In spite of my desire to be self-sufficient in the food department, I like technology.
Love it, actually. Can’t always afford it, but I love it. While growing up, my mom was always on the forefront of entertainment technology. We were the first family in the neighborhood to get a Betamax video recorder, and I had friends over every day to watch recordings of late night movies. When we got an Atari, my siblings and I spent hours fighting over who got to play Frogger next. In high school, my mom and I sat for hours in front of the Commodore 64 computer playing what passed for interactive games in those days; not graphics, just a story where you typed what to do next, and the words would turn red, or shake, or a gong would sound, and the story would go on. Jack the Ripper. Zork. I can’t remember the others.
As an adult, I haven’t been able to afford to step into new technology the moment it becomes available. I pick and choose, and wait for the playing field to level out before investing in something. This Christmas, I finally got my first e-reader, the Kindle Fire. I love it. I don’t have to hold pages open to read while I do something else with my hands or try to walk on the treadmill. It is light and easy to read in the bathtub (yes, I take it in the bath with me.) It has a multitude of other diversionary functions like Suduko and Solitaire. I can transport my documents and make notes on them on the go. There are a ton of free books available, or inexpensive new authors to try.
But already I’ve had a reminder why hard-copy books will never be obsolete. I purchased John Truby’s Anatomy of Story, which I am reading as further education for my writing craft, and I wanted it for my Kindle so I could read in the tub (yes, I work in the tub.) While I was taking notes, the book suddenly went blank. I could see the cover page, but every page thereafter was blank.
I was devastated.
After trying everything recommended online, I called Amazon. They have great customer service, by the way. But the technician couldn’t help me. He told me it was a problem they were having with some publishers, and to give it a few days to resolve itself.
I went back to reading my hard-copy of the book, which I was grateful to own. Once again, I resorted to a highlighter, pen, notepad, and sticky notes. As I searched for the sticky note pad that had fallen into the crevasse of the sofa, I missed the ease of my Kindle.
But I was glad I had a “real” book.
So if you love a book, make sure you own it in multiple formats. You never know when technology might fail you. And speaking from experience, a “real” book is still readable if you drop it in the bathtub.
© Tam Linsey, 2011. All rights reserved.
P.S. I called Amazon again, and this time the tech had me do a factory reset of my kindle. I lost all my music and my personal documents. But I did get the book back. Good thing it’s a book I will read several times. I’m still glad to have it on paper.