Thursday, February 4, 2010

Commuting, and E-reading

I try to walk to work when I can, but sometimes it's too cold and I'm too lazy. Sometimes I just like to people watch...I like to see what everyone is reading. I'm on the green line so usually the people have a Brookline Booksmith boomark...which always cheers me up in the morning.

I've seen a handful of people reading from the Kindle, or the Sony e-reader. I can never tell what they are reading, so they can hide their romance novels, but the downside is they can't show off that they are reading Joyce.

Isn't there an unspoken romance in seeing that a stranger is reading a book you love? Isn't there that moment where you think there may be a psychic connection? Or maybe you look to see how far along they are, and guess what part they are at by their facial expressions?

I think of what I would lose if I switched my library to the kindle...

-feeling comfortable taking a bath with a book
-taking the book to the beach
-leaving the book in the freezing cold, or scorching heat and knowing it will still work when I get to it
-dog- earring pages
-writing in the margins
-watching as the book blooms in thickness from handling
-the mosaic of fonts on my bookshelves
-my bookshelves
-knowing no one can ever go into the book and take out the words for some copyright problem

What else would you miss?

leave a comment or email me...this might make a cool t shirt. Check out our new black tote bags with the quote "books with pages since 1961" If I wasn't such a Luddite I'd post a picture...maybe one of my colleagues will... hint hint....


Pam said...

I love that moment on the train when you meet eyes with someone and give them a little smile or nod because of the book they're reading. Being on the receiving end of one of those smiles is even better.

And of course, you can't do this with a Kindle...

Marc said...

You know, I'm with you on all of those things. And yet I love eBook reading. Or, sure, I'd love to support my local book store, and if the Booksmith sold eBooks for me I'd probably buy them there. And if I did I'd probably be willing to slap a sticker on the back of my reader.

But I've got to tell you, my life has gotten better since I've picked up my Kindle. And that moment when we see someone reading what we've read and loved? I get it, too, when I see another Kindle reader.

Kate Robinson said...

Interesting points Marc, and we are working on it...our website and ebook purchasing (ease of use) are our big projects this year. It's not that I'm afraid of new technology, in fact I'd like to get the sony-e reader when it is available with internet...because I want to understand where/ how the industry is evolving....(the drm on the sony is a mite less agressive than the kindle as I understand can buy from Indies if you choose)

I suppose this new technology has just stirred a deeper appreciation, on my part for the importance of the hard copy in my life...if we aren't careful with our backing up...we may be remembered as a dark age (tongue in cheek here, I'm not that paranoid all the time)

I think it is cool that you'd slap a sticker, send me your adress and I'll gladly send you one on the house! (kate@brooklinebooksmith)

Anonymous said...

The main reason I could see for investing in an e-reader would be for travel, because I'm such a fast reader my suitcase is overtaken with books. But my relaxation at the end of the day is to get in a hot lavender bath with a good book and I can't see doing that seems a bit risky with an e-reader.

Abbie said...

I believe a person's bookshelves are indicative of who he or she is. I'm 21 and the thought of a Kindle taking the place of such a deeply personal expression of self is sort of saddening.

Lauren Pettapiece said...

Books have a smell. Call me crazy but it's a quality I like.

I love my bookshelves, my dog-eared, well-worn, well-loved little library of books. I like displaying them like so many conquests and prized possessions. I like lending them out to friends.

On the other hand, I can completely understand the value of a Kindle for the travel-savvy, or those who are constantly traveling for business. In that regard, it's awfully handy to have several titles all in one device.

Reading is reading no matter what the form, so I can't argue with that. But I would miss the smell.

Laura said...

This might not be overly popular, since this is a boostore blog, but my take on the Kindle is that it is a way to insure that books are SOLD. Me? 75% of my books come from the library. 20% from Booksmith, and 5% from the horrendously gigantic internet presence. And the books that I do buy I almost always end up lending giving away. You can't do THAT with a Kindle!

Evan P said...

Personally, I am a sucker for a well-designed book. It's not that I judge books by their covers--but I certainly do judge the covers, and there are some real beauties out there. Just try to tell me you'd be satisfied reading Moby Dick on a screen if the guy beside you had this. Really.

Plus, I always get more out of a book when I can mark it up, dog-ear it, and generally destroy it.

It's not that I'm anti-e-readers. They certainly have their place, and I love books in all their forms, including audiobooks. But paper is what I grew up with, and it's always going to be the primary way I connect with a book. A beautiful library still gives me shivers, and I don't think that will ever be true of a sterile room with wifi.