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.