I never meant to hurt you


Dearest Books,
Remember when I told you I would never want to read you on a Kobo, Kindle or, iPad?
Well, I got my first eReader as an unexpected gift from someone thoughtful. And I thought you deserved to hear it from me first.
I told myself I would just download a few light reads or some silly magazines. Just give it a shot, you know? Of course I would still purchase books, especially serious reads! Just because I live in a shoebox with an ever expanding stack of books I have no space for, it’s nothing to freak out about!


But then, I started searching all the titles that were available, and the instantaneous purchase possibilities took over. I bought so many ‘serious reads’ that I actually felt like I’d found a way to download happiness, or food. It didn’t feel right. But, I went ahead and did it, consumed all of them. And I’m not going to lie. It was different than reading a book in real life. I don’t like that I almost always felt lost with no way to gauge HOW much (based on touch) I’d read. I didn’t like not being to flip back and forth, re reading or skimming to get back into the story after a nap or distracting phone call. It was different. Easier to hold in bed or laying on the couch, and yet… blander than reading a book. Flatter. Strange.

People draw a parallel to downloading music instead of buying actual CDs/Vinyl etc… but the truth is… a stereo has always been a stereo. The disc, tape, vinyl, mp3… has evolved (devolved?) but my stereo is still speakers and a big black box with a bunch of cords. So, not having the physical heap of plastic, paper and artwork has been easier to let go of. Books are still so much about the paper, artwork, size, font, etc. The BOOK and its paper and its shape and space IS the stereo.

I don’t think I can fully leave you, physical book world. And yet, I just spent two hours reading David Rakoff’s unbelievable new collection of essays. And over the holidays I couldn’t tear myself away from Jonathan Lethem’s The Ecstacy of Influence: Non-Fictions, Etc.. I guess what I’m saying is… I want to open up our relationship. I want an eReader part time. A “third” if you will. ADDING to our relationship, not taking away from it.

When my impatience gets the best of me, when I can’t make the journey to Housingworks or Strand Books, when it’s 15 below zero and the used bookstore near my house feels TOO FAR to walk to… I guess I’ll just sign in and hook my bookvein to the machine and the internet. Sigh, change happens with or without me.

Luddite forever,

skq