Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Impressed, and I didn't want to be

I walked into a Barnes & Noble today. It was safe for me to do so: I was on a mission. It's not safe for me to go into a bookstore when I'm not on a mission, because I'll be there for a very long time (which explains the lunch counter at the B&N), and will spend what I can.
  I love books. Physical books. I published my first book as a kindle book, but with reservations. Remember what I said about hardcover? I changed my mind a little today.
  In front of me when I walked in the store was a display for Barnes & Noble's NOOK. It's their version of a Kindle. I picked it up out of curiosity, and reasoned that since I'm publishing my books as ebooks, I'd better have some sort of familiarity with an e-reader of some sort. I pushed the power button and a transformation of almost Biblical proportion took place.
    The store went dark, but for a cone of light from the heavens. I heard angels sing Alleluia, and for reasons I don't understand...a reggae band.
   The device felt good in my hands. It was about the weight of a big paperback or small hardcover book. The cover of a book appeared, and soon I was looking at a page of a book. It looked like paper. I pushed a button on the right, and the next page appeared. I pushed a button on the left and went back a page. I didn't like the font, and the device (the book, if you will) let me choose a different font.
  I put it down, reluctantly. I put it down knowing I'm going to buy a kindle or a nook in the near future. Still, I tried to fill my head with objections, and it wasn't easy. The only one that stuck was the thought that I don't want to pay for a cell phone account so I can download books. There's no PC port on the thing. A little research told me there doesn't need to be. The thing has its own wireless connectivity without a fee!
  Oh yeah...ebooks are here to stay. It's early in the game, and already 1 device can hold 1,500 books. That's a BIG hunk of shelf space. So...this thing felt like a book, looked like a book, read like a book, and is a book. I suppose it doesn't smell like a book, but I can't smell so that doesn't matter to me at all.
  Several people have said to me that they're not interested in ebooks because they like books. I didn't disagree...until this morning.
  Once upon a time, I'm sure scholars and clerics (who made up the minority of the population that could read) sniffed haughtily and scoffed at the idea of books vs. scrolls. I'm sure they were able to vocalize their preference quite well. Not long after that...scrolls were a thing of the past.


Jeffrey Miller said...

There used to be a thing called "smell-o-vision" back in the 50s to get people to come back to movie theaters--if 3D and "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" wasn't enough. Now, this smell-o-vision sprayed a variety of fragrances into the auditorium as a movie played. Well, suffice to say it was a novelty and not intended to stay.

Now, if there was a way to make a Kindle or a Nook smell like an old leather-bound book and feel the same way...folks, we have a winner!

David J. Steele said...

"Smell-o-vision" just doesn't sound like a good idea. Obviously, it wasn't.

As for making a Kindle or a Nook smell like an old leather-bound book...the followers of the muse of marketing (a fellow by the name of, wait for it, Marcus O'Really-us) is way ahead of you. I saw a cover for Nooks today. It was made of genuine leather, bound like a book.