minute rundown on the functions and sheer awesomeness of the Nook, Shaylee let us go on our way to peruse the physical titles in the rest of the store. In moving to a shelf containing several copies of books I loved, I snatched one up and opened the cover. The pages gave away grudgingly, as if they didn’t want to give up all of the crackling words upon of them. I brought the spine of the book up to my nose and inhaled slowly. The fresh aroma of glue and paper was intoxicating; I felt like a literature junkie who had been in need of a serious fix.

As I held the book in my hands, I came to a conclusion that though devices like the Nook just might be the global answer to saving down trees, but there’s just nothing quite like the feeling of holding that paperback novel in your hands.

Besides, I find it hard to imagine myself curling up with a good Nook on a cold, winter’s night when there is a real book out there just waiting to be held—and enjoyed.


Gerb said...

Amen, brother. You can't inhale the smell of a Nook or a Kindle or whatever other cool new virtual-book device there is. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a bit technologically behind, but I can't ever see myself wanting to replace the entire experience involved in cracking open a great book.

Chrissy said...

My BIL always gets the latest gadgets.. This was one of them.. He tried his best to talk my middle one into it and she was adamant... She said ( aNd I agree) " I like the feel of a book, I like going into a bookstore"... oh and did u know the Ipad has a booklight on it? I do think these electronic things will be pushing their way in but nothing will take away a bookstore. Battery life on those things aren't all that crack up to be.. LIBRARIES are still around, right?

Just SO said...

I don't really even like listening to books on tape because they can't or don't put the emphasis where I would put it if I reading.

I LOVE turning the pages.

And you are right I can't imagine snuggling down with a good nook.

Rachel said...

Okay. You've redeemed yourself. I thought you were going to turn into Satan Stan and try to sell us one of these gadgets.

Can't do it! I'm a textile touch person. I gotta have the book in my hands...run my fingers along the spine.....turn the pages one by one.....and then flip back to pages I've read just to read that delicious phrase one more time.....hold the book wrapped in my arms against me as I ponder....

Books are also great storage places. Many a book of mine will have a slip of paper, a leaf, a pressed flower....and when I open the book, even if it has been years, I'll see that item and it will take me back to where ever I was reading the book at the time and the memories come flooding back.

Nope! Can't do all of that with a 'nook'.

Natasha said...

I couldn't agree more. It just wouldn't be the same to read a bedtime story to a child with a Nook! And Nook sounds very much like a Kindle...
btw, my word verification word was 'monsters'

mywest said...

Reading for me has become a great adventure, one that has taken me back in time to ponder and relish who had touched and read the books previously. What they thought and learned from there readings done perhaps many years ago. I guess what I'm saying is that for me at this time in my life holding onto something, touching each page and seeing notes written or parts underlined is better than a Nook. If I'm going to use a devise I will let my I-Pod read to me.

shoezimm said...

I am glad to hear so many of your readers feel the way I do.... holding a book in your hand is the best way to go. I feel sorry for the trees that are cut down for my beloved novels, but I love the smell of the books and the crackle of a newly bound spine as it opens to pour out its literary goodness. Being a kinesthetic-type personality, scrolling down a screen just doesn't do it for me. Its like books on cd...while they are marvels for some people, I find I can't follow along with what's being read.

There is nothing more delicious than roaming the hushed stacks of a good library....

The Empress said...

I don't know if I can ever get over not falling asleep with a book on my lap...

Linn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shannon said...

I do love book stores, but I get aggravated because the prices of books are insane. You know what I REALLY love? Garage sales, thrift stores and swap meets where you can get books for a dollar or two. I keep a list of books that I am looking for in my wallet so I can always be on the lookout for them...it's like a personal scavenger hunt :-).

Mamma has spoken said...

So how much was a book to download on a Nook? Just curious. Your story reminds me of when our library went to computerize card catolog. Everyone swore that no one would use it and it would be phased out as a waste of money. Fast forward to now and the card catolog now sits unused, and everyone uses the on-line catolog. Even found where I can read some of their books on line too. It's nice for those times when you really don't have the time to run to the library to check it out, but you need to read the book to see if it would work for a unit you are working on.

