For my birthday this last year, I asked for and received a Nook, which is the ebook reader from Barnes and Noble. I love it! I carry it with me everywhere, and always have a handful of book choices in front of me.
Even before the days of my Nook, I always carried a book with me. There is little else as torturous as finding yourself with time on your hands and no book in them. And don’t even get me started on laboring over which books to take with me on a trip of any length.
However, now that I have my Nook, I can choose from dozens of titles stored on the Nook that were either free from Barnes and Noble or that I purchased. Plus, I can purchase from my home the books that I want to read, as opposed to driving to a bookstore to buy them. It is all a streamlined, efficient process.
The funny thing about this journey into the electronic book world is the resistance I’ve had from my oldest. When it comes to electronics, she is fairly tech savvy. But in her heart, she reverts back to the simpleness of yesteryear. She collects record albums and actually listens to them on her record player, is burning with longing for a typewriter, has an antique camera, and is drawn to everything antique: staplers, jewelery, books, etc. The part of her that reaches back in time and longs for things to stay as they are just grates with the technology of tomorrow. Her greatest fear with the Nook/Kindle world is the potential it has to put the printed word out of print.
I read an article on Yahoo on the first day of this year that was listing the things that a newborn, born on Jan. 1, 2011, would not know in his lifetime. There were things like movie rental stores, watches, paper maps, wired phones, long distance, film cameras, dial up internet, encyclopedias, handwritten letters, etc. One of the things on the list was books/magazines/newspapers.
I simply can’t imagine that the printed words of our world will be relegated to the world of electronics. There is something amazing about stepping into a Barnes and Noble (my favorite chain bookstore) and breathing in the possibilities, as well as the aroma.
There is also the process of writing that comes in stark conflict with the blogging generation. In writing a novel, there is a long process of writing, rewriting, editing, and writing once again – let alone the time that the publishing process takes. Whereas, a blog is written, barely edited, and published within seconds.
In changing the mode in which books are read, are we changing the way in which writing is accomplished? Will there continue to be the great writers of old? Would a Jane Austin, Steinbeck, Twain, Dickens be able to make it today? In the future, will there still be the leisure to writing? Will the audience, trained to receive personal, unedited, raw thoughts of a myriad of people, be patient enough to wait for the refined, researched, and well-honed craft of a creative master working on his art?
I think I have a novel in me. I am committed to exploring that journey to see what that may look like. However, I am also faced with the reality that by the time I get around to getting anything written – let alone published – there might not be an audience. At least I know my daughter will be there to read it, in paper, in her leisure, listening to her record albums on her record player…