Listen, Jena, I’ve really been enjoying the Nook I got for Christmas (thanks, Mam and Dad). Three dollars and five minutes got all Mark Twain’s books onto this little eReader. I love our apartment full of actual books, though, so I thought I should figure out whether or not eReaders are going to ruin books. Also I photographed my newly organized library. You married into this.

Maybe the internet crippled the music industry, but there’s no arguing the iPod made music addicts out of people who might otherwise never hear more than a few radio hits on the way to work. Virgin Records died, but more people hear more music because an entire collection of records is now smaller than a wallet. It’s possible, then, that eReaders will do the same for books, since they make it easy for anyone to keep a library in their coat pocket. 

But a beautifully bound book in the hand is still a powerful thing. They say not to judge a book by its cover, but that’s usually wrong. The cover is usually an accurate representation of what’s inside. There are so many novels I would never have read if a good cover hadn’t attracted me first, Tobias Wolff’s incredible Old School best among them.

So I’m not done shopping for actual books and lining our walls with them. I’m not done seeking out a used bookstore in every city or town we’re in and marking our visit with a note on the title page of whatever book I buy. 

It seems I have two literary hobbies: reading, and having books. Like a man who loves cross country and soccer, practicing one hobby helps with the other. My new Nook will help me read things I can’t find or that might never have caught my eye in stores, and allow me to be more selective in the actual paper books I bring home to our already sagging shelves.

For the written word is not like film or music, which better technology can improve. While Inception on a laptop is not the same as Inception on a 46” screen, give me the words “Marley was dead: to begin with” on a beautiful page, a folded napkin, or a little computer screen, and I’ll keep reading.

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Tags: books, eReaders, library, nook


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Comment by Nate Pez on January 1, 2012 at 11:11pm

That makes sense, and I agree in other instances, but with an e-reader, I figure if I'm reading books on it, I might as well also make it easier to catch up on blogs I want to keep track of, too.  I find when I'm actually sitting in front of a computer, I sometimes get distracted from the blogs and articles I'd like to read, so I figure this might bring that into a realm where I can get myself to read not just more books, but more up-to-the-moment writing on blogs and things...

Comment by Brian Beise (Books Ningmaster) on December 31, 2011 at 7:14am

thanks for the kind note, Nate. I got the basic Nook, because I liked how the screen looked a bit better than the color, but also because for some reason I've never liked mixing my accessories. I don't like the iPhone because phone calls would interrupt my music listening. In the same way, I feel like if my Nook could search the web, I'd end up doing that more than reading. Does that make sense?

Comment by Nate Pez on December 30, 2011 at 2:43am

What kind of Nook did you get?  I've been thinking about getting a Nook Color (not Tablet), because I'd be able to listen to music on it, and read blogs as well as e-books, whereas I think the basic Nook doesn't have the web-browsing feature or music capabilities....

For a second there I thought you were going to actually tackle the society-wide issue of technology maybe killing paper books once and for all, but then you sort of re-routed that issue into your own personal response to it in a compelling way.  I think it's a much more moving post because you made it personal, rather than trying to take the whole big end-of-the-world-of-books issue head-on.

"While Inception on a laptop is not the same as Inception on a 46" screen, give me the words 'Marley was dead: to begin with' on a beautiful page, a little computer screen, or a folded napkin, and I'll keep reading."

Lovely writing!  ...Makes me want to keep reading!

Comment by Heather Toothman on December 28, 2011 at 12:14pm

I love collecting books! Right now I'm limited to certain authors because of the current space I have to put them in. I have taken to my Kindle, though, like a bird to the skies. 

@Arijana M, I would reccomend buying an amazon gift card (Or another gift card for a book buying site that you prefer) for yourself in a physical store if you're unable to use your debit card. You simply load it onto the site and you never have to worry, until you're low on funds and then you do it all over again. About the shipping fees, I have no idea what to do but become a prime member, they take advantage of free shipping (though I'm not sure about the distance that covers) and a free kindle borrowing library now (no late fees). And I would also like to say that I don't work for Amazon and was not paid to say any of this. As long as people are reading I could care less how they get it. :)

Comment by Brian Beise (Books Ningmaster) on December 28, 2011 at 10:08am

Thanks for reading, Kelsey and Arijana. I love finding things like the Nook, which call us to be truly of two minds. As book collectors we hate it. As readers, we love it. 

Comment by Kelsey on December 28, 2011 at 9:42am

I also agree. I have a kindle that I got over a year ago, and I love it. I still buy and love reading paper books whenever I can, though. I love going to bookstores and such. :) One of the really nice benefits of having an ereader is being able to bring as many books as you want when traveling. One of the main reasons I wanted to get a Kindle was because last summer I biked across the United States, and when you are doing a trip like that you do not have very much space for anything but the essentials. Ereaders take up no space, so it was really great for that. 

Comment by Arijana M on December 28, 2011 at 9:21am

I absolutely agree. There is something about holding a book and the actual scent of it that always puts a smile on my face. But,unfortunately here where I live it's very difficult to find books,for example I had to ask my cousin from Australia to order John Greens books for me. You see,the problem is that while it's hard to find books here it's also hard to order them,the shipping costs end up costing 2 or 3 times the price of the actual book and the fact that I have to own a credit card not a debit is also quite bad.

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