Richard & Natalie said...

No, a nook just won't do.
I love the sanctuary feel of the library with its hushed and reverent atmosphere. And the excitement of bringing home a long awaited novel home is almost akin to that of a new baby; you hold and love them and sometimes get frustrated at them, but they both contain a story that unfolds infront of your very eyes.

But I feel like a hypocrit, saying that reading just isn't the same with out pages to turn or the satisfying closing "snap" that signals I've reached the finish, because a majority of my day to day reading (blogs) is done by scrolling down a screen...
Oh well, I've been called many things...just add hypocrit to the list. ;)

Richard & Natalie said...

Oh, I forgot... How "lovely" that something written by Jane Austen was the book displayed on it. ;)

Farscaper said...

I LOVE a REAL book!!! I love being able to turn a page and hear the paper pop or "swish" as the page turns. The gentle breeze that is created when the page is turned a bit quickly.

I love the smell of glue, paper and ink.

I love watching my bookmark move along down the thickness of the book. Right now I'm reading a book that's well over 1,000 pages. I like to see the progress I'm making.

Holding a book with some heaft to it makes me feel smarter. ;-)

You can't take an electronic device to an author signing. If you do.. you'll be pretty grumpy having to read through the last author's signature to get to your latest download.

I can see a use for these flat books though. If I were traveling and I wanted to take a few of my favorites with me... I wouldn't mind loading a few of them onto one of these devices. It is much lighter to travel with. But, for some regular down home book time.. it MUST be a REAL BOOK.

diane rene said...

when I requested my kindle for christmas last year, that was the same argument I heard, and debated over myself. it is so true, there is nothing like the feel of a book and the smell, the sounds of pages turning, the bend on the cover not from folding it back, but because I gripped it too tightly. all things I LOVE and cherish about the reading experience.

my argument FOR the kindle came from a number of reasons ... environmental, saving the earth, portability, but when it comes down to it, I like the idea of having affordable titles at my fingertips at ANY time. I am an instant gratification kind of person with a short attention span. I cannot tell you the number of books that have been recommended to me that I never read because, quite honestly, when I walked into the bookstore I couldn't remember it. add to it the oblivion I feel at the bookstore - the numerous choices all scream out my name :)

okay, not literally, but you get my meaning.

I love my kindle. the insane number of freebies alone has introduced me to a multitude of books and genres I never would have spent money on (and I'm not a library person - ew, won't go there). I toss it in my purse, it takes up less space than my typical paperback, and I cart it with me everywhere. soccer games, doctor appointments, lunches, meetings ... and I have a choice of thousands of titles in one little display. when my kids are bored, they read their selections as well ... and I'm not carrying around my literal library of books, while still carrying around a virtual library.

the best part is, I still have the option of going to the book store and enjoying a good book, complete with the sights, sounds and smells. I will never give that up. but I will give up the extra pounds (which = extra money) this summer when we fly to hawaii for 3 weeks. normally I pack a bunch of books that I may or may not get to read ... this year I will pack my kindle, and if I am so inclined, will download any new releases while I am traveling, without taking away from my sightseeing by looking for a book store.

it may not be for everyone, but for me, it really is the best of both worlds.

tammy said...

I was the same way. My husband wanted to get me a Kindle a year ago for Christmas, but I didn't want it. I didn't think I'd like it.

Then I found out it would read to me on roadtrips (I can't read in the car w/o getting sick).

And that I could read hands free with it, like while I'm eating lunch.

And I wouldn't need to panic and be sad when I'd run out of books and had no time to go to the store.

And it would take up a lot less room in my purse or carry-on bag.

And I could get new releases for the price of a paperback. No more waiting for the paperback to come out! (and I have a thing with library books - I don't like used books, they're gross to me.)

And it would be easier to hold for my carpal-tunneled hands.

And my husband wouldn't complain about the boxes and boxes of books in the garage.

So yes, I caved. And I love it.

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