At the conference last week, my friend Cheryl brought her Nook–the Barnes and Noble e-reader. After looking at it, I have to admit, I wanted one. How nice would it be to have a bunch of books right there whenever I wanted? And it can connect to WiFi, so I could read blogs if I was in a WiFi zone. (I didn’t ask her how the typing thing worked–is it difficult? Cheryl, if you’re reading this, I’d love a comment on that.)
She even solved the problem of book signings. She bought a couple backs for the Nook–you can buy all different colors–and got all the authors to sign it. Apparently, it’s the new in-thing to do with e-readers.
I brought up, though, how I love having shelves of books. And we decided that if you really love a book, you may not have a problem buying the hard copy too. Which for me is true. If I love a book, I want it on my shelf. But if I want to be able to take it around with me on an e-reader, I think I’d be okay having both. Supporting my favorite authors, ya know?
And then today I read an article on From the Mixed Up Files…of MG Authors about how e-readers may be the key to get reluctant readers to read. I totally recommend reading the article, because it opened up a new perspective for me.
I am very attached to physical books. I love they way they feel, smell. I love physically turning the pages. And I love having something to look at on my shelves. But someone at the conference last week said something that struck me (I think it was Alane Ferguson): within a few years, book printing will be cut down by half. (Or something like that.)
E-readers are the future, whether we old time readers like it or not. The fact is that the upcoming generation of readers are very technologically savvy. If they can have something electronic for their books, they’ll go with it. I’m nostalgic about physical books because that’s what I grew up reading. But as the Mixed Up Files article says: “And sure–they aren’t ‘traditional’ books. But if they engage kids in the written word, does it really matter?”
I’m of the opinion that physical books won’t completely go out–at least not in my lifetime. But more and more I’m seeing how e-readers may not be so bad.
What do you think? Do you think reluctant readers would be more inclined to read if they could do it on a gadget? And would you be willing to support your favorite authors by buying both a hard copy and a e-book version